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Monday, August 31, 2009
Longevity ratings for Big 12 coaches

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


You've seen them across the blogosphere before. Heck, I've even done them in the past with a "hot-seat rating" for those coaches and their chance for employment in their current job.

I'd like to stretch those thoughts a little by coming up with something new -- a longevity rating for Big 12 coaches.

These ratings have been crafted to gauge how long I think each Big 12 coach will remain at his current job.

For example, nobody could ever argue with the coaching credentials of Mack Brown and Bill Snyder. Both will likely end up at the College Football Hall of Fame one of these days and neither has a seat that could even be considered remotely warm after their past accomplishments.

But with Will Muschamp already anointed as Texas' coach-in-waiting and Snyder's age, it would hard to imagine either of them coaching at their schools five to seven years from now.

These ratings not only judge the security a coach has been able to craft at his position, but also how likely he will remain at the job for an extended period of time.

1. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: He's directed the Cowboys to the golden era of success and he's in surroundings with creature comforts that few programs can match. And he has an appreciation for how far his program has come since his own playing career two decades ago. He likes to say that this is his "destination job" for the rest of his lifetime. I believe him.

2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: Even with the recent BCS losses, he's as secure as any coach in the nation with a multi-million dollar annuity upcoming. Six Big 12 titles -- no other coach has more than one -- provide a sense of cache. But I still get the idea that this isn't his last coaching job. Maybe it's an NFL position; maybe it's another big-time college. He likely will consider it when his kids get older and might be looking for another coaching challenge somewhere down the line. But I don't look for it to happen anytime soon.

3. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: Arguably, Pelini might be positioned to make this his destination job, morphing into the new millennium's version of Tom Osborne. But it might be interesting to see what would happen if he has success and a top job in the Midwest at a power like Ohio State, Notre Dame or Penn State ever came open.

4. Mark Mangino, Kansas: He's piloted Kansas into what arguably might be the school's golden age of football success. But with that also comes expectations as the Jayhawks are coming into the season as Big 12 North favorites in many quarters for the first time. It will be interesting to see how the Jayhawks and Mangino react to that role.

5. Gary Pinkel, Missouri: His back-to-back title game appearances likely have earned him the leverage to make this his last job. But he's going to have to build on his success with a new cast of characters this season.

6. Mike Leach, Texas Tech: He became college football's newest made man after starting down athletic director Gerald Myers in a high-stakes game of chicken. Leach won. You could argue he's bigger than the program, considering the national attention he has generated for himself. But what would happen if he finally got the dream offer from another big-time job in another part of the country?

7. Art Briles, Baylor: If he turns Baylor into a winner, he should have his choice of other top jobs in the future. But with the school's new training facilities and improved recruiting, I could see him staying here for many years if he wants. But I can imagine it's going to get frustrating battling all of the strong schools around him in the South Division.

8. Mack Brown, Texas: Poised to go down in history as one of the greatest coaches in Texas history, I can see Brown always being employed by the school in some form or fashion. But as the head coach, I'm not so sure. With Muschamp waiting in the wings, the Longhorns have an orderly transition in place for settling on their next coach. How long it might be is anybody's guess. I could see Brown riding into the sunset if he ever won another BCS title. And that might come sooner than later.

9. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: His administration will give him time, but this remains the most difficult place to win in the conference. He's surrounded himself with a solid staff of assistants for his difficult turnaround. It still might not be nearly enough.

10. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: It's got to be a heady feeling taking your team into a game in a stadium that has your name on it. That being said, Snyder will face some huge challenges that weren't there during the salad days of his program in the late 1990s. Will that still fuel his incredible work ethic at the age of 69? We'll see over the next few months. He's repeatedly said that he re-entered coaching to still the waters at his old school. How long will that take?

11. Dan Hawkins, Colorado: The pressure on him to win is incredible. And he didn't help himself with the 10-win claim, whether it was meant to help him set goals for the team or whatever. He does have a nice home schedule in conference play and an underrated set of players. But the Buffaloes' lack of big-play producers in the passing game could prove to be a season-long challenge -- particularly when matched against some of the other high-powered aerial attacks in the conference. It doesn't sound like a good recipe to spread a little more "Hawk Love" across the Flatirons.

12. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M: It's a different world coaching college football than in the NFL. Sherman has shown a quick aptitude for recruiting better athletes his program so desperately needs. But the Aggies appear mired in the South Division cellar at a time when competition has never been keener from all of the schools around them. And that's not a good set of circumstances to promote job security.