Big 12: Al Groh

Longest-tenured coaches with no BCS bowls

August, 19, 2009
8/19/09
6:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

While doing some research for another story, I developed this chart. I was curious which coaches in BCS-affiliated conferences had the longest tenures without making a BCS bowl trip.

  1. Jim Leavitt, USF: 13th season at job
  2. Randy Edsall, Connecticut: 11th season at job
  3. Mike Leach, Texas Tech: 10th season at job
  4. Gary Pinkel, Missouri: ninth season at job
  5. Al Groh, Virginia: ninth season at job
  6. Mike Riley, Oregon State: ninth season at job
  7. Greg Schiano, Rutgers: ninth season at job
  8. Jeff Tedford, California: eighth season at job
  9. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt: eighth season at job
  10. Rich Brooks, Kentucky: seventh season at job
  11. Mike Stoops, Arizona: sixth season at job

I think the list highlights several interesting trends. The top two are coaches who have led their programs from the formative stages.

Then, it gets interesting. Leach consistently has been one of the outstanding coaches in the nation. But his program still has never taken the "next step" to a BCS game.

The same goes for Pinkel, Groh, Riley and Schiano -- all accomplished coaches who have repeatedly taken their programs to bowl games over the years. They just haven't been able to take their program to that "big game."

Of those on the list, I think that Tedford has the best opportunity to break that streak this season as the Bears might be in line to challenge USC in the Pac-10 and maybe be in contention for a BCS at-large berth.

But I thought it was very interesting that two coaches who qualified for a share of their respective divisions championships in the Big 12 rank so highly on a list for the lack of a BCS bowl appearance.

Phil Steele pegs Hawkins on the hot seat

July, 28, 2009
7/28/09
11:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Anybody who has read this blog for any length of time knows the deep respect I have for Phil Steele and his work.

His blog has been providing some interesting nuggets as we get ready for the upcoming season.

One item that caught my eye earlier this month was his list of coaches who he thinks are on the hot seat in terms of keeping their jobs.

As a matter of history, Steele's top three choices from last season all either resigned or were fired. And seven of his 12 picks from before 2008 are no longer coaching at their previous jobs. So when Steele puts a "nickel on your head," it's usually not a good sign.

The Big 12 has only one member of the list: Colorado's Dan Hawkins at No. 4. Hawkins is listed behind Louisville's Steve Kragthorpe, Indiana's Bill Lynch and Virginia's Al Groh.

This is a huge year for Hawkins, who has posted a 13-24 record and made only one bowl trip in his three seasons with the Buffaloes.

Despite those recent struggles, it has done little to diminish Hawkins' confidence coming into the season. He has repeated his "10 wins and no excuses" several times since first making that call at a team banquet following last season's 5-7 record that featured seven losses in the final nine games.

But the Buffaloes' schedule is much more forgiving this season with key divisional games against Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas all at home.

I'm expecting that should be enough to allow the Buffaloes to remain in North Division contention until late in the season. And I also wonder if Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn would willingly get rid of his own hire after only four seasons.

Those reasons will make Colorado one of the most interesting stories in the conference this season. But I'm thinking Hawkins will win enough this season to be one of the few coaches who can escape mention on Steele's list and still come back to coach again next season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's pretty quiet among Big 12 coaches these days after spring practice has completed.

That tranquility is also seen in the t-shirts offered by the Web site firethatguy.com, which has four different complete pages of t-shirts hyping the ouster of professional and college football and basketball coaches around the country.

Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, Miami coach Randy Shannon and Virginia coach Al Groh all have their shirts. New Florida International University basketball coach Isiah Thomas has several shirts available -- even before coaching his first game.

The Big 12 coaches are spared, although the folks at CoachesHotSeat.com still have a heavy Big 12 slant.

Texas A&M's Mike Sherman remains in the No. 1 position nationally and Dan Hawkins of Colorado checks in at fifth. They surround Lane Kiffin of Tennessee at second, Kragthorpe at third and Groh at fourth.

Big 12 links: Can Harrell change thinking about spread QBs?

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Spring practice is only one day away from starting in the Big 12 as Texas kicks off its work Friday afternoon in Austin.

I can hardly wait.

Here are some stories from around the conference to get you primed.

  • Doug Farrar of The Washington Post wonders if Texas Tech's Graham Harrell can crack the stigma dogging spread quarterbacks promulgated by NFL teams.
  • Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler has turned down the opportunity to join South Florida's staff as defensive coordinator, according to Tampa Tribune reporter Brett McMurphy.
  • Considering the Virginia staff is already stacked with an offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Accsports.com figures out what former Kansas State coach Ron Prince will be doing on Al Groh's staff.
  • Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington wonders if Texas Tech coach Mike Leach really wanted to use the word "extort" to describe his contract negotiations last week -- especially considering the nation's struggling economy.
  • Former Nebraska fullback Willie Miller is in court on a charge of road rage after allegedly ramming an off-duty Omaha policeman with his automobile after a high-speed chase last April, Todd Cooper of the Omaha World-Herald reports.
  • Kansas is hoping that the atmosphere at the school's basketball victory over Nebraska helped convince several key junior recruits to attend the school, Stephen Montemayor of the University Daily Kansan writes. Most notable among the attendees was Wichita, Kan., quarterback Blake Bell, who is also considering a group of suitors including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia and Nebraska.

Sherman soars to No. 1 spot on Hot Seat rankings

February, 24, 2009
2/24/09
6:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Despite recently bringing in Texas A&M's most highly regarded recruiting class in this decade,  coach Mike Sherman is ranked as the coach with the hottest seat in the country in the continuing poll commissioned by the Web site coacheshotseat.com.

Sherman was ranked fifth immediately after the regular season, but jumped to first in this week's poll. Others coaches listed nationally in the top five, in order, included Lane Kiffin of Tennessee, Steve Kragthorpe of Louisville, Al Groh of Virginia and Dan Hawkins of Colorado.

Interestingly, the recent extension of Mike Leach's contract made his job security worse. Leach was ranked 109th immediately after the regular season and is 101st this week.

Here's a look at where Big 12 coaches ranked this week, compared to Dec. 8:

Hot Seat Rankings For Big 12 Coaches
Coach Natl. Ranking, 2/09 Natl. Ranking 12/08
1. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M 1 5 (2)
2. Dan Hawkins, Colorado 5 6 (3)
3. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 23 22 (4)
4. Art Briles, Baylor 44 70 (5)
5. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State 55 N/A
6. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State 84 101 (9)
7. Mark Mangino, Kansas 95 80 (6)
8. Mike Leach, Texas Tech 101 109 (10)
9. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 108 115 (12)
10. Gary Pinkel, Missouri 109 100 (8)
11. Bo Pelini, Nebraska 111 94 (7)
12. Mack Brown, Texas 117 113 (11)

Note: Paul Rhoads was hired after the December Coaches' Hot Seat poll. At that time, Iowa State Coach Gene Chizik was ranked third in the poll to lead all Big 12 coaches. Numbers in parentheses indicate where that coach was ranked among Big 12 coaches in December.

Could Prince resurface at Virginia on Groh's staff?

February, 18, 2009
2/18/09
7:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Multiple reports from Virginia media outlets indicate that former Kansas State coach Ron Prince could return to Al Groh's staff as an assistant coach.

Charlottesville, Va., television station WVIR reported on its Web site that Prince could be in line to fill an opening created by the departure of Bob Diaco to Cincinnati. 

The thinking is that Prince could shuffle into a position as possibly Groh's assistant head coach. He served as Groh's offensive coordinator in the final three seasons of a five-season stint on Groh's staff from 2001-05.

Prince was the head coach at Kansas State from 2006-2008, posting a 17-20 record while there.

The website ncaafootball.fanhouse.com notes that Groh's staff already has deposed former Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon on his staff, who is working as the Cavaliers' offensive coordinator. It might be interesting to see if one of the former head coaches ends up replacing Groh, who turns 65 on July 13.

So would it really be surprising to see Prince back coaching at his old school? Probably not, considering the job opening that potentially could materialize there very soon.

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