College football's most hated coaches

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
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SpurrierAP Photo/John BazemoreSouth Carolina's Steve Spurrier, who also rankled schools while at Florida, ranks No. 1 on our list.

College football’s most hated coaches were despised for winning, breaking the rules and running up the score.

Ranking the most hated college football coaches of all-time:

1. Steve Spurrier: Rival fans hated Spurrier not only because he beat them so often while coaching at Florida, but more so because he loved to tell them about it afterward. From Spurrier’s famous jabs like “Free Shoes U.” and “Can’t Spell Citrus Without UT,” the Old Ball Coach gave rival fans myriad reasons to dislike him.

2. Woody Hayes: One of the most successful coaches in history, Hayes guided Ohio State to 13 Big Ten titles and three consensus national championships. But he is perhaps best remembered for his chronically boorish behavior, which included physical confrontations with sportswriters, photographers, opposing coaches and athletics directors, referees and even opposing players.

3. Barry Switzer: A bootlegger’s son from Arkansas, Switzer wasn’t afraid to rub opposing coaches and fans the wrong way while dominating the Big 8 during his ultra-successful career at Oklahoma from 1973 to 1988. Switzer always wanted to hang “half a hundred” on opponents and wasn’t afraid to run up the score with his wishbone offense. Opposing fans’ beliefs that Switzer often cut corners when it came to NCAA rules were confirmed when his program crumbled under a plethora of scandals in 1989.

[+] EnlargeWoody Hayes
AP PhotoOhio State's greatest coach of all-time ranks No. 2 on our list of most hated coaches.
4. Jimmy Johnson: Johnson coached Miami for five seasons during its “Decade of Dominance,” and he’s remembered for fostering the Hurricanes’ infamous bad-boy culture. Many of Johnson’s players were showboats on and off the field, and he wasn’t afraid to run up the score on lesser opponents, either. His team infamously wore combat fatigues to a pregame event before playing Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.

5. Lane Kiffin: Perhaps no coach in SEC history ticked off more people in less time than Kiffin, who spent the 2009 season at Tennessee before bolting for Southern California. During his one-year tenure with the Volunteers, Kiffin criticized nearly everyone, including then-Florida coach Urban Meyer and Georgia coach Mark Richt. Kiffin even went as far as saying if a player signed with South Carolina, he ended up pumping gas for a living.

6. Bobby Petrino: Auburn fans hate Petrino because he interviewed for former Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville’s job during a clandestine interview at an Indiana airport -- when Tuberville was still employed. Louisville fans despised Petrino because he seemingly was always trying to leave and finally did, leaving the Cardinals program in pretty bad shape. Now Arkansas fans dislike him for letting his personal life derail what was becoming a very good program.

7. Urban Meyer: Meyer seemed like an outsider when he was hired as Florida’s coach in 2005 and it didn’t take him long to become hated by rival schools. Meyer tried to revolutionize the way the SEC played football with his spread offense, winning BCS national championships in 2006 and 2008. But then Meyer upset Florida fans when he retired twice in two years -- before waiting a year to become Ohio State’s new coach.

8. Jackie Sherrill: Few coaches were more despised by their teams’ chief rivals. While Sherrill was coaching at Pittsburgh, legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno said he wouldn’t retire because he didn’t want to leave college football “to the Jackie Sherrills and Barry Switzers of the world” (Paterno later apologized and became Sherrill’s friend). Texas fans hated Sherrill because he had a 7-3 record against the Longhorns.

9. Jim Tressel: Michigan fans hated Tressel for beating the Wolverines so much -- he went 8-1 against OSU’s chief rival during his tenure. Opposing fans hated Tressel’s squeaky-clean image of a sweater vest and bifocals. They celebrated when Tressel resigned in 2011 after admitting he withheld information about NCAA rules violations from OSU officials and NCAA investigators.

10. Rich Rodriguez: West Virginia fans absolutely loved Rodriguez, a former WVU defensive back, when he guided the Mountaineers to 60 victories and two BCS bowl games from 2001 to 2007. But WVU fans literally drove Rodriguez and his family from his native state after he abruptly left the school to become Michigan’s coach in 2008. Wolverines fans don’t like him too much, either, after Rodriguez went 15-22 in three seasons.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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