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Monday, December 13, 2010
First-time head coaches in the SEC

By Chris Low

How much of a gamble did Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley take in hiring a guy with no previous head coaching experience?

It might be that Will Muschamp isn’t a gamble at all, but here’s a look at how those head coaches in the SEC have fared the past decade after coming into the league as a first-time head coach in the college game:

Robbie Caldwell, Vanderbilt: 2-10 (Agreed to step aside following this season at Vanderbilt. Was promoted to head coach after Bobby Johnson retired in July).

Joker Phillips, Kentucky: 6-6 (Just completed his first regular season at Kentucky. Has the Wildcats in their fifth straight bowl game).

Lane Kiffin, Tennessee:7-6 (Replaced Phillip Fulmer and coached for one season at Tennessee in 2009 before taking the Southern California head coaching job).

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: 13-11 (Has the Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl in his second season at Mississippi State, which won eight regular-season games this year for the first time since 1999).

Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss: 10-25 (Coached three seasons at Ole Miss from 2005-07, never winning more than four games in a season. Was 3-21 in SEC play).

Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State: 31-38 (Led the Bulldogs to a Liberty Bowl victory in 2007, but was forced out following that next season, his fifth at Mississippi State, when the Bulldogs finished 4-8).

Mike Shula, Alabama: 26-24 (Was fired after four seasons. His best season was his next to last in 2005 when the Crimson Tide finished 10-2. Lost all four years to Auburn).

Ron Zook, Florida: 23-14 (Was fired during the middle of his third season in 2004 following a loss to Mississippi State. Coached the remainder of the regular season and then stepped away. Lost both bowl games he coached in and never took the Gators to the SEC championship game. Now the head coach at Illinois.

Guy Morriss, Kentucky:9-14 (Took over for Hal Mumme at Kentucky after a recruiting scandal forced Mumme to resign. Coached two seasons at Kentucky and left to take the Baylor head coaching job following the 2002 season. The Wildcats were 7-5 that year. Morriss was fired at Baylor following the 2007 season.

Mark Richt, Georgia: 96-33 (Dean of SEC head coaches at the same school. Just completed his 10thregular season at Georgia. Has won two SEC championships, the last one in 2005, and has taken the Bulldogs to bowl games every season he’s been the coach. Richt is 14-11 in his past two seasons.