Big 12 football: Coaches who fit at OU, OSU
It’s time to come clean. I came away from the Big 12 Football Media Days completely impressed by Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. He’s got an incredibly tough job. He also might be just the man who can get the job done.
He’s sharp. Confident yet realistic. Passionate. I like him. I like him a lot.
“He’s a stud,” a long-time football man told me down in Dallas.
Rhoads grew up in Ankeny, Iowa, the son of a well-respected coach, and played defensive back at Missouri Western, though looking at him now, you’d swear Rhoads was a tight end or defensive end. Rhoads then coached at Utah State, Ohio State, Pitt and Auburn. He was defensive coordinator at the latter two spots. When Auburn fired Tommy Tuberville and hired ISU coach Gene Chizik, the Cyclones called on Rhoads. No word on whether Chizik and Rhoads just swapped houses.
Anyway, Rhoads has gone 12-13 in two seasons at Iowa State, after Chizik went 5-19 his two seasons in Ames. Rhoads is doing what Dan McCarney did at Iowa State; winning in the face of adversity. McCarney eventually didn’t win enough. Cyclone athletic director Jamie Pollard foolishly fired McCarney, so beware, Rhoads.
But Rhoads got me to thinking. If OU or OSU had to change football coaches and could only hire a current Big 12 head coach, who would be the most likely candidates? Who would be the best fit?
Here’s my list for both OU and OSU.
1. Gary Pinkel: The only downside to Pinkel is his age. At 59, he’s only a year younger than Howard Schnellenberger was when hired by OU for the 1995 season. But Pinkel seems two decades younger. Pinkel is a heck of a coach. He’s restored Missouri football to where it hasn’t been since the 1960s.
2. Paul Rhoads: Personally, I’d take Rhoads over Pinkel. But Rhoads is a tougher sell. Just ask the Auburn fans who were aghast when Auburn hired a losing-record coach in Chizik.
3. Tommy Tuberville: The guy can coach. I don’t know if everyone around the Big 12 has figured that out, but the guy can coach. Give him OU-type athletes, and he would produce OU-type results.
4. Art Briles: Hard to dislike Art Briles. Hard to dislike Art Briles’ coaching.
5. Mike Sherman: This guy is all football coach. I don’t know that he instills warm fuzzies. I don’t know that he would connect with Sooner Nation. But he seems popular enough in Aggieland.
6. Mike Gundy: You know, I don’t detect much hatred from OU fans toward Gundy. They wouldn’t like a Cowboy hired, but if they ever had to hire a Cowboy, Gundy’s the man.
7. Bill Snyder: Snyder’s too old now to get another job. But this is fun to think about — how would Snyder in his prime have fared at a powerhouse school? Oh well, maybe he wouldn’t have had the drive to perform the miracle he accomplished.
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