Bedlam coaching tree: Mike Gundy vs. Bob Stoops
Bob Stoops’ coaching tree gained new life on Wednesday. Mike Leach got back in the game, hired out at Washington State, an outpost that makes Lubbock look like Midtown Manhattan.
Stoops needed Leach back in. Stoops had taken a hit in recent years with the firings of Leach (Tech), Mark Mangino (Kansas), Chuck Long (San Diego State) and Mike Stoops (Arizona). The only Stoops lieutenants-turned-head coaches still active at the end of this season were Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson.
Meanwhile, Mike Gundy is working on an impressive coaching tree. In his first six years on the job, Gundy produced three head coaches: Southern Miss’ Larry Fedora, Toledo’s Tim Beckman and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen.
Both Stoops and Gundy have current coordinators who have been mentioned for vacancies — OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables and OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The head coaching jobs at the flagship universities of the home states of both Venables (Kansas) and Illinois (Monken) are open. Most schools hire head coaches for offense, so Monken is likeliest to get a sniff.
A Stoops tree/Gundy tree battle looms Saturday in the Conference USA championship game, in which Houston hosts Southern Miss. Both Sumlin and Fedora have been mentioned for other head coaching jobs. Both would probably jump at Texas A&M, since Sumlin was R.C. Slocum’s offensive coordinator there before joining Stoops’ staff and Fedora grew up in Bryan/College Station. But it looks like Mike Sherman will keep his job at A&M, at least this year.
Who has the stronger coaching tree? Depends on how you gauge it.
Stoops has produced more head coaches, 6-3, but he’s also coached longer, 13-7 in years. So that’s about even.
More Stoops guys have been fired (4-0), but that’s not all on failure. Leach, Mangino and Mike Stoops all coached at least seven years before getting fired, which is an accomplishment, and Leach and Mangino were fired for reasons unrelated to results. You could argue that Leach and Mangino are among the best coaches ever at Tech and Kansas, respectively. Give Gundy’s guys time; some of them will be fired, too.
Gundy’s coaches have a better winning percentage (.616-.530), but Stoops’ have coached a lot more — his guys are 220-195, Gundy’s are 61-38.
Gundy’s coaches have actually been hired for better jobs, on average. West Virginia is an excellent job. Southern Miss and Toledo are places you can win and get noticed. Meanwhile, Stoops’ coaches have gotten some decent jobs (Tech, Houston), some mediocre jobs (Arizona, Kansas) and some downright bad jobs (Indiana, San Diego State).
Here’s how I would rank the coaching success of the Stoops/Gundy limbs:
1. Leach: 84-43 in 10 years at Tech. His 2008 team reached as high as No. 2 in the nation.
2. Sumlin: 35-16 in four years at Houston. His Cougars are ranked sixth and will reach the Sugar Bowl with a victory over Southern Miss.
3. Mangino: 50-48 in eight years at Kansas. His 2007 Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl. KU has had 11 coaches since 1953; Mangino is the only one with a winning record.
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