August 9, 2011
Who is the greatest coach in the game?
Last night, ESPNU was showing an ESPN The Magazine show for the college football preview issue. One segment was a focus on Coaches Confidential, where ESPN anonymously polled and interviewed current CFB coaches on various issues. One question was, who is the best coach in college football? TCU's Gary Patterson garnered 23% of the votes, the highest vote-getter in the poll. That's some high praise from his peers. What makes Gary Patterson so great? And who do you think is the best coach in the game?
Patterson has been head coach at TCU for 11 seasons (2000-2010, his only head-coaching gig). During that time, Patterson has led TCU through three different conferences (WAC, C-USA, MWC). The Horned Frogs have posted a 98-28 record and five conference championships in that time. His bowl record is 6-4, with two of those losses to Boise State teams who combined for a 26-1 record. Patterson has single-handedly built TCU to BCS status, as they will leave for another conference, the Big East, after this season.
Coach Patterson is also known for maximizing athletes on the field by changing their positions. For example, Jerry Hughes was a running back in high school, but Patterson and co. turned him into a feared sackmaster who was a two-time consensus All-American and was drafted in the first round by the Indianapolis Colts.
In my eyes, it's hard to argue against Patterson as the best coach in the game.
Despite that, there are some coaches who definitely belong in the discussion. Boise State's Chris Petersen's all-time coaching record is 61-5 (I would still give an edge to Patterson in the program-building element). Nick Saban is 86-27 with two national championships as an SEC coach. Joe Paterno is Joe Paterno (but Penn State hasn't done a ton in a while now).
Great coaches who were recently disqualified (are not current coaches): Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel.
Who is the best current head coach in college football? Let's make a poll of our own -- leave your nomination in comments below and tell us why your nomination is the best coach in the game.