Going into the 2018 season, how to the Conference USA coaches stack up? Here’s the preseason ranking of all the head men.
Preview 2018: Ranking The Conference USA Coaches
Who do you want as your head coach for right now, and who are the best guys going at each program?
Of course, it’s easy to go by record, but it’s just as much about trends, where the teams are going, and where the buzz is at for each of the rulers of their respective worlds.
These aren’t Hot Seat Rankings – those are coming later. These are the rankings based loosely on what the head coaches have done, and mostly about what they’re about to do.
Think of it this way. If all things were equal in terms of program, talent, facilities, etc., and you were to hold a head coaching draft …
14. Brad Lambert, Charlotte
To be fair, Lambert had to create the Charlotte football program from scratch, but it’s been a tough run. The 49ers are coming off a miserable 1-11 season and are just 4-20 in three Conference USA seasons.
– Preview 2018: Experienced, But Better?
13. Dana Dimel, UTEP
It wouldn’t have been a shocker in any way if he took over the Kansas State head coaching gig, but first, he has to somehow turn around the UTEP program that failed to win a game last season. His last head coaching gig? Houston back in 2002 – he went 8-26 with the Cougars.
– Preview 2018: A Fresh Start For All
12. Mike Bloomgren, Rice
The 41-year-old Stanford offensive coordinator has managed to bring a new excitement and new energy to a Rice team that fell off the map last season. This is his first head coaching gig, but his youth and ability to get the ground game going should work. He knows how to coach smart guys.
– Preview 2018: The New Guy Can Fix This
11. Jay Hopson, Southern Miss
Even when the program dipped over the last two seasons, it still went 15-11 over the span with two bowl appearances. Hopson is a good coach who’s done nice things for USM so far, but the program is too good to not be a bigger part of the Conference USA title chase.
– Preview 2018: Frustratingly Good
10. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Consistently solid, he’s been able to get the Blue Raiders to four bowl games in the last five seasons, and hasn’t had a losing campaign since 2011. However, since the program has come into the Conference USA world, it’s just 36-28 with five losses or more in the last five years. Turning 61 this season, can Stockstill finally get the program back over the hump?
– Preview 2018: Win Something Big Already
9. Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion
While hardly a big name on a national scale, Wilder has been fantastic for an Old Dominion team that kicked back in starting in 2009. He might have had two losing seasons in the last three, but he’s 72-37 overall. He’s been able to work minor miracles, and he has a good young team returning.
– Preview 2018: The Bounceback Season
8. Mike Sanford, WKU
The former Notre Dame offensive coordinator is one go the bright young head coaching stars, just 35 and with a 6-7 bowl season as his first time around. That might not sound like much, but WKU had to do a big-time rebuilding job. With his passing game, the Hilltoppers will always be fun.
– Preview 2018: Rebuild Or Reload?
7. Doc Holliday, Marshall
Yeah, yeah, yeah, he should probably be higher than this considering the great job he did recruiting. However, he’s already 61, and he’s a few years removed from the amazing 13-1 2014 run. He’s 5-0 in bowl games all-time, but he’s 11-14 over the last two seasons. There’s a good team coming back, and he needs the Herd to be in the Conference USA title hunt.
– Preview 2018: Take Back The League
6. Butch Davis, FIU
Not to be an ageist, but he’s going to be 67 this year, and FIU is undergoing a bit of a rebuilding job. Where is the program going over the next few seasons? It’s going up – the recruiting has been solid. He’s obviously a fantastic college head coach, and he was great at coming up with an 8-5 season, but there were a whole lot of wins over awful teams.
– Preview 2018: Butch’s Brilliant Job