Going into the 2018 season, how to the Independent coaches stack up? Here’s the preseason ranking of all the head men.
Preview 2018: Ranking The Independent 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 …
6. Doug Martin, New Mexico State
It took a long, long, LONG time, but Martin finally came up with a winning season. Between Kent State and New Mexico State, he went 11 seasons without one, and then he turned in a historic year with the Aggies with a bowl win. And now it’s off to life as an independent, but he has a fun offense to play in.
– Preview 2018: Independence Will Work Fine
5. Mark Whipple, UMass
The offense has put up some big numbers, but the winning hasn’t been there, going 12-36 since returning to the program he made a DI-AA powerhouse in the late 1990s-2000s.
– Preview 2018: Fun O You Need To Know
4. Kalani Sitake, BYU
After years of steady production under Bronco Mendenhall, and with a 9-4 first season, the expectations at BYU are to be a regular on the bowl circuit and come up with one or two giant wins a season. After last year’s 4-9 clunker under Sitake, the expectations are now just to try scoring again.
– Preview 2018: After That, What Now?
3. Turner Gill, Liberty
He had one massive season when everything went right at Buffalo – winning the 2008 MAC title – but that game a year after tying for the East division title. It’s hard to blame him for the ugly 5-19 run at Kansas – that looks like a dream at the moment – and now, he’s winning with a fun style and offense at Liberty, winning a piece of four Big South titles in five seasons and with six straight winning campaigns. And now it’s on to life with the big boys.
– Preview 2018: New Guy Crashes The Party
2. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
He keeps doing just enough to stay around. Unofficially 69-34 – with the wins in the 2012 and 2013 seasons technically pushed off the books, he’s 48-34, but not really – he has two ten-win seasons in the last three, but he has just one top ten team in his eight-year tenure. There’s been just one season with fewer than three wins.
– Preview 2018: Where’s The Buzz?
1. Jeff Monken, Army
After cranking up the option attack in four great years at Georgia Southern, he took his act to Army, and … it didn’t work. It was an ugly first two seasons, and then he did the impossible and 1) beat Navy, 2) came up with a winning season, and 3) won a bowl game.
At Army. With players who aren’t exactly high on the recruiting lists. And then he did it all again, but better, winning ten games and another bowl. Oh yeah, and he beat Army again.
– Preview 2018: It’s All Working Now