That Tommy Tuberville was looking for other jobs was no great shock this offseason- Apart from having a name that fit well with the Double T crowd Tuberville was facing an uphill battle in Lubbock from his introduction. That Mike Leach was beloved by the majority of the fanbase even after his controversial dismissal meant that bar, another offensive genius like Chip Kelly, the next coach was going to have a tough time. Tech made itself a national brand that was able to step definitively out of the shadows of Texas and A&M with its (then) unique Air Raid offense, and without Mike Leach the students were worried that the high flying identity that was synonymous with Tech would disappear.
Then the hire was announced- Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville was the defensive minded Auburn head coach who had half-heartedly adopted the spread his last year at Auburn, only to yank the leash on spread guru Tony Franklin and even fire him halfway through the season. Still he came in saying the right things- not wanting to mess with the offense, just wanting to add a strong defense to try and take Texas Tech to the next level.
The results... were mixed at best, as Tech went through defensive coordinator after defensive coordinator, including our own secondary coach Chad Glasgow, as Tuberville was not able to put together his promised solid defense. As a result, a big part of the fanbase never really bought in to Tuberville, and the suspicion that he wanted to sneak back out to the SEC at the earliest opportunity hung over the program as well. Then when the Tennessee and Arkansas jobs were filled it seemed that Tuberville would be sticking around for another year in Lubbock... only to see Tommy bolt for Cincinnati. Well, it was a conference with "East" in the name, but... the Big East? A school in the Midwest for a coach who has never been coached outside of the deep south, even as a coordinator? In a Big East without even Louisville or Rutgers?
It was a shocking move, but one that reminded me of former TCU men's basketball coach Jim Christian's leap to Ohio University last year. Both Christian and Tuberville felt the heat on their seats increasing heading into a year when their team would be much younger and decided to get out of dodge without the indignity of being fired. Both were moves that didn't make much sense from a prestige standpoint- Big 12 basketball compared to the MAC? Big 12 football compared to the Big East? But when you consider the likelihood of having a job in two years, the moves make much more sense.
Still, Tuberville was considered one of the coaches most likely to bolt, but let's have a look at the remaining Big 12 coaches and how likely they are to bolt for the big three sirens- Bigger school, Alma Mater and the NFL.
#N/A- Kliff Kingsbury
Alma Mater: Texas Tech
Job Security: New man on the block and a Tech legacy, so he'll have a bit more than the standard three years to show progress and success. High.
Attractiveness to other programs: ?
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: ?
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: 0%
Chance of leaving for NFL: ?
Ed- Kliff is included for a sake of completeness, but right now there's no telling what his priorities are. Does he want to be an NFL coach? Is he a west Texas lifer? Will he jump ship if a job opens up at USC or Alabama? No temptations have been plopped down on Kliff yet, and he's so young you can't really judge by his track record either. For this year at least we'll have to label him an Incomplete.
#9- Charlie Weis
Alma Mater: Notre Dame
Job Security: He'll probably get at least two more years to install his offense and try to get Kansas to a level where it's at least competitive in the Big 12. Moderate.
Attractiveness to other programs: Weis has not had consistent success on the college level of football, balancing two BCS bowl seasons at Notre Dame with some of the worst seasons in Notre Dame history. Additionally, his season as Florida's OC was a tremendous disappointment. Still, his Super Bowl rings speak loudly, and despite what fanbases think of him he just keeps getting jobs. If he turns Kansas around interest will increase, but at the moment it's not a ton. Mild.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: Weis hasn't struck people as particularly loyal- he immediately leveraged a successful inaugural season at ND into a huge contract extension over the threat of returning to the NFL. If he gets a better offer, he'll probably bolt Kansas. 30%.
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: Notre Dame has been there and done that. 0%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: Weis is an NFL coach at heart. Just look at how quickly the Chiefs fell apart without his coordinating their offense- If he gets a head coaching opportunity, he'll take it. If he gets fired by Kansas he'll end up coordinating in the NFL again. 40%.
#8- Paul Rhoads
Alma Mater: Missouri Western
Job Security: He's beating Iowa, getting upset wins and bowl bids. If he keeps that up he can coach at Iowa State as long as he likes. High.
Attractiveness to other programs: Winning at Iowa State is damn hard, as national championship winning coach Gene Chizik can attest- he went 5-19 at ISU. A man who can win in Ames can win anywhere, and while Rhoads isn't the sexiest hire, he'd be welcomed at a host of bigger schools.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: Rhoads seems like a man of integrity who really wants to make Iowa State great. Still, the question of how great Iowa State could ever be is a fair one to ask, as they trail the Hawkeyes in perception in the state even as they beat Iowa on the field- and Iowa is not a talent hotbed by any means. If Rhoads gets to 8 wins, a program will make him an offer he can't refuse. 65%
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: Missouri Western would doubtlessly be happy to have him, but he wouldn't be happy to have them. 0%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: Generally the guys who move up from college to the pros are either innovators (Spurrier) or just highly successful college coaches with NFL pedigrees (Carroll, Saban). Rhoads is a college guy through and through for now. 0%
#7- Dana Holgorsen
Alma Mater: Iowa Wesleyan
Job Security: A disappointing Big 12 debut, but on the heels of a BCS season and still only in his second year, Holgorsen has a ton of security. Good.
Attractiveness to other programs: Think a great offense will help energize your fanbase? They don't get much more fun than Holgorsen's. Still, the defense was a sieve without Jeff Casteel this year and the second half collapse this season cooled the excitement about Holgorsen. Moderate.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: He's not a West Virginia man and historically West Virginia has had trouble keeping head coaches- even their own native son Rich Rodriguez, who complained of broken promises within the athletic department when he left for Michigan. Still, the athletic department issues have lessened under exemplary AD Oliver Luck and the Big 12 contracts mean the finances will be there. We'll call it 40%.
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: He played at Iowa Wesleyan. Need I say more? 0%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: An interesting question, as it seems likely that eventually someone who runs the Air Raid will head to the NFL to test their system. If an owner were to search out an Air Raid guy, Holgorsen is near the top of the list. Still, Holgorsen has never even been a position coach in the NFL so it's hard to say if he'd even be interested. 10%
#6- Art Briles
Alma Mater: Houston/Texas Tech/ACU
Job Security: He's winning. At Baylor. He beat Oklahoma for the first time in school history and secured a bowl bid even after their once in a lifetime talent graduated. Bulletproof.
Attractiveness to other programs: The success Briles has had is impressive, but he's starting to get up there age wise. If he's going to leave Baylor for the bright lights and big dollars it'll have to be soon. Moderate.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: Briles is a Texas guy through and through, as his entire coaching career has taken place in the state. Baylor isn't a great program, but it's a Texas program which is right in his comfort zone. The number of big schools he'd probably leave for is a short one- Texas, A&M, maybe an LSU/Oklahoma/Arkansas job wouldn't be a bridge too far either. 20%
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: That was the ten million dollar question before Tech went for youth before age. Baylor folks don't think it's likely, but Tech would be willing to pay for a guy who really loves West Texas. If Kliff doesn't work out, they may try to call up the old hand next. 20%
Chance of leaving for NFL: Maybe the Dallas Cowboys? It seems unlikely that Briles would pick this as the time to jump to the NFL when he's never held a job there in over thirty years of coaching. 5%.
#5- Mike Gundy
Age: 45 (but he'll always be 40 in our hearts)
Alma Mater: Oklahoma State
Job Security: It's a weird situation in Stillwater, as despite delivering what two coaches who won national championships elsewhere (Jimmy Johnson and Les Miles) couldn't- a Big 12 championship, the rumors are that Gundy is clashing with the administration. Still, it would take balls of steel to actively seek to be rid or the most successful cowboy coach in decades, so we'll call him Very safe in the meantime.
Attractiveness to other programs: Gundy is young and has delivered Okie State success not seen since '48- the suitors are there. Gundy was rumored to be introduced as both the Arkansas and Tennessee coach this offseason, and either of those programs would be happier to have him than the guys they ended up with. High.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: It's his alma mater! Still, the tales of unrest make it seem much more likely that a Rich Rodriguez-esque situation could brew in Stillwater before long. 30%
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: He's already home. 0%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: It's an interesting situation, as though Gundy hasn't been at the NFL level, he's elevated Okie State to a much higher echelon. Still, the NFL has been spread averse so far, so I don't consider it particularly likely. 10%.
#4- Bob Stoops
Alma Mater: Iowa Hawkeyes
Job Security: He beats Texas like a rented mule. Despite the grousings among Sooner fans about humiliating bowl losses and dropping games when he shouldn't, Oklahoma knows full well that in Bob they have one of the best in the business in both coaching and playing the poll politics. (I still can't believe he punted to try to lose to Mizzou by less a few years ago. It will seriously never fail to pop up in my head when I think about Stoops).
Attractiveness to other programs: Want a coach that has a high flying offense, but has a strong defensive pedigree? Of course you do. Stoops isn't the shiniest beacon of coaching desirability anymore (Saban and Meyer outstrip him) but 115+ programs would take him right now.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: It doesn't get much bigger than Oklahoma, which racks up Big 12 championships and gets the benefit of the doubt in BCS politicking. The OU program is so strong it even overcomes the handicap of being in Oklahoma instead of a nice state (ba-dum-tish). 0%
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: This is a really interesting question, as Iowa has not had an opening as long as Bob has been a head coach. However, the Hawkeyes have been sliding a bit under Ferentz now, and the deep pockets provided by the Big Ten television contracts could remove the financial upside from staying at OU. Would he actually leave his empire though? I kind of doubt it, but there's a chance. 10%
Chance of leaving for NFL: Stoops is regarded as being a great fit in the NFL, and his name often comes up in NFL coaching searches. Stoops hasn't been too interested in any vacancies yet, but that may change once his sons graduate from college. Deep down I'd be surprised if Stoops isn't wearing a visor with a Dallas Cowboys star on it (or some other NFL team) in four years. 25%
#3- Gary Patterson
Alma Mater: Kansas State
Job Security: Even a complete collapse in the Big 12 probably wouldn't be enough to cost Patterson his job. He does things the right way and the fans and alums absolutely adore him. His status in Fort Worth is almost the definition of secure. Bulletproof.
Attractiveness to other programs: Remember TCU before Patterson. Are you shocked that every fanbase with an empty head coaching chair carry around pictures of Patterson in their wallets? Very High.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: A point of some contention in the TCU community, the Texas and OU jobs have never been open while Patterson has been coach of TCU, but many other large programs have come calling from virtually every power conference. In the end, Patterson has stayed put at TCU and we're all pretty confident by now that as long as UT has a coach, Patterson has zero interest. If they don't, call it a coin flip. 10%
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: He almost did before, but in the end he stayed with TCU. Now TCU's program has risen to the stratosphere in terms of prestige and it's in a conference where if the Frogs go undefeated they'll be in the title game. If he wanted to follow Bill Snyder, the time was after Snyder's first retirement, I don't think he'll leave for K-State now. 1%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: Some have talked up this idea, but I just don't see it myself. Patterson has never been a pro guy, and despite likely wanting to show that the 4-2-5 would be great at the highest level the NFL is well out of GP's comfort zone. From an NFL perspective as well there's a big difference between hiring the coach of USC, Florida, Miami or OU than TCU- the GM and owner would have to have balls of steel. 10%.
#2- Mack Brown
Alma Mater: Vanderbilt/Florida State
Job Security: He has an absolutely massive contract and a huge buyout so it's been presumed that If he leaves he'll be retiring and/or taking the AD position at Texas. Still, the natives are very restless after another disappointing season and another butt kicking at the hands of OU. Moderate
Attractiveness to other programs: Mack can recruit with the best of them, but beyond that Brown is the definition of the CEO coach- which may soon become an antiquated position. These days programs want coaches who have a clear specialty, and Brown's days as OU's offensive coordinator are as far in the past as my birth.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: . . . What bigger school? 0%.
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: Florida State may be on the lookout for a new coach in a year or three, but they're not likely to want another older coach whose best days are probably behind him. 5%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: Brown's appeal as a recruiter would be wasted on the NFL level, and he doesn't have much else to fall back on. 0%.
#1- Bill Snyder
Alma Mater: Missouri/William Jewel
Job Security: Bill Snyder could fire the entire athletic department without too much of a fuss. The wildcats play in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium for crying out loud. Bulletproof.
Attractiveness to other programs: He's been an attractive candidate before, but his age is now a huge hindrance. We'll call it Low.
Chance of leaving for a bigger school: Again, Bill Snyder Stadium. 0%.
Chance of leaving for Alma Mater: Snyder is K-State at this point, and the Mizzou ties aren't deep considering he only played a year there. 0%.
Chance of leaving for NFL: Again, perhaps ten, fifteen years ago Snyder would have been an attractive candidate. As of now he's already retired once, so there's no guarantee he'd coach even three years in the NFL. 0%