Earlier in the season, I wrote about coaches that were going to possibly be in the top group of coaches in the future. Best Young Coaches
So, how did I do?
This is a follow up of the earlier post.
Dabo Swinney – Clemson: Plays Miami for the ACC championship. So far, his Tigers are 11-1. Probably, Swinney shouldn’t be on this list, but he will be the top candidate to replace Nick Saban at Alabama when he decides to walk away. In the past 3 seasons, the Clemson Tigers are 39-3 with a national title and almost another and that’s about as good as it gets. The Tigers play Miami on Saturday for the ACC Championship and another possible playoff berth.
PJ Fleck – Minnesota: Fleck’s first season at Minnesota was a disappointment with the Gophers
finishing 5-7. But, that doesn’t matter. He will win at Minnesota and win big before another school comes along and steals him. What Fleck did at Western Michigan was no fluke and the Row Your Boat slogan is catchy. His first season at Western Michigan was 1-11, but they progressed every season until he led them to a 13-1 record before taking the Gopher job. In 4 years, he completely turned around that program. He can do the same at Minnesota and he will.
Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech: The Hokies finished Fuente’s second season with a 9-3 record after 10-4 during first season. In both seasons, he had a brand new quarterback. But, next year, Josh Jackson will be back for his sophomore season and Fuente is developing a reputation for developing quarterbacks. Virginia Tech lost to Miami and didn’t get a shot at the ACC championship, but they will be competitive as long as Fuente is their coach.
Scott Frost – UCF: 11-0 with a rematch against Memphis looming. What will the playoff committee do with Central Florida if they finish the season 12-0? Probably, they will be ignored and they really haven’t played anybody big. Frost is possibly the first name mentioned when a school wants a new coach. He might be headed to Nebraska who incidentally just happens to need a new coach. Frost played defensive back at Stanford, but he’s from Nebraska and he transferred there to play quarterback and he helped them win a national title in 1997. The Cornhuskers could have saved themselves a lot of heartache by just hiring Scott Frost in the first place.
Lincoln Riley – Oklahoma: Riley inherited a pretty good situation at Oklahoma and it’s hard to tell how he will do long run. If they beat TCU on Saturday, they are playoffs bound. It’s still really early to determine how good Riley is and the seasons tend to grind on a coach. With likely Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield being a senior, Riley will then have Kyler Murray. When all is said and done, Murray could be better than Mayfield. He’s explosive. Who knows what the future holds for Lincoln Riley and can he recruit well enough to maintain the machine. Right now, he’s looking like a football genius.
Jeff Brohm – Purdue: Impressive coach. His first season at Purdue resulted in a 6-6 record, which may not sound great. But, this program has struggled to win 3 games a season in recent years. Brohm took the same players and improved them instantly. Their offense and defense were both much better than a year ago with basically the same guys. It will be interesting to see what true freshman recruit Jake Plummer can do at Purdue. Not related to the Jake Plummer from Arizona State, this Plummer is 6-5, 210 and looks like a gunslinger. With Brohm, Fleck and possibly Scott Frost in the Big 10, we are looking at something of a super conference.
Mike McIntyre – Colorado: After winning the Pac 12 South a year ago, the Buffaloes slipped back to a 5-7 record. McIntyre is a program builder and just might need some time to rebuild the Buffaloes. Fans think that a coach should come in and fix things instantly, but sometimes it takes 3 or 4 or even more years to get things going strong.
Tom Herman – Texas: My apologies to anyone that read my original post. The Longhorns improved defensively by leaps and bounds, but they still struggled to a 6-6 regular season record.
Dave Clawson – Wake Forest: Clawson has not won big yet, but his 7-5 record is much better than the Wake Forest of old. They are competitive and were a few plays away from a better record. Florida State beat them as time expired.
Matt Campbell – Iowa State: The Cyclones are the only team to beat Oklahoma and that was in Norman. They also beat TCU, the other team in the Big 12 Championship game. They did finish 7-5
on the season, but all of their losses were really close. Iowa State will be a force under Matt Campbell .
Phillip Montgomery – Tulsa: After finishing 10-3 in 2016, the Golden Hurricane fell completely apart in 2017 and finished 2-10.
DJ Durkin – Maryland: The jury is still out on Durkin, but in all fairness, his top two Quarterbacks were lost early in the season to injuries. They fell apart and finished 4-8.
Justin Wilcox – California: The Cal Golden Bears looked better this season, but still finished only with a 5-7 record. We saw enough to believe that Wilcox will get it going in the future.
Chris Ash – Rutgers: In his first season at Rutgers, Ash finished with a 2-10 record and this season they improved to 4-8. Will they continue to improve? Ash shows some promise and might have a future.
Willie Taggart – Oregon: In his first season with the Ducks, Taggart led the team to a 7-5 record. That’s after building a program at South Florida and that’s after building Western Kentucky. Taggart is a name that everyone is throwing around right now with every job opening.