The SEC is, undoubtedly, the great college football conference in America. There is no other conference that boasts the rich traditions, rabid fan bases and the consistent on-field dominance that the SEC does. It is also home to many of the best head coaches in football.
SEC football coaches ranked
14. Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee)
It’s been an auspicious start to Pruitt’s head coaching career in Knoxville. Pruitt only managed 5 wins in year one and is off to a 2-4 start in 2019 with home losses to Georgia State and BYU hanging over his head. For whatever reason, it appears Tennessee is struggling to get it right with a coaching hire, having gone through similar doldrums with Derek Dooley and Butch Joes prior to Pruitt’s hire in late 2017.
13. Chad Morris (Arkansas)
Another coach that is in his second year, so perhaps it’s a bit unfair to heap large amounts of shame his way, but his 1.5 years in Fayetteville have been horrendous. Morris has yet to beat a power 5 team or win an SEC game as coach of the Razorbacks and is on pace to be the only SEC coach to start his career 0-16 in conference play. Morris has done a decent job recruiting but so far these young players have not been able to keep the program’s head above water and Hog fans are quickly becoming impatient.
12. Derek Mason (Vanderbilt)
It’s quite possible that we don’t really know just how good of a coach Derek Mason is given Vanderbilt’s disadvantages in the SEC. His 25-41 record is definitely not good, however, he has led the Commodores to a Bowl game in 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Unfortunately, the momentum has not continued into 2019 as his team has started the season 1-6 (including a home loss to UNLV).
11. Matt Luke (Ole Miss)
It’s safe to say that Luke inherited quite a mess when he took over for Hugh Freeze on an interim basis back in 2017. As co-offensive coordinator from 2012-2016, he helped orchestrate an offensive explosion with talented players all over the field. The living is anything but easy these days and Luke’s 14-17 head coaching record is a far cry from where things were under Hugh Freeze. He seems to be getting things heading in the right direction and former QB Bo Wallace recently voiced his support of Luke to remain the coach going forward.
10. Joe Moorhead (Miss. State)
On August 24, 2017, Moorhead was named the No. 1 rising assistant in college football by Sports Illustrated and Yahoo. After a 8-5 start at Mississippi State in 2018, things seemed to be pointing up but the wheels have quickly came off this season. The Bulldogs are 3-3 heading into a home game against #2 LSU and have suffered a defeat to struggling Tennessee. Rumors of Moorhead bolting to Rutgers are running rampant and it’s very possible the Bulldogs are looking for a head coach once again next season.
9. Barry Odom (Missouri)
It’s been a slow but steady rise to relevance for Odom and the Mizzou program. A 4-8 start to his career at Mizzou made it seem as if the Tigers were miles away from being competitive again but a 20-12 record since, including two bowl appearances and a top-25 ranking in mid-2019 has shown Odom to be a very solid program builder. He has continuously overcome adversity and somehow managed to keep his teams’ heads in the game even after slow, disastrous starts to seasons.
8. Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
Credit the University of Kentucky for being patient with Stoops and letting him build the program. Success has not come quickly, but fan support, facilities and recruiting are all on very solid ground. Last season, Stoops led UK to its first 10-win season since 1977 but the Wildcats have suffered a steep drop-off in 2019. It seems unlikely that Stoops will reach that 10-win plateau for quite some time but could remain in Lexington indefinitely with his ability to keep the program on steady ground.
7. Will Muschamp (South Carolina)
Muschamp received heavy criticism for the way his tenure ended at Florida and for good reason. Many scoffed at South Carolina for hiring Muschamp back in 2016 but a 25-20 total record during the past 3+ seasons has been a steady if not unspectacular force in keeping the Gamecocks competitive in the SEC East. His Gamecocks pulled a huge upset on October 12, knocking off a top-5 Georgia team in Athens giving him a signature road win.
6. Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
Of all coaches in America, perhaps none are as good at circling the wagons than Gus Malzahn. He has lived on the proverbial hot seat for the past few seasons and, when all hope seems lost, he seems to deliver a great season out on the plains of Auburn. He boasts a 58-28 record at Auburn including an SEC title back in 2013 and an appearance in the BCS Championship game that same season. Malzahn seems to have the Tigers rolling once again in 2019 and they currently sit at 6-1 and are creeping back towards a top-10 ranking.
5. Dan Mullen (Florida)
Not only is Mullen doing a great job of bringing Florida back to national prominence but he’s also proven his worth at a lesser SEC job (Mississippi State). Mullen helped vault the Bulldogs to #1 in the nation back in 2014 and was considered a home-run hire in Gainesville after the 2017 season. A 10-3 opening campaign followed by a 7-1 start to 2019 (and a top 10 ranking) should be enough to springboard Mullen into the top 5 of SEC coaches.
4. Ed Orgeron (LSU)
There were mixed feelings when Orgeron officially became the head coach at LSU back in 2016. Afterall, Orgeron already had a failed stint at Ole Miss under his belt. All he’s done since then is amass a 31-9 record, totally revamp his offense and lead the Tigers to a #2 national ranking (as of October 19). Maybe it’s just really easy to recruit to LSU and the program self-sustains regardless of who the coach is (don’t forget Les Miles won a championship there) but Orgeron has solidified himself as one of the upper-echelon coaches in the SEC.
3. Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M)
Texas A&M has all the fan support and resources that is required to have an elite program. Luring Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State was a huge coupe for the school and expectations were immediately through the roof. A 9-4 season in 2018 helped send the A&M hype machine into overdrive as the Aggies began the year with a top-15 national ranking. After starting the year 3-3, it’s clear that the team is not going to live up to that ranking, although Fisher certainly has the pedigree to get the school back into the national spotlight.
2. Kirby Smart (Georgia)
In both 2017 and 2018, Smart had Georgia on the cusp of a potential National championship. Both times, their efforts were thwarted by Alabama and the Georgia fan base knows that if they are going to become one of college football’s elites, it’s a barrier they are going to eventually have to break down. Smart has been recruiting at a nearly unprecedented level (1st in team recruiting rankings in 2017 and 2018) while at Georgia and it feels all but a certainty that big things are ahead in Athens.
1. Nick Saban (Alabama)
It’s obvious and many don’t like it, but you’ve had to learn to live with it. Saban represents the gold standard in college coaching excellence and has proven it time and again. Saban has won five national titles at Alabama and is an insane 105-21 since arriving in Tuscaloosa back in 2007. Oh and the Tide are currently ranked #1 once again and appear to be on a collision course with the College Football Playoff for the sixth straight season.