Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where are they now? - UPDATED

I met my blog partner, Mergz (met in the Internet sense of the word because I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him in person), on the fireronzook.com message board. That was before some idiot stole the admin's password and neutralized it forever. What was left of that community still lives on at Zook Free Zone where I am a moderator and Mergz is a prolific contributor.

Every now and then I stop by the old fireronzook.com site just to remember the pain of the Zook years and remind myself that no matter how bad we look (for example against Georgia last Saturday) it's nowhere near as bad as it was then.

Today I was looking at FRZ suggestions for Head Coach to replace Ron Zook. As best as I can tell, the suggestions were written near the beginning of the 2003 season, more than a year before Zook would be fired. Sure enough Urban Meyer was one of the coaches on the short list. He was 3-1 at Utah, that season when the recommendations for Zook's replacement were posted. So I thought I'd compare Meyer's performance since that date to the other candidates and Zook himself. It's not a perfect comparison but it's interesting to see how other people that might have been considered for the job have fared since then.

First off: The New Ball Coach (NBC), Urban Meyer. Since the 4th week of the 2003 season Meyer has amassed the following record:

2003, Utah: 7-1
2004, Utah: 12-0
2005, Florida: 9-3
2006, Florida: 7-1
Total since week 4, 2003: 35-5
Winning percentage: 87.5%
Now let's look at the other candidates on the FRZ short list:
Jeff Tedford
2003, Cal: 7-3
2004, Cal: 10-2
2005, Cal: 8-4
2006, Cal: 7-1
Total since week 4, 2003: 32-10
Winning percentage: 76.2%

Kirk Ferentz
2003, Iowa: 6-3
2004, Iowa: 10-2
2005, Iowa: 7-5
2006, Iowa: 6-3
Total since week 4, 2003: 29-13
Winning percentage: 69.0%

Walt Harris
2003, Pitt: 5-4
2004, Pitt: 8-4
2005, Stanford: 5-6
2006, Stanford: 0-8
Total since week 4, 2003: 18-22
Winning percentage: 45.0%

Houston Nutt
2003, Ark: 5-4
2004, Ark: 5-6
2005, Ark: 4-7
2006, Ark: 7-1
Total since week 4, 2003: 21-18
Winning percentage: 53.8%

Joe Tiller
2003, Purdue: 6-3
2004, Purdue: 7-5
2005, Purdue: 5-6
2006, Purdue: 5-4
Total since week 4, 2003: 23-18
Winning percentage: 56.1%

Dan Hawkins
2003, Boise St.: 10-0
2004, Boise St.: 11-1
2005, Boise St.: 9-4
2006, Colorado.: 1-8
Total since week 4, 2003: 31-13
Winning percentage: 70.5%

Jim Leavitt
2003, USF: 4-3
2004, USF: 4-7
2005, USF: 6-6
2006, USF: 5-3
Total since week 4, 2003: 19-19
Winning percentage: 50%
Now let's look at the man that single-handedly changed the way fans interact with coaches and athletic directors and who is responsible for the fireyourcoach'snamehere.com phenomenon.
Ron Zook
2003, Florida: 6-3
2004, Florida: 7-4
2005, Illinois: 2-9
2006, Illinois: 2-7
Total since week 4, 2003: 17-23
Winning percentage: 42.5%
As I said this is an imperfect comparison because some of these coaches changed programs and some didn't. Four of the coaches moved and only Meyer and Hawkins could be said to have taken a step up. Walt Harris went to a bad Stanford program after being fired from a Pitt team that one the Big East (and was trounced by Meyer's Utes in the Fiesta Bowl) and Zook of course went to a terrible Illinois (or Illinoise as Zook pronounces it) program.

Of all the coaches analyzed Meyer has the best record and winning percentage followed by Tedford. It's fair to say that thus far it looks like the Gators got the best coach that was willing to change scenery among those considered by the folks at FRZ.

UPDATE - The above post was edited after an astute reader reminded me that Hawkins moved on to Colorado. So Hawkins doesn't get credit for the Broncos 8-0 start in 2006 but instead is saddled with the 1-8 record the Buffs have amassed.

Thanks Anonymous!


Anonymous said...

Might want to check your research. Hawkins is at Colorado this year, and boy, is he doing bad.

Gator Duck - ZFZ & GNN Gator Football Fanatics said...

This is another awesome post, Mergz. It is going up on Gator Football Fanatics at GNN with appropriate credits, of course.

Gator Duck - ZFZ & GNN Gator Football Fanatics said...

Oooopppps! Sorry, Fish, I see it is yours. Nice...

winstongator said...

Foley chose wisely. With all the vacancies this year, and those upcoming, there is a shortage of great coaches. Meyer is following in the path of Stoops, Tressel and to a lesser degree Richt, where they won the championship, or finished in the top 3 in their second season.