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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK Football Coach History, Is it Good Enough?


Is it just a coincedence that the 2 most successful UK coaches since 1946 were also the 2 who came in with the most head coaching experience?

DISCLAIMER: I ONLY WRITE THIS POST BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE ARGUED THAT KENTUCKY’S FOOTBALL PROGRAM WILL NEVER BE GREAT UNTIL WE MAKE A BETTER HIRE AT HEAD COACH.  SO HERE IS AN ANALYSIS OF THE PAST UK COACHES AND THEIR RESUMES COMING TO LEXINGTON.

Paul “Bear” Bryant (1946)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 6-2-1 (1 season)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: Maryland

Blanton Collier (1954)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

Charlie Bradshaw (1962)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

John Ray (1969)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

Fran Curci (1973)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 34-19 (5 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: University of Tampa, Miami (FL)

Jerry Claiborne (1982)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 138-76-5 (20 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: Virginia Tech, Maryland

Bill Curry (1990)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 57-53-4 (10 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: Georgia Tech, Alabama

Hal Mumme (1997)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons) 
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

Guy Morris (2001)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

Rich Brooks (2003)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 91-109-4 (18 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: Oregon

Joker Phillips (2010)
Career 1-A Record before UK: 0-0 (0 seasons)
Head Coaching Jobs Before UK: None

There have been 11 head coaches at Kentucky starting with Bear Bryant.  Amazingly, 6 times Kentucky has hired a coach who NEVER held a Division 1-A head coaching job.  Bryant only had 1 season under his belt.  What does it say that the 2 most successful UK coaches since Bryant were Claiborne and Brooks, and those two guys are the two who came in with the most experience?  What does it say that the two coaches who had the worst record at UK since Bryant are Bradshaw and Ray, who came to Lexington with no head coaching experience? 

But then you have guys like Morris and Mumme, who both saw some success at Kentucky, but honestly reached ceilings they never could seem to break through at about 7 or 8 wins.  And Curry came in with 10 seasons of experience, including 3 successful seasons at Alabama, and yet was terrible at Kentucky.  So, those stats above are not completely conclusive, but I will leave you with 1 stat.  Here are the career records of UK coaches who came in with experience against those that did not:

5 coaches with experience: 212-219-13 (49.1% win)
6 coaches without experience: 105-150-7 (41.1% win)

Now, overlooking the fact that both of those winning percentages are disgusting, the difference between those record correlates to 1 WIN PER SEASON.  In simplier terms, the coaches with experience won an average of 1 more game per season than those that didn’t at Kentucky.  Can this be attributed to the fact that the coaches with experience handle close game situations better?  I don’t know, what are your thoughts?

But the greater question is: Have the inexperienced hires hindered Kentucky’s progress as a football program?

Article written by Bryan the Intern