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Would other SEC coaching vacancies hinder a possible UK hire?

You know it’s a prestigious group, because look at all that marble.

While yesterday was one of the better days for the Kentucky basketball program, things in the football program continued in much the same way they have all year.

We can all acknowledge that Joker’s on the hot seat, and for a minute, let’s speculate that Barnhart does in fact have to make a hire this offseason.  One of the biggest draws of the Kentucky football HC position is that, in addition to getting to hang out with Calipari, you get to call yourself an SEC football coach.  That’s not a small deal.  Iron sharpeneth iron, and there’s no better group of peers to associate yourself with as a coach wanting to get better.  There’s a certain level of prestige that goes with being an SEC football coach; like smart people being in MENSA, or Louisville fans being in the Ed Hardy platinum rewards club.  Most years, anyway.

This year, though, Kentucky isn’t the only team with some issues.  SEC football blog Saturday Down South examines four potential head coaching vacancies that the league could see in the coming months.  Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, and UK might spend their offseasons trying to make a splash with a solid hire.

Regarding UK, SDS gives a harsh dose of reality in saying that “[t]he Wildcats just want to be competitive, and they’re nearly last in every single offensive and defensive statistic in the SEC.”  Any new coach coming in wouldn’t be expected to start picking up SEC titles immediately, but rather get us out of the gutter.

The question is, if almost a third of the league has coaching vacancies, does the appeal of “SEC coach,” one of UK’s biggest selling points, lose a little bit of its luster?

Imagine that you’re a fairly successful coach in a largely anonymous league, like the Big East.  If you’re looking to break into the SEC, and you get calls from UK, Tennessee, and Arkansas, which call are you most likely to return?

Supply and demand is the simplest tenant of good business: when the supply is high, without a great demand, the price is low.  If the rest of the season goes poorly for the four teams looking at a possible coaching change, then the supply of available SEC head coach positions will be extraordinarily high.  The appeal, then, would have to plummet.  For a school with relatively few selling points (comparatively), a devaluing of one of them can’t be good.  So what should we hope for?  Believe it or not, it may be advantageous to hope that Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn do just well enough to keep their coaches around for another year.  Actually, just Arkansas and Auburn.  I still hope Tennessee embarrasses themselves.

But the point remains: if there are a ton of SEC openings, up-and-coming coaches may be less impressed by the Kentucky position.  At that point, we’ll just have to hope they like blue.

Article written by Corey Nichols

58 Comments for Would other SEC coaching vacancies hinder a possible UK hire?



  1. SteveM
    9:08 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks to Barnhart’s abandonment of the UK program, coaches are not going to be impressed regardless of how many openings may occur in the SEC.



  2. barn
    9:09 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    i don’t see any marbles



  3. Corey's writing teacher...
    9:10 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry I failed to teach you better! I should have done more. It’s my fault your post is so bad. Despite being best friends with the Dean of my college, I will step down effective immediately.



  4. guest
    9:12 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Joker’s the only one that’s not dressed like a complete buffoon…so at least we win at something!



  5. JayCee
    9:17 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Firing Dooley would mean the 3rd coach at UT in 5 years.

    Firing Chizik means firing a coach that still has NC-winning players on his roster.

    Arkansas is the only true known competition at this point, which is why it makes too much sense to start this thing right now and not let other schools get ahead of us. Alas, UK/Mitch lack the sacs to pull that off, so here we are, watching the building burn.



  6. just sayin'
    9:17 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    corey, guess you didn’t know the arkansas AD already said he’s hiring a coach in december. also, missouri may need a new coach as well. toss in the possibility that texas my need a new coach and you end up with with more schools than just auburn and tennessee that will need coaches which UK couldn’t attract.



  7. Btbtb
    9:19 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think UK is going to be targeting the same coaches as Auburn, UT, and Arkansas. Jim Tressel, Kirby Smart, and Charlie Strong will be the top candidates for head coach at those schools. I seriously doubt any major football school is going to take a shot at Bobby Petrino. The only school demoralized enough to do so would be UK, but even they probably won’t do it. It won’t be easy to find a good coach willing to come to UK.



  8. Rockfield, KY
    9:19 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    The Ed Hardly line was well played.

    Arkansas is dumping their coaches for sure and I can’t imagine Auburn or UT putting up with Chizik and Dooley one more year. Luckily, there are a lot of quality coaching candidates out there, so we should be able to make a solid hire. I’d say if we can’t lure Smart away from Bama (which is likely the case), we’ll go hard after Sonny Dykes. If not him, then it gets interesting. Fulmer, Petrino, Belotti, Solich, Cutcliffe, Tuberville, Taggart. Who knows.



  9. HicksPickSix
    9:21 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    In honor of Lane Goodwin I’m not going to point out the flaws in Corey’s post today. Rest in peace, Lane.



  10. bluesince66
    9:22 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    There are actually two ways of looking at it. Whoever is hired would have a much longer leash, amount of time to get things turned around and, less pressure at UK than any of the other schools. The other schools view their football like we view our basketball they deserve the best and want immediate results. Most UK football fans are a little more realistic.



  11. Yesterdays
    9:22 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I can promise you we wont be competing for a coach with Tenn or Arkansas. After the Dooley debacle, look for them to toss a TON of money at someone high-profile. I dont know who that would be but they aint going to settle for an up and comer, which is the only thing UK can get. Arky is going to offer a ton of money and brand new facilities to a high-profile coach as well. Now, Auburn is a school that I think would hire an up and comer so hopefully Chizik can stick around- I think he will.



  12. Wombat
    9:27 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Why is Nick Saban wearing a priest’s collar?



  13. UK Fan
    9:27 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Barnhart has destroyed the football program at UK. Until he’s gone it doesn’t matter who he hires next.



  14. Ben
    9:28 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Sonny Dykes or Mike Leach are the only two with a chance for success at KY! Auburn will take a chance on Petrino, because they are both slimy and underhanded. Conventional coaches will fail at KY! Cutcliffe to TN and Taggart to MO. The two coaches we need the most will not be taken by those other schools. Just one person opinion! The search should be fun.



  15. barn
    9:30 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    tenn won’t fire dooley this year. he needs 5 or 6 years to get his system and his players in place. sound familiar?



  16. ShelbyCatFan
    9:31 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Why does everyone hate on the posts the writers put up on this site? (cough cough) WTF are you doing with your life?
    UK will bring Joker back. Sad but true.



  17. Beavis
    9:31 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    If we keep settling for those “coach in waiting” and the “up and comers” we will continue to have the same mediocrity we have enjoyed for years. Not going after a high profile coach is, in my opinion, stupid. At least make them say no to UK.



  18. JayCee
    9:35 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    11- UT doesn’t have a “ton of money” to throw at a coach right now.

    “6. Tennessee simply can’t afford another huge contract buyout. The school is already paying big packages to former Coach Phillip Fulmer, and former basketball Coach Bruce Pearl. There are also several potential lawsuits in play as the university seeks to cut expenses and save money in athletics.”

    taken from this link.
    http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/10/17/236517/Randy-Smith-Coach-Dooley-Should-Get.aspx



  19. Yesterdays
    9:36 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Id love to get a high profile coach. Just dont think its realistic. When I think “high-profile” I think of Saban, Meyer, Miles, Stoops, Kiffin (in name only), Rich-Rod, Petrino (We arent hiring him), Mullen, Kirby Smart, (Hottest Asst.). Those are just top of my head. Do you think we land any of those?



  20. JayCee
    9:37 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    As someone here mentioned before, Chizik might not be the coach that Barn wants, but, he knows where all the bodies are buried.



  21. JayCee
    9:43 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    19- If UK hadn’t spent the last 30+ years neglecting their FB facilities and failing to nurture the sport in general, we could possibly get one. However, the only truly obtainable coach of any stature from that list is BP and that’s simply b/c he is damaged goods.

    With that info on the table, UK either wants to win and will swallow pride to offer BP, or we’ll recycle another loser coach and nothing of consequence will ever change with UK FB.



  22. RealCatsFan
    9:48 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Where is Bobby’s neck brace in that picture? Photoshop anyone?



  23. Smitty
    9:52 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I am not sold that the SEC Prestige thing attracts a coach…. Sure you can go coach in the best conference but, why are you going to want to coach the worst team in the best conference? Look at the Big East in basketball, the Big East before the recent changes, would you want to coach DePaul or Providence just to say that you are a Big East coach? When you don’t do well, you can have it stuck to you that you can’t coach….Look at Dooley at UT… Came from Louisiana Tech to coach in the SEC and he is now a forgotten name.
    If I were a college football coach, I stay away from the SEC lower tier schools and try for the same caliber team, or better, than UK in a different conference



  24. RUPPS_rhetoric
    9:55 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    16)ShelbyCatFan Completely agree with your first premise. It is funny sometimes the people who legitimately get upset with the writers. I occasionally poke fun at them from time to time, but it’s always in good fun. However I respecfully diagree with your assertion that Joker comes back. Financially I just don’t think they can keep him. Safe to say, minus him winning the next 5 games, we will have a new coach next year.



  25. BullDogBall
    9:57 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky is where all football coaches go to die,or never be heard from again.You are in a FOOTBALL conference!UKs best option is to go into a Basketball conference.
    And where is this “hate day” I read about???
    Dawgs are gonna smash some heads come Saturday!!



  26. JayCee
    10:01 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    UGA deserves no hate day. We’ve beaten your team too often recently.



  27. Oh boy...
    10:05 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    @18…LOL at UK fans talking about what UT can and cannot afford. You boys fill up at Pilot lately? Well congratulations you just contributed to the Haslam family fortune..aka the UT Athletic Department ATM. That newspaper link is not even from a mainstream paper in Chattanooga. TN Sports Radio and the Sports Animal have been confirmed that two influential boosters (Jimmy Haslam is likely one of them) are prepared to pay the buyout if it is needed.



  28. Turner the Burner
    10:08 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    21 – I wouldn’t say that UK has spent “the last 30+ years neglecting theif FB facilities” would be accurate. Commonwealth stadium was built 39 years ago.
    In the past 30 years, UK has upgraded Commonwealth stadium by closing the endzones and added the 40 suites on the corners.
    The Nutter Training Facility was built in 1987 and was expanded in 2002, new fields in 2005, and an upgrade to the interor in 2012.
    In addtion, though it is used for other sports, the Nutter Field House offers the football team a place to practice indoors.
    Are our facilities up to par with the others in the SEC? No but neglecting would mean that UK was doing NOTHING to help the football program.



  29. Scott
    10:11 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    @27 – Now I have reason enough to go to BP. Rather support an oil spill or UT athletics? Sorry gulf coast.



  30. DHo
    10:19 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    19 ……. No, I do not think we have a shot at any of those guys.

    Also, I heard on Mike & Mike this morning that they wondered if Saban would be the next coach for the Cowboys.
    Reason….. Saban has to be tired of recruiting and eating rubber chickens on the banquet circuit.

    Child, please.

    I know you have babble endlessly on a radio talk show, but geesh!



  31. Max E. Beasley
    10:20 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    It use to be that any new coach was given a 4 or 5 year leash to bring in and develop his players and to solidify the coaching staff’s chemistry. Add to that Joker being one of our own and I believe he will be brought back for another year,



  32. Dr. Tom
    10:22 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    All of the current “high profile” coaches were once “up and comers”. All of these coaches share the same traits of X & O knowledge and the intangeble personality skills to be able to recruit well and energize the fan base. The next Saban’s and Calipari’s are out there, it’s just a matter of identifying them. What were the obvious successful traits that Saban and Calipari shared as they were coming up in the coaching ranks? Our AD has to be able to identify that candidate.



  33. Back2Final4
    10:23 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    A name that has been overlooked but may be in play is Terry Bowden. He is at Akron currently. His assistants would likely come too—former head coach at NC state. Winning pedigree. Established. Likely not afraid of the big stage or big challenge. JMO. BBN what are your thoughts on this name?



  34. Beavis
    10:29 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Yep,,,they were “up and comers’ in the NFL. That is where we need to look for the next coach. If memory serves me,,Saban and Miles were both on Bill Belichick’s staff.



  35. BullDogBall
    10:30 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    #26 Yet UK remains the Celler Dwellers of the SEC….even a blind rat can find a corn crib every now and again.
    I guess WKU will still get their hate day !!



  36. yab
    10:30 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I see our coach in that picture, bottom row, second from the right. Get it done, Mitch.



  37. BullDogBall
    10:32 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I hear Bobby Pertrino bought an ex UK players home on the auction block a few weeks back. Seems UK basketball players don’t pay their mortgages or child support??



  38. comeagain?
    10:34 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    31. Under normal circumstances yes, but joker was brought as a coach in waiting. 3 years of progressively getting worse he should be fired.



  39. BullDogBall
    10:40 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    #26 Georgia is (51-12-2) against Kentucky Average score: Georgia 25.4 – Kentucky 15.3
    How does WKU get a hate day??



  40. Up and comer?
    10:48 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    #32 you forgot to mention that if or when UK identifies that next up and comer, goes against all odds and is able to hire him over the other schools with coaching vacancies, he will stay at UK just long enough to procure a better job at a school giving him REALISTIC chances for sustained success. I could see any up and comer staying only 2 years before jumping ship!



  41. Big Whoop
    10:50 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I do not believe there WILL be a coaching change until Joker’s contract expires. I don’t believe Eli and the BOT will permit it. Barnhart no longer runs UK Athletics when it comes to major decisions and Joker’s buyout involves major money.



  42. Forgive them...they know not what they speak of
    10:50 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    #39…if you visit this site often you will find a fan base that over hypes isolated wins over various SEC programs and will use that isolated victory as evidence that the program has arrived and its now a part of the “club”.

    Last November, UK beat UT for the first time in 27 years. If you had been born on another planet, reading this site would have led you to believe UT and UK programs were equal. Same pattern when they beat Georgia and Auburn over the last five years.



  43. ctcuk
    10:51 am October 18, 2012 Permalink


  44. wbguitar08
    10:51 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    not sure if the UT AD/admin will want Petrino – UT fans I’ve talked to want him…his personal life may be a mess, but the guy wins football games…and w/o having 4-5 star talent all over the roster…



  45. Matt in Franklin
    10:55 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Joker will be back next year…why? Cuz WEAREUK…and crappy football is what we do…



  46. goUKats
    10:55 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    If Auburn fires Chizik.you can bet the house that Petrino gets that job.And heavy odds would be on Joker returning to UK for his fourth disastrious year.So save all of your “we’re a young team” excuses because you will get to use them again next year.
    Biggest question,who will Arkansas hire ?



  47. RealCatsFan
    11:11 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    If they bring Joker back, then he will be a lame duck on the recruiting trail, unless they give him a contract extension, which would lead to another buyout. This would also mean another entire graduating class with a dearth of players. Add in the expected transfers out of the program if Joker stays, and his successor will be left with a cupboard that is even more bare. If UK looks at it from a financial standpoint, he has to go after this year. Only Mitch’s “friendship” with Joker would allow for him to stay.



  48. Dr. Tom
    11:15 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    #40…Your point is well taken. Schools like WKU are always going to have to deal with that issue. The days of a Coach Diddle staying for 40 years at a smaller school like Western are gone…with Butler as an exception!! But the football program at UK should not be considered as a stepping stone position. My gosh it is an SEC school. Bear Bryant once coached football in Lexington…what an “up and comer” he was!! Unfortunately the traditional football program issues are so great at UK that it will take a miracle hire to advance the program up to middle-of-the-pact status within the SEC. Getting the right person that can turn the fortunes around in Lexington and then stay there is a monumental challenge!!



  49. wilDCat
    11:41 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    43 – Nice catch, that’s a good article on Jorts. Hope he stays on the team and can play and maybe even get himself a ring, he’s earned it.



  50. bluesince66
    11:56 am October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Hey big whoop the athletic budget and school budget are separate from each other. Mitch makes the call.



  51. Bowden Bowden Bowden
    12:00 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I think the Bowden Bros need to be in the discussion on the next football coach.



  52. GA_Hill
    12:14 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    To add to that SEC list, there is a very real chance Nebraska comes open after this season, as well.



  53. D-Fan
    12:19 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    Charlie Strong will go to Arkansas. Willie Taggert will go to Louisville. Chizek is probably safe at Auburn for another year or so. I always heard the only reason he was brought in to begin with was his relationship with Auburn’s AD. His program was a dumpster fire at Iowa State and, with the exception of catching lightning in a bottle for one year, it’s been a mess at Auburn, too. But, I don’t think they’ll can him yet. If Dooley can get UT to a bowl they may give him another shot. If they do fire Dooley, I think they’ll find the resources to back an armored car up to someone’s house in order to get a big name. Ultimately, I don’t think UK will have too much competition within the SEC. Their biggest problem will be convincing someone that the university is actually going to support football.



  54. Dolfan66r
    1:25 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    For some reason I dont think that Arkansas goes after Strong. The UL connection hasnt worked out for them so far (Petrino, Smith). I think Strong ends up at Georgia Tech. I think that is a perfect situation for him. Urban school with great tradition and still close to his Florida connections!!



  55. UK Fan
    1:44 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    UK is college football coach’s graveyard.



  56. Jackson Purchase
    1:47 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    I’m afraid that whoever Mitch hires we will be having this same conversation in 3 more years unless he hits a homerun with his next hire.



  57. Uk 64
    1:59 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    What about Jon Gruden?



  58. Money
    3:09 pm October 18, 2012 Permalink

    If attendance continues to drop…and it is going to…then UK will have no choice but to fire Joker. I went to school with Joker. I like Joker. But Joker has not come close to getting it done. His teams have been worse each year. The fan base has been loyal to a fault over the years but it has had enough. There are too many other things to do on a Saturday other than watching pathetic football. Sorry, but that’s the truth. By the way, if a new coach is hired, it had better be a very good choice because two more years of being absolutely non-competitive will snuff out the fan base for good. The old fans are passing away and the new ones would rather be on their computers playing virtual reality than watching bad football.