How many SEC coaches are on the same sideline in a year?
It was a busy offseason in the SEC coaching carousel. Nearly half the league made changes at the top spot. But in spite of that, recent history tells us that whether by choice or by canning, there’ll be a coach or two who isn’t still around in a year. Who is most likely to go? Let us break it down for you.
Not Going Anywhere
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: 99.9%
The Aggies didn’t spend $75 million to bring Fisher in town to lose him after a year. If he went 0-12, there’d be some grumbling, but he’d still have his job.
Dan Mullen, Florida: 99.9%
See Fisher above. Add in the fact that Florida has a weaker division, more talent, and is coming off a ridiculously bad season. Mullen will be there in a year regardless of how the season plays out.
Chad Morris, Arkansas: 99.8%
The only reason Morris is slightly behind the leaders is that he’s inheriting a pretty woebegone program. Arkansas hasn’t been competitive since the days before Bobby Petrino had his motorcycle wreck. Morris’s job is taller than most — fortunately, the Razorback fan base should be patient.
Kirby Smart, Georgia: 99%
Frustration from the title game aside, Kirby’s first two years have pleased the UGA fan base. Frankly, this would be a situation where the only forseeable moves would come from Smart himself, and he’s younger and in less NFL demand than Nick Saban.
Matt Luke, Ole Miss: 99%
The probation that Ole Miss faces is pretty much a “get out of coaching jail free” card. Luke wanted the job when not many others did. Even if the Rebels struggle — and based on the improvements made elsewhere in the West and the exodus of talent from Oxford, that looks almost certain — Luke isn’t going anywhere in the short term.
Only the Slightest Doubt
Nick Saban, Alabama: 95%
There’s always the possibility of an NFL itch that only Saban can scratch. Or, approaching his 67th birthday in October, he realizes he’s running a course that nobody can match, and just decides to retire and take out his energy on lawn maintenance or TV broadcasting.
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State: 95%
Moorhead has big shoes to fill. Dan Mullen notched the second most wins in school history, and delivered three memorable seasons in his last four. Moorhead’s Year 1 should be better than fine given all that Hail State returns, but if there’s one place where a quick culture shock looks likely … well, that’s probably Tennessee. But State would be second most likely.
So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance
Will Muschamp, South Carolina: 90%
In Muschamp’s second year at Carolina, he led the Gamecocks to second place in the East with a 9-4 season. Of course, it’s worth noting that in his second year at Florida, he went 11-2. In Year 3, he went 4-8. Carolina might have bumped its head on the SEC ceiling, given the inevitable improvements coming at Florida, Tennessee, etc.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky: 90%
Somehow, Mark Stoops became the dean of SEC East head coaches. A 7-6 season that somehow left his fan base cranky doesn’t put him on brilliant ground. Neither does losing his starting QB to graduation, and the probable replacement electing to transfer. This could be a fall-back season for the Wildcats — or if not, Stoops could start getting looks from other programs.
Barry Odom, Missouri: 90%
Much like Stoops, Odom could be in a tough transition season. His job looked in jeopardy at mid-season, before he rallied the Tigers from 1-5 to 7-5. Can he pull off a run like that again? It certainly helps that Drew Lock is back. If not, will Mizzou still be happy? The answer is probably so, but he’s a long shot guy who could end up someplace else.
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee: 90%
How could Pruitt’s numbers be so low as a first year guy? Well, there are a couple things in play. If there’s any team that seems destined to have a Mike Price-type situation, it would be UT. Further, there’s still lingering unhappiness over the way the coaching search was handled, the new AD is a football legend, and Pruitt has the potential to be in a struggle quickly. Sure, he could still be the head coach in Knoxville in 15 years … but nothing at UT has come easily in recent times.
They Could Be on the Move
Gus Malzahn, Auburn: 75%
The flirtation with other jobs was telling. If Malzahn and Auburn start getting lapped by LSU or A&M, there’s no reason to think the flirtation won’t move from the opposite direction as well. The West coaching battles are like an arms race, and there’s no place in here for those who aren’t entirely invested. It doesn’t help that Malzahn has lost at least 4 games each of the past 4 years.
Ed Orgeron: 75%
Frankly, everybody at LSU still isn’t thrilled that Orgeron ended up nabbing this job. A solid 2017 was a plus, but at the same time, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada became a one-and-done and the Tigers, while having enough talent to beat Auburn, also had enough focus issues to lose to Troy. Not saying Orgeron goes, but it wouldn’t be a shock.
Most Likely to Not Return
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: 50%
Four years in, Mason is 18-31 at Vandy and doesn’t have an easy season upcoming. Frankly, the bigger issue is that Mason replaced James Franklin, who was easily the best and most glamorous Vandy coach in the past 75 years or so. Would another 5-7 year keep Mason’s job? It’s a coin toss.