What is star power? It isn’t something one can touch, but rather feel. Like the value placed on a rare gem, it’s all relative.
So whose star shines brightest in the SEC among football and basketball coaches? Here’s a look at all 28 head basketball and football coaches ranked in order by star power.
28. TBD, LSU basketball: TBD has zero star power; always has, always will. (Will Wade, who replaced Shaka Smart at VCU, reportedly is a top candidate.)
27. Cuonzo Martin, Missouri basketball: Just ahead of TBD in the star power ratings, Martin will get his chance at Mizzou, which finished 8-24 this season and hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
26. Barry Odom, Missouri football: A relative unknown outside the state, Odom must dig deep at a program that could afford him the opportunity to move up the ladder.
25. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt football: If enthusiasm were star power, Mason would be near the top of the list. Unfortunately, for Mason, there’s more to it than just that.
24. Mark Fox, Georgia basketball: Eight seasons with the Bulldogs and five postseason appearances, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament, gives Fox a reason for optimism to move up in the star power rankings.
23. Mark Stoops, Kentucky football: Longevity at this basketball school says a lot about the star power of this football coach whose program has improved in each of his four seasons at the helm.
22. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss basketball: A total of 11 seasons at Ole Miss has to say something. Twice he’s taken the Rebels dancing with NIT bids in almost every other season there.
21. Frank Martin, South Carolina basketball: Never has built on the star power he accomplished at Kansas State, but his Gamecocks just delivered one of the biggest upsets in the dance this season.
20. Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M basketball: Longevity drives the star power here. That and three NCAA appearances, including a 2016 Sweet 16 season.
19. Will Muschamp, South Carolina football: Although his star power rose as a defensive coordinator, Muschamp has yet to match that as a head coach. The Gamecocks are trending up, but time will tell if it happens.
18. Ed Orgeron, LSU football: A regional rock star, sure, but not the national star power his predecessor possessed. Orgeron, however, has every opportunity to get there with that program.
17. Mike Anderson, Arkansas basketball: A winner at Missouri, Anderson has the Razorbacks contending as well. They pushed top-seeded North Carolina before falling in the Round of 32. Anderson won 20 games six times combined at Missouri and Arkansas.
16. Mike White, Florida basketball: He doesn’t have star power at present, but give him a few more years with Billy Donovan’s former program. White’s upside is off the charts.
15. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M football: The star has become tarnished in the Lone Star state. Sumlin’s star status was at its height a few years back. It’s slipped steadily since.
14. Bryce Drew, Vanderbilt basketball: A feisty player now has a feisty team. His star power is on the rise.
13. Butch Jones, Tennessee football: The potential is there for Jones to be one of the rising stars of the SEC. So far he’s only been so-so. Next season will be critical to his star power status.
12. Avery Johnson, Alabama basketball: As a player and a NBA coach, Johnson’s star power is obvious. As Alabama’s head coach, not so much. Not just yet anyway.
11. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State football: A consistent winner with a program that isn’t on the same national stage as others in the conference. That takes star power and lots of it.
10. Kirby Smart, Georgia football: Perhaps the coach with the most upside in star power, Smart has a chance to be in the top 5 in a very short time.
9. Bruce Pearl, Auburn basketball: His star power fading, Pearl still has name recognition within the SEC.
8. Bret Bielema, Arkansas football coach: His star rose at Wisconsin. Since coming to Arkansas it has faded somewhat on the field. Off the field, in front of a microphone, he has few peers.
7. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss football: Although tarnished lately by the NCAA scandal, Freeze built up a ton of star power in a short time with the Rebels program.
6. Jim McElwain, Florida football: Rising in star power, McElwain enters the top 10 with a bullet. His star power could continue to rise with a SEC championship on his resume.
5. Rick Barnes, Tennessee basketball: Sometimes star power equals name recognition. If Barnes doesn’t start doing something with the Vols program his name and with it his star power will begin to fade. His 635 career wins are second to John Calipari among active SEC basketball coaches.
4. Ben Howland, Mississippi State basketball: He took UCLA to the Final Four three consecutive seasons. At Mississippi State he’s just looking for a winning season. Great star power, but fading fast.
3. Gus Malzahn, Auburn football: When you play for a national championship, it means something. Of course, winning it would have been a whole lot better.
2. John Calipari, Kentucky basketball: Sure the Cats are in a class by themselves, but sorry Cal, the SEC is still a football conference.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama football: Football is still king in the SEC. Alabama is king of football and Saban is the reason. Enough said.