Posted by Walter
As a high school football coach, my friends would often ask me whether I would prefer to be an NFL head coach or a college head coach. For me the answer was always the same: "Definitely college......If you're a great NFL coach they'll name a trophy or a section of seats after you. In college, you get the whole stadium."
So my mind started wandering. Who are the best of best in college football? Who have the best opportunity to have their school's stadium named after them? Well, first some rules:
1) Great isn't good enough. - To have a stadium named after you, you need to be transcendent. You need to be an innovator. You need to do something that nobody has done before. For example, Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are great coaches. But they coach at traditional southern powerhouses. Oklahoma and Texas aren't naming stadiums after them unless they win a few more championships.
2) Respect those that came before you. - No matter how good you are, if your school has had an all time great coach before you, you are just sh*t out of luck. That means that the Mark Richts (Vince Dooley) and Mike Shulas (Bear Bryant) of the world need to go elsewhere.
3) Go the distance. - Before a school can even begin to contemplate naming a stadium after you, you need to be there for a while. And I'm not talking about Lloyd Carr at Michigan a while, I am talking about Joe Paterno at Penn State a while, and Bobby Bowden at Florida State a while.
OK, so in 50 years what current coaches may have their names on the stadiums in which they coach?
Well, given the rules we can eliminate some very derserving candidates (through no real fault of their own).
Urban Meyer - You're not as good as Spurrier, and you never will be.
Bob Stoops - Possibly the best coach in the country, but he's not touching Bud.
Mack Brown - Same as Stoops, but not touching Darrel Royal.
Tommy Tubberville - Vastly underrated coach, but he's no Shug Jordan.
Now some undeserving candidates who have no chance anyways:
Phil Fullmer - General Neyland would have eaten Fullmer for breakfast.
Mike Shula - Even Shula's dad isn't fit to hold the Bear's jock.
Tommy Bowden - Underachiever will never get his own rock like the legendar Frank Howard.
OK, so who actually could have a stadium named after them? Well here are some coaches who I think have a great shot and why.
Charlie Weis - Notre Dame
While Notre Dame Stadium is, and always will be, affectionately called "The House That Rockne Built", there will almost certainly be a place for Charlie Weis if he restores this traditional power to glory. The past decade has been as tumultuous a time as the Fighting Irish program has ever seen. Frustrated by losing seasons, and disgraced by the hiring and subsequent firing of George O'Leary, this once proud football school was in dire need of a savior. Within a year of arriving, Weis has risen Notre Dame from the ashes and built a national contender. If Weis is able to win a few national titles and resotre the luster to the golden dome, he will have boast one of the greatest, and most important achievments in Irish history.
Tressel is in a good spot. He is not the most innovative or exuberant coach but you cannot deny his results. He already has one national title under his belt, and is young enough to rack up a few more before he retires. Most importantly though, is Tressel's lack of competition. Unlike other traditional football powerhouses, Ohio State does not have a former coach worthy of stadium naming recognition. The great Woody Hayes seemed to be on his way until he lost his mind and punched out an opposing player. Oh yeah, did I mention that Tressel is 4-1 in games against Michigan? Yeah that's proabbly the quickest way to get your name up there.
Petrino is also in a good situation since Louisville is not a traditional football power. However, Petrino has brought the program to new heights and is really only competing with himself. If he can bring the Cardinals even a single national title, he might be in line for such an honor. Petrino is bright enough, and enoug of an offensive innovator to get the job done in Kentucky.....assuming he sticks around long enough and resists the allure of the NFL and more prominent college programs (which are sure to beckon for his services).
Rodriguez is in a very similar situaiton to Petrino. He is young, innovative, and talented enough to bring his program to new heights. Still, he is going to have to win at least one national title, and resist the urge to move on to bigger and better things.
Hill is probably a long shot, since he is the lone non-BCS conference coach on this list (excluding independent Notre Dame). However, Hill has turned his program into a giant killer and seems to be working under the Bobby Bowden philosophy of program building: play any team, anywhere, anytime until recruits start to take notice. It is unlikely that Hill will stay at Fresno long enough to achieve stadium name status (I mean after all he is in high demand as a Belichick desciple), but he certainly has the coaching chops to get there.
Another unlikely character, Leach is probably the most creative of the bunch. His offense is so innovative and creative, he may be remembered whether he wins national titles or not. Texas Texh has long been the little brother to the other lonestar powerhouses in Austin and College Station. If Leach can somehow bring his Raiders up to the big time, he may be rewarded with a stadium named after him.