5. Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
The famous 2010 rant by Nutt characterizes why he is disliked in a nut shell. Heading toward a 4-8 season and coming off an embarrassing performance at Tennessee, Nutt felt it was a good time to point out why Rebels fans should be thankful for him. Did you know it had been 50 years since the Rebels had won consecutive January 1 bowl games? If you didn’t, Nutt would certainly tell you he guided the school to that feat. For that 2010 season, the coach also took on quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who had been kicked off Oregon’s team. How did that work out?
Nutt’s definitely not Mr. Popularity.
4. Rick Neuheisel (UCLA)
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti felt that the better team lost in 1998, when Neuheisel’s Colorado team beat Oregon in a close Aloha Bowl. And that came after the Buffs ran up the score on the Ducks in the 1996 Cotton Bowl. Most coaches would respond with a diplomatic answer so not to create headlines – cooling the feud between the schools – but not Neuheisel.
“Scoreboard, baby,” he said.
OK, then. Now you know what we are dealing with here. Neuheisel has had his successes in college football, winning big at both Colorado and Washington. In fact, he guided the Huskies to a Rose Bowl win. But Neuheisel ran into NCAA compliance issues at both schools. He even has been derided for his recruiting practices, which reportedly have included calling a player on his cell phone outside the player’s window at home when he was prohibited from visiting with them.
Could anyone nicknamed “Slick Rick” be well-liked?
3. Nick Saban (Alabama)
No one likes a guy with a Napoleon complex, and many say the diminutive Saban makes up for his lack of height with an outsized and extremely sour personality. His press conferences make Bill Belichick look like Mr. Sunshine. This season, he opened an August 2011 presser by ranting about Internet rumors over injuries to Crimson Tide players without being prompted by a question. Welcome back, everybody!
Saban’s track record includes leaving LSU, where he won a national championship, for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, then leaving the Dolphins abruptly to take the Alabama job – making him an enemy with both fanbases. To make matters worse, Saban wasn’t exactly forthcoming about about his planned departure from South Florida.
“I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban told the media in 2006. He was named Crimson Tide coach in January 2007.
2. Bobby Petrino (Arkansas)
Petrino hasn’t come off as one of the most-trustworthy guys in the coaching world, to say the least. He was involved in the infamous “Jetgate,” in which the then-Auburn president, trustees and the athletics director flew to talk to Petrino about replacing Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville – Petrino’s former boss, who hadn’t been fired – while Petrino was the head coach at Louisville.
He didn’t help that reputation during his short NFL stint, in which he left the Atlanta Falcons with three games remaining in the 2007 season to take over for Houston Nutt at Arkansas. Said his former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer later: “He’s a gutless b******. Quote that. I don’t give a s***.”
Oh, and then there was the incident last year in which Petrino became agitated with a woman working for Hog Sports Radio for wearing a Florida Gators hat during a presser, for which she was ultimately fired. Whether Petrino was responsible for her ouster is anyone’s guess, but in the court of public opinion, he was naturally found guilty.
1. Lane Kiffin (USC)
It was an easy decision to slot Kiffin as the most-despised coach in the land. Who likes this guy besides his father, who has followed him around the country as an assistant? It’s certainly not Tennessee fans, who rioted after the news broke that the head coach was bolting Knoxville for USC after just one season. And that’s the most-tame reaction to his departure. UT fans burned stuff, and Kiffin has inspired a firing range to create a “Shoot a Lane Kiffin Bobblehead” promotion. It was thankfully cancelled.
But his departure wasn’t his only downfall. Kiffin was accused of minor NCAA violations while at Tennessee, then accused former Florida coach Urban Meyer of breaking rules himself. Yeah, that didn’t go over well.
How has he tried to smooth things over with the Vols? Well, he tried to schedule Tennessee as USC’s head coach, and even nabbed an assistant off ex-Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher’s staff, reportedly without discussing it with Fisher first. Oh yeah, Fisher is a USC alum.
And yet, Kiffin was still able to nab blonde bombshell Layla as his wife. Naturally, fans hate him for that too.
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