College Football’s Top 10 Worst Coaching Tempers
Coaches stalk the sideline, yell at players and get in officials’ faces as a matter of practice. But some guys take it to another level. Which FBS coaches have the worst tempers? We examine.
10. Bobby Petrino (Arkansas)
There are two things that get Bobby Petrino heated: Perceived incompetence from officials and diva cornerbacks who he can’t harness. After a 2009 loss at Florida, Petrino singled out two calls that he thought were sketchy. And here’s the real sign of an angry coach: He didn’t cool down after a night’s sleep. The next day, he expanded on those thoughts, capping off one comment by saying, “Unfortunately, they don’t call it that way at Florida.”
A little snippy, but not as combustible as his relationship with cornerback D’Angelo Hall while Petrino coached the Falcons. Then there was Petrino’s highly public sideline screaming match with Hall in 2007. Hall described Petrino like this: “I hate him as an NFL coach, but I think he is a good college coach.” Gee, thanks?
9. George O’Leary (UCF)
UCF’s coach has such a temper that he actually got mad at a media member for being right. As Mike Gundy said - and we’ll visit him later in the list - get your facts straight! Actually, Bright House Networks’ reporter Dave Baumann actually was on the mark. He reported that UCF’s starting quarterback and running back would not play in an eventual 35-3 loss to Texas in 2009. And they didn’t. O’Leary was furious and threatened to not speak with the media.
That’s nothing new. O’Leary boycotted the only paper that covers his team’s home and away games, the Orlando Sentinel, because of an unflattering portrayal of him in the tragic death of player Ereck Plancher in 2008.
O’Leary is more than a grump. He’s a guy who gets heated even when he’s wrong, and that’s the sign of classic hothead.
8. Houston Nutt (Mississippi)
This isn’t about gloom and doom, Nutt told the media during a press conference in November 2010. The Rebels were coming of an embarrassing loss at Tennessee and on their way to a 4-8 season. Nutt thought it was a good time to point out that Ole Miss, which had won consecutive bowl games the previous two seasons, had struggled before he got there.
“50! 50!” That was Nutt letting everyone know how long it had been since the Rebels won two straight January 1 games, as the coach put it. “Remember, you’re part of something that was great. It wasn’t too long ago they’re patting you on the back about, ‘Can you believe it was a half a century?’”
We get it coach, it’s been a while. But outside of Vanderbilt, no one in the SEC is going to be OK with a 4-8 season.
7. Bob Stoops (Oklahoma)
Stoops always seems pissed off and hates being asked about leaving Oklahoma, from where the successful often is rumored to be on his way out. He’s never in a particularly good mood anyway - on the sideline and in general - which is why he’s fairly high on this list. Stoops is always on the verge of a meltdown.
Former Sooners quarterback Rhett Bomar, who had a short-lived career in Norman, sparked a great sideline rampage at the end of a Holiday Bowl win in 2005. Bomar spiked the ball in celebration with 29 seconds left, earning him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Stoops was unhappy, to say the least. The video can only do it justice.
6. Nick Saban (Alabama)
Saban holds his anger in most of the time but is angry nonetheless. Watching him on the sideline, even during a national championship Gatorade bath, is like witnessing someone stand in line at the DMV. There’s just constant inner anger boiling.
But don’t get Saban wrong, he can unleash the rage too. After a season-opening win over Clemson in 2008, Saban was so upset over praise for his team that he berated the media. “It’s just one game,” he repeated sternly. Take it easy, Nick, you won! Then there was Saban lighting into the media for speculation he would leave the Miami Dolphins for the Alabama coaching job - only to do just that. But his most epic meltdown came as an NFL coach when he made fifth-round draft pick Manuel Wright cry. Now, that’s legendary.
And how about this epic line from a practice? “If I had a barometer up your a**, it would be about 50%!!!”
5. Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State)
We know what Mike Gundy will say about this list: it’s garbage, and the editor who let it come out is garbage! Gundy’s legendary rant in 2007 is the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, it’s funny to look back on but also shows an epic temper. There haven’t been many other documented instances where Gundy flew off the handle, but he deserves placement on this list for that infamous press conference alone.
Any time a temper is so fierce that it inspires catchphrases (“I’m a man, I’m 40!”) and induces applause from those on hand, well, do no more, Mike Gundy. Your boiling hot temper, at least on that one day, belongs in the hothead Hall of Fame. The thought of leaving you off this list makes us wanna puke ...
4. Will Muschamp (Florida)
Muschamp - or should we say Coach Blood? - is always causing a ruckus. That’s right, Muschamp cut himself ripping off his headset in anger and continued to coach with blood trickling down his face. Now, that’s a football coach - one with a temper who is definitely worthy of this list.
Not convinced? While at Auburn he snapped a whiteboard while drawing up a play, cut his arm and grabbed a new one while trainers attended to his injury (a new whiteboard that is, not a new arm - though that wouldn’t surprise us either). Muschamp is a spitting, flailing, bleeding, wild man on the sideline. He fits right in on this list although he still hasn’t debuted as a college head coach yet.
3. Mike Locksley (New Mexico)
While most coaches on this list take out their frustrations on the sideline, Locksley prefers to do his damage away from the field. Allegedly, at least. But where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Locksley was accused of choking and punching wide receivers coach J.B. Gerald in 2009. He’s also accused of getting into a verbal confrontation at a bar last year with a student reporter whose article Locksley did not agree with. Surveillance tapes reportedly have been destroyed of that incident.
But rumors of barroom stand-offs and fisticuffs with those who work under him? Locksley seems like a hothead of the highest order and, while we weren’t there to report the details, it’s unlikely that all of it is fabricated. On top of it, his New Mexico team is terrible. At least we know what he’s angry about.
2. Mike Stoops (Arizona)
Stoops has lifted a mediocre Arizona program and should be commended for that. However, his sideline demeanor should be admonished. And by sideline demeanor, we mean his out-of-control temper. The best example of which was last November, when the Wildcats suffered a loss to Oregon.
Stoops berated officials so harshly that his mouth had to be blurred when replays were shown. The original airing didn’t require an expert lip-reader and most likely would make a construction worker and his older brother blush. But his verbal barrage apparently wasn’t enough; he had to be held back by his players from confronting the officials physically during that same game. Stoops has the whole package - profanity, lack of civility and the threat of physical violence.
1. Bo Pelini (Nebraska)
Pelini is the Frank Martin of college football. During his time in Lincoln, he has been caught calling a player a “f****** moron” on television, almost got into a fight with a fan at the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game after a last-second loss to Texas and was seen screaming, “BCS! That’s why they make that call!,” gone ballistic on star quarterback Taylor Martinez on national TV last year against Texas A&M and finished the game by chasing the referees off the field. And practice with Pelini seems like a real joy.
If the Huskers ever look afraid to make mistakes, you know why.