AP, Staff/The Dallas Morning News L to R: Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Texas’ Tom Herman; photos by staff/Jae S. Lee and Louis DeLuca, Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on June 25, 2017. As college football season approaches, we’re bringing it back.
SportsDay’s offseason Best in Texas rankings are back! Our college bloggers took a shot at ranking the 12 FBS college coaches in the state and there was a pretty clear winner: TCU’s Gary Patterson.
In fact, Patterson is back as a repeat champ with new Texas hire Tom Herman coming in second as A&M’s Kevin Sumlin steals a few ballots. Patterson brought home every single first-place vote.
A recap of the voting process: On their ballots, writers cast one vote per team ranking them from best to worst. The top team in their individual polls receives 12 points, the second team receives 11 points, the third gets 10 points, etc. This year’s voters: Kacey Bowen, Adam Grosbard, EJ Holland, Carter Karels, Ezra Siegel, Brandon Soliz, Brett Vito and Brady Vardeman.
Here’s how the state’s coaches stack up, from new Baylor hire Matt Rhule and Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, to local stars on the rise Chad Morris and Seth Littrell. Click here or scroll down to the bottom to vote yourself!
Gary Patterson is a head coach that embodies college football. He understands not only the game that needs to be played, but his players. He gives 110 percent on and off the field in order to ensure that each player and fan will get the best out of each season. Since taking over in 2000 as a head coach for TCU, he has only seen three losing seasons. He is the Frogs’ all-time winningest coach and has led TCU to six conference championships, in three different leagues. Patterson’s winning percentage (.734) ranks fifth among active coaches nationally and puts him as one of just three active coaches with at least 149 victories at their current school. -Kacey Bowen
2) Texas’ Tom Herman, 87 points
Tom Herman brings an accomplished resume to Austin. The new Longhorns head coach exploded onto the spotlight while compiling a 22-4 record in two years at Houston. -Ezra Siegel
3) Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, 79 points
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M – There is a wide gap between Kevin Sumlin and Gary Patterson, and a few coaches are ranked below him because they haven’t proven themselves. On the other hand, Sumlin’s been given plenty of opportunities to cement himself as a quality head coach. But instead, all he’s produced is mediocrity and underachievement. -Carter Karels
4) Baylor’s Matt Rhule, 70 points
Matt Rhule has developed a well-deserved reputation for his player development skills. Now he’ll need to prove he can translate them to the Big 12. -Adam Grosbard
5) Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, 63 points
Kliff Kingsbury has not fallen short in proving his offense will be dominant on a consistent basis. His defense still needs work, and this year could see a boost with Kingsbury being more involved with defensive coordinator David Gibbs on that side of the ball. New faces in some Texas schools leave Kingsbury in a good spot around the state with those coaches still very young in their careers at their respected schools. Kingsbury will have another QB to mold into a pro after developing two pro-drafted players this year in top-10 pick Patrick Mahomes and third-rounder Davis Webb. -Brandon Soliz
6) SMU’s Chad Morris, 55 points
Chad Morris hasn’t quite turned the SMU program just yet, but he’s on the verge. And Texas A&M appears to be taking a strong interest. -EJ Holland
7) Houston’s Major Applewhite, 43 points
After his unceremonious departure from Texas, Major Applewhite somehow landed a head coaching job three years later. He might move up this list in 2017, but he remains unproven for now. -Brady Vardeman
8) UTSA’s Frank Wilson, 40 points
Wilson’s first year at UTSA was a success in 2016. He led the Roadrunners to six wins and the school’s first-ever bowl appearance … a berth several bigger-named Texas schools didn’t enjoy. Wilson had previously served as LSU’s running backs coach before joining San Antonio in January 2016. -Jori Epstein
9) Rice’s David Bailiff, 31 points
Rice struggled in 2016, going 3-9 for the team’s third straight year of a declining record. Coach Bailiff was with Rice in its 10- and eight-win seasons, so presumably he built up somewhat of a leash. But three wins won’t cut it in most programs, so the Owls will look to turn things around this year. -Jori Epstein
10) UNT’s Seth Littrell, 31 points
North Texas coach Seth Littrell enjoyed a tremendous debut season, leading the Mean Green to a berth in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Mean Green lost to Army 38-31 in overtime in just their second bowl appearance since 2004 and finished 5-8. UNT made tremendous strides after a 1-11 season in 2015. -Brett Vito
11) UTEP’s Sean Kugler, 20 points
Sean Kugler enters his fifth year as UTEP head football coach, coming from the Steelers after 2012 though Kugler played for UTEP himself. The Miners have struggled to string together wins in recent years, but still produce NFL-ready players including running back Aaron Jones, whom the Packers drafted in the fifth round this year. -Jori Epstein
12) Texas State’s Everett Withers, 9 points
Texas State’s coming off two- and three-win seasons but Withers just arrived in 2016, so give him time. He comes from James Madison, where the Dukes went 18-7 in his two seasons including a school-record 14-game winning streak in the regular season. Withers spent time as an assistant with everyone from the NFL’s Titans and Saints to colleges including Texas, Louisville and Ohio State. How will he fare in Year 2 with Texas State? -Jori Epstein
Coaches Points Gary Patterson (8) 96 Tom Herman 87 Kevin Sumlin 79 Matt Rhule 70 Kliff Kingsbury 63 Chad Morris 55 Major Applewhite 43 Frank Wilson 40 David Bailiff 31 Seth Littrell 31 Sean Kugler 20 Everett Withers 9