OK folks, here is a topic filled with well qualified individuals. I mean, who can forget Fred Akers? Or Smokey Joe Salem? Or John Gutekunst. Bobby Williams, Muddy Waters. But the winner in this book is one Lou Tepper. Illinois head coach in the early to mid 1990's. Took a pretty good program built by Jon Mackovic and ran it into the ground.
Worst Big Ten Coach Ever
John L Smith. Multiple WTF?!?s every week.
In the face at a post game presser. How can you top that?
John L was bad, but didnt last long. If someone is bad longer, doesnt that count?
He really kind of personifies all that is ineptitude in a college head coach. Kind of reminds me of all of the worst qualities of the last few Lions coaches and Matt Millen rolled in one.
He was the master of falling apart to finish both games and seasons.
On the bright side, he was coach for the flag-planting incident after beating Notre Dame.
Not only where his halftime and post game presser rants classic but what he did to get to the Big 10 was just cruel. I live in Louisville (Blueisville!) and he was coaching the Cardinals and he broke the news to the players at halftime of their bowl game. The players came out the second half and had this look on their faces like somebody just told them they all lost their scholarships. Everybody in this town wanted his head. Of course I always have Michigan stickers and flags on my truck and I was even catching grief for it!
WE SHOULDA BEEN IN THE BALLGAME WITH THAT FIELD GOAL. THE KIDS ARE PLAYING THEIR HEARTS OUT, AND THE COACHES ARE SCREWIN' IT UP!
Woody Hayes punched an opposing player in the throat during a game. Or do you mean worst as in worst at coaching?
A separate category. Will name it the Woody Hayes Award. And it retired with Hayes.
No man left wreckage behind more than Lou.
Lou always left town before the NCAA posse caught up to him.
Trainwrecked Akron, Minnesota, ND (after picking up an MNC) and South Carolina.
Each of those programs had major NCAA sanctions and/or self-sanctioned within 2-3 years of Holtz leaving town.
He was never at Akron.
He brought down Akron without ever even coaching there.
Faust coached Akron after the Notre Dame fiasco.
My fault. Conflated Holtz and Faust. Arkansas is what I meant to write.
Cooper wasn't bad. His predecessor, Bruce, was a lousy recruiter and left an empty cupboard, but Cooper gradually upgraded it until he had OSU performing at an extremely high level from 1995-98. He just had a hard time beating us for whatever reason.
I never really understood why people say Earle Bruce was such a "bad" coach. Granted, I don't know much about his recruiting while he was there, but he had 9+ wins every year except one, and beat Michigan fairly often. Wasn't it really just the letdown from the Hayes years?
He wasn't necessarily a bad coach, but a poor recruiter. OSU's talent level went down under his watch, and Cooper didn't inherit much to work with.
Yes. His recruiting got progressively worse until he hit that 6 win season that got him fired. Cooper only won 4 games in his first season and it took 3 years after that to get OSU to conference contender level again.
Good call. Plus, I heard Lee Corso is a penis.
Er, how do you embed...
I really don't feel comfortable answering that question, especially on MGo. Might be something for Papa Stunna to explain.
[But to answer your question, click the link, and there should be a box to the right of the video with an embed link. Also refer to this post.]
I have no problem with discussions about embedding penises,
but NOT when they involve Lee Corso!
Not cool to make fun of the differently abled.
It is hard to coach wearing a huge mascot head.
I'm going to +1 you even though I have to clean the coffee off my keyboard.
I can agree with that, especially in recent times. He was terribad when the program quite wasnt. John Cooper still won, just not against us (so maybe hes the best!)
Corso - who knows. he didnt do well, but when you're handed poop and asked to make into steak, tough gig.
deserves to be in this conversation...but then he was cleaning up Fred Akers' mess. Won just 11 Big Ten games in 6 seasons only two vs a team with a winning record (Michigan in 1996, ironic, Illinois in 94)
But I always thought is in game decision making was horrendous.
Muddy definitely gets a nod in his general direction. But he inherited MSU's post probation years, back when probation actually hurt a program.
..because I have decided to count his performance as Lions OC as part of his criteria.
I will still never figure out how being a terrible Big Ten coach qualifies one to be an OC in the NFL. Colletto was the worst OC in the history of the NFL. AFAIC, it applies retroactively to his performance at Purdue.
Check out Frank Lauturbur, who coached Iowa in the 1970's. Woah.
preceded Barry Alvarez, went 3-8, 1-10, 2-9 going 1-7 in all 3 Big 10 campaigns.
His 6 wins at Madison included Hawaii, Ball State, the worst OSU team of the last 50 years, Minnesota (2-7-2), Toledo and 0-11 Northwestern
and this little gem........"Nearing the end of his failed stint at Wisconsin, Morton, on his coaches' show, infamously emerged out of a coffin to declare that he wasn't dead yet."
This is not to imply that Morton was a good coach, but he went into a bad situation. Dave McClain, who'd had some minor success in the eighties, died suddenly of a heart attack before the 1986 season. Wisconsin had to use Jim Hilles as interim coach, but after he finished 3-9 they let him go and hired Don Morton instead. That amounts to three head coaches in as many years, and between attrition and the damage to recruiting he didn't have any talent to work with. Between that and the fact that he wasn't much of a recruiter doomed him from the start.
In my opinion, the worst coach in Big Ten history would have to be somebody who started with a program in reasonably good shape and proceeded to tank it.
By the way, Morton beat the second worst Ohio State in the last 50 years--they finished 6-4-1 in Bruce's last year (1987), losing 26-24 to Wisconsin. The next year Ohio State finished 4-6-1 but beat Wisconsin.
for Jim Wacker.
Geezo beezo he was pretty LOLbad. Actually, Gutekunst might have been worse.
RIP Coach Wacky.
His 16-39 record (.291) isn't nearly as bad as some of the northwestern coaches
It could quite possibly be Bielama. We'll find out soon enough, but he's running that program into the ground quite nicely.
I want to believe that victory last year meant something.
I don't think he's anything special, but I don't see him doing much worse than Alvarez. UW has actually gone through a bunch of highs and lows since their breakthrough in '93. They've never had staying power.
he took wisconsin to the Rose bowl. how is that bad
'I don't see him doing any worse then Alvarez' - Wow. I don't think that poster understands that Alavarez won 3 Rose Bowls - I believe Woody Hayes is the only other coach who can say that. I know Alvarez is the only big ten coach to win back to back Rose Bowls. At this point, I see Beilma (sp?) doing a lot worse then that.
I know Alvarez's history. In no way am I suggesting he was a bad coach. What I am suggesting is that Bielema is essentially continuing the rate of success Alvarez had. Here's his season-by-season record, with conference standing in parentheses:
1990 - 1-10 (10th)
1991 - 5-6 (8th)
1992 - 5-6 (6th)
1993 - 10-1-1 (T-1st B10)
1994 - 7-4-1 (4th)
1995 - 4-5-2 (7th)
1996 - 8-5 (7th)
1997 - 8-5 (7th)
1998 - 11-1 (T-1st)
1999 - 10-2 (1st)
2000 - 9-4 (5th)
2001 - 5-7 (8th)
2002 - 8-6 (8th)
2003 - 7-6 (7th)
2004 - 9-3 (3rd)
2005 - 10-3 (3rd)
And here's Bielema's record:
2006 - 12-1 (3rd)
2007 - 9-4 (4th)
2008 - 8-5 (6th)
2009 - 3-0
I fail to see how this is profoundly different from what Alvarez was doing. As you can see, Wisconsin had plenty of highs and lows under Alvarez: three conference titles, but also nine second-division finishes in conference play. Over the past two decades, Wisconsin's been a program that has generally been middle-of-the-pack, with the occasional temporary rise into the conference elite. Bielema to date has maintained that level.
It isn't bad. What Bielema's done isn't bad, either.
John L. Smith gets my vote. The blowup at halftime of the OSU game is a thing of legend.
He got Indiana to a bowl game, after all. He was a snake oil salesman then and now, but he found ways to winning seasons at IU ...
Purdue's Jim Colletto, there was a crappy coach. MSU coaches Bobby Williams & JL Smith. How about Ron Turner at Illinois? In eight years he had two winless seasons, 6 losing seasons, and incredibly one 10-2 season with a trip to the Sugar Bowl. The Zooker may go down as the worst, given the talent he brought in and the general underachievement. Wisconsin... Don Morton, who you don't remember, went 6-25 there in three years in the late 80's. Barry Alvarez replaced him. Jim Wacker was awful at Minnesota. He only won 3 B10 games in his last three seasons.
Lots of bad coaches out there. I think the crazy ones might be the worst - it's hard to get past J.L. if that's the criterion. Doing the least with the most talent... Zook has to be in the running, along maybe with Cooper. And Bobby Williams. He had a lot of talent to waste after Saban left.
Illinois really has had a strange last 20-30 years. Tepper, Turner, Zook - they've all managed to pull one great season seemingly out of thin air, only to nosedive thereafter. Why that program can't seem to sustain anything is one of the great CFB mysteries.
Tepper took over for Mike White. Bo hated White, and with good reason: Illinois had questionable recruiting (and player retention) methods and the hint of scandal was always present. NCAA investigations were a possibility.
I remember the 1986 game. Illinois came to the Big House. Only time I EVAH remember Bo running up the score on another team. The final score was 69-13. A few friends and I commented how Bo was making a statement, "See? I can win big and do it with actual student athletes!"
In the student section, were chanting "Seventy-six! Seventy-six!" And we could have scored that many, too, but with about five minutes left in the game, Bo finally started substituting backups. The carnage ended.
Earle Bruce was the definition of mediocrity in many aspects, but he was anything but a bad coach. He managed a Big Ten title virtually every other season at Ohio State and had previously turned moribund programs like Tampa and Iowa State into bowl teams. He later laid the foundation for Colorado State's rise to mid-major glory.
Bruce also has one of the most impressive coaching trees in college football, sporting Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and Jim Tressel as proteges.
give me break bro
Don't make definitive statements on something you know little about. You will likely look foolish in the end.
And I don't think Brodie is that much older than you.
I vote for John Pont, Rick Venturi and Dennis Green for their combined 3-62-1 record at Northwestern from 1976 to 1981.
Very good list. I do remember Don Morton he led the Bronco's to the Super Bowl as a QB. Just kidding, I do vaguely remember Don Morton, I can just about hear Chris Schenkel talking about him right now.
He is the worst coach ND has ever had (including Faust and Willingham). He has an 8-9 record against the Big Ten and 5 of his 8 wins occurred in his first two years (which means they have gotten worse under his watch). If ND was in the Big Ten, they would have been a middle of the conference team during that period. And he did that with a $4 million salary, highly paid assistants, first rate facilities and blue chip recruits. Except for the academic scandal period about 50 years ago, the past four years have been about the worst run of any ND coach in history.
That's certainly Weis, but don't forget Bob Davie. He took over for Lou Holtz, (hand picked, no less) and promptly did ... Meh. Not much.
I have a soft spot in my heart for him because he used to coach here, but Cam Cameron was a bust at IU. They had been a sometime bowl team under Mallory, but fell apart, and then flatlined under Cam (despite having an awesome QB in Antwaan Randle-El).
Bobby Williams let the narcotic era get out of hand at MSU. Smoke green, snort white.
The worst Big Ten coach ever was easily Frances Peay. His teams would regularly lose by 60 points and more. He was a terrible recruiter, a horrible coach, and a bad representative for Northwestern. Look at their record during the time he was there.
I second (or third?) Bobby Williams and John L. Smith. Time will tell if Dantonio follows suit.
To maybe expound upon this topic, if we're talking about basketball...sad to say it, but Brian Ellerbe.
Ellerbe had absolutely no business getting the job. It was quite possibly the worst hire of all-time. He posted a losing record at tiny Loyola (Md.) and was canned, and hired as a 3rd assistant by Steve Fisher. Then after Fisher was fired, Goss made the inexplicable decision to hand the reins over the Ellerbe, stunning the players and other two assistants. Ellerbe proceeded to perform as poorly here as he did at Loyola.
Dantonio because he could not pick a quarterback, and ultimately fingered his Cousin.