College Football's 10 Worst Head Coaches for 2013

Head coach Norm Chow, Hawaii - Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

For the second year in a row the editors at Athlon Sports have put the same two Mountain West coaches in the bottom ten of all 125 FBS football coaches in the nation. Is it fair that one of them is Hawaii's Norm Chow?

In a recent article I wrote about the Athlon rankings of the Mountain West Conference’s college football coaches for 2013. Now might be a good time to follow up with a few lines about the worst head coaches in college football according to that same source. Ranking the coaches in any college football conference is a difficult task, but Athlon Sports in their 2013 coach rankings of all FBS college football head coaches leaves a lot to be desired. Especially troubling is the placement of at least one of those at the bottom of the list.

College Football's 10 Worst Head Coaches for 2013:

1. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan (#116)

2. Bobby Hauck, UNLV (#117)

3. Paul Haynes, Kent State(#118)

4. Carl Pelini, FAU (#119)

5. Sean Kugler, UTEP (#120)

6. Doug Martin, New Mexico State (#121)

7. Charley Molnar, UMass. (#122)

8. Paul Petrino, Idaho (#123)

9. Norm Chow, Hawaii (#124)

10. Ron Turner, FIU (#125)

Bobby Hauck had a good career at Montana racking up an 80-17 record over seven seasons with the Grizzlies. But he has not fared so well at UNLV. A three year record of 6-32 with the Rebels gives him a deserved a ranking near the bottom this year.

But the same can't be said of Norm Chow at Hawaii. Chow has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator for Utah, UCLA, USC, NC State, BYU, and the NFL's Tennessee Titans. He also has a list of awards too long to mention here. With only one year under his belt as the Rainbow Warrior’s head coach he deserves a much higher ranking on a list that seems careful to place just a single BCS team in the bottom 10 and only three in the bottom 45.

Evidently the same rating criteria used to rank all the college coaches was not applied to Chow's program. Those factors included such defining points as how much an assistant coach is paid and how a coach’s facilities compare to the rest of the conference they are in. Yet Hawaii pays its assistant coaches on par with most other programs and their facilities are up to the same standards as the rest of the programs in the Mountain West Conference.

“Chow has an extensive career as an assistant, but his first head-coaching gig came at the ripe age of 65,” writer Steven Lassan states. “As evidenced by his 3-9 mark in his first season, there’s a reason why Chow had to wait so long to be a head coach.”

In the same article, however, Lassen said that a coach's record is not always indicative of where a coach should rank nationally. Yet that standard somehow applies to Chow. Placing Chow at the bottom of the list smacks of hypocrisy and nepotism.

Hauck and Chow both made last year’s list of College Football's 10 Worst Head Coaches as well, even though Chow had not even coached his first college game as a head coach. Mike Leach of Washington State also had that same 3-9 record as Chow last season and overall is 87-52 since 2000. Yet Leach gets a positive #31 ranking. Randy Edsall, Maryland, is another example with a 4-8 record last year and 6-18 from 2011-present, but Edsall weighs in on the list at #51.

Many of us can find fault with a formula that it skewers the rankings in favor of the larger programs and richer conferences. But while coaches like Hauck and Chow might not have much control over the money and athletic budgets in their schools, they can do something about winning games and getting their programs out of the FBS cellar. And unless he improves, Chow might deserve a bottom ranking at the end of next season. For now, however, Chow at least deserves the benefit of the doubt in the rankings.

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