Who is the best football coach in the Big 12?
Coach Bill Snyder is the undisputed dean of football coaches in the Big 12 Conference. He turned what was the worst team in college football history into a powerhouse.
That title of dean of coaches will probably shift to Gary Patterson of TCU or Mike Gundy of Oklahoma when Snyder retires (if he stays retired this time).
Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech is probably the only coach “on the hot seat” this year, although Coach David Beaty of Kansas has only two wins in his two seasons. ISU’s Matt Campbell’s job shouldn’t be in jeopardy after just one season and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen got a huge boost by going 10-3 last season.
The biggest news about the three new coaches in the Big 12 was the promotion of former OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to head coach following the shocking announcement of Bob Stoops’ retirement. The two of the new coaches in the Big 12, Tom Herman of Texas and Matt Rhule of Baylor, came from the American Athletic Conference. Herman was at Houston and Rhule was at Temple.
Herman upset OU with his Houston team last season and cost the Sooners a shot at the national playoff. The last time two new head coaches battled in the Red River Showdown was 1947.
Here is a rundown of the backgrounds of Big 12 coaches.
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Snyder, 77, was first named KSU coach on November 30, 1988 and then against on November 24, 2008. He left in 2005 for three years and came out of retirement eight seasons ago. Snyder has 202 victories – the record for a Kansas State coach. He inherited a team in 1988 that had a 27-game losing streak and had not won a game in two years. Snyder has been credited as the architect of the “greatest turnaround in college football history.”
Snyder was an assistant at USC, Austin College and North Texas State.
Gary Patterson, TCU
Patterson is TCU’s winningest coach with 149 victories (54 losses). He was hired in 1998 when TCU was still in the Mountain West Conference. TCU has won at least 10 games in 10 of the last 15 seasons.
In 2014, TCU won the Big 12 championship. Patterson received 10 national coach of the year honors that year.
Prior to TCU, Patterson was an assistant at New Mexico, Utah State, Tennessee, UC Davis, Cal Lutheran, Pittsburgh State, Sonoma State, Navy and Kansas State. He played football at Kansas State.
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Gundy, a record setting OSU quarterback, was named head coach in 2005. He had been a four-year starter for the Cowboys. He was an assistant at OSU from 1990-93 and 1995. In 1996, he was an assistant at Baylor and then coached at Maryland from 1997-2001. He came back to OSU as an assistant in 2001.
Gundy has led the Cowboys to a 44-18 record against Big 12 opposition since 2010, a mark that is second-best in the conference this decade. His 63 career wins in Big 12 games ranks fourth in the history of the conference, trailing only Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Bill Snyder.
Gundy won his 100th career game at OSU last season.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Holgorsen was hired as head coach of West Virginia after one year as offensive coordinator for Mike Gundy at OSU. Holgorsen previously was an assistant at Houston, Texas Tech, Wingate, Mississippi College and Valdosta State.
His records at West Virginia are 10-3, 7-6, 4-8, 7-6, 8-5, 10-3. WVU was 10-3 last season (7-2 in the Big 12). The 10 wins were the most by the Mountaineers since the school joined the Big 12 and the seven conference wins set a record, too. Holgorsen was named “Big 12 coach of the year” by ESPN and was a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Kingsbury was hired to coach his alma mater on December 12, 2012. He has a 24-26 overall record. In 2016, the Red Raiders led the nation in total offense, passing offense and fifth for scoring offense.
After college, Kingsbury was drafted by the New England Patriots. Kingsbury played for former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach.
Before being named head coach at Texas Tech, Kingsbury was an assistant at Texas A&M and Houston.
David Beaty, Kansas
Beaty was hired at KU on December 5, 2014. Previously, he was an assistant at Texas A&M , Kansas (2011 and 2008-9), Rice (2010 and 2006-07) and at Texas high schools (Irving MacArthur, North Dallas, Garland and Naaman Forest). In his second season, he engineered an upset of Texas – the first Jayhawk win against the Longhorns since 1937. In 2015, KU went 0-12 and in 2016, Kansas improved to 2-10 with wins over Texas and Rhode Island.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State
Campbell was hired by ISU on November 29, 2015 and his first season was in 2016 when the Cyclones were 3-9 (2-7 in the Big 12) – including an upset win over Texas Tech. Campbell had a 35-15 record at Toledo and in 2015, he upset No. 18 Arkansas, 16-12. He was an assistant at Bowling Green and Toledo before being named head coach. His records at Toledo were 1-0, 9-4, 7-5, 9-4 and 9-2.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
Two years ago, Riley was hired as OU offensive coordinator. When Coach Bob Stoops surprised the nation by announcing his retirement, OU immediately promoted Riley to head coach.
Winner of the 2015 Broyles Award (given to the nation’s best assistant coach), Riley previously was offensive coordinator for East Carolina. Before that, Riley was an assistant at his alma mater Texas Tech for seven seasons. Riley has coached two Biletnikoff winners – Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech and Dede Westbrook last season at OU.
Matt Rhule, Baylor
A Penn State graduate, Rhule was hired as head coach on December 7, 2016, after leading the Temple Owls to their first-ever back-to-back 10-win seasons. In four years as the head coach of the Owls, Rhule went 2-10, 6-6, 10-4 and 10-3.
Rhule previously was an assistant at Albright College, Buffalo, UCLA, Western Carolina, and the New York Giants in the NFL.
Tom Herman, Texas
For the past two years, Herman was head coach of the Houston Cougars. His record there was 22-4, including a 13-1 record in 2015. Herman was a graduate assistant at Texas (1999-2000).
As an assistant coach at Ohio State, Herman won the 2014 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant. Previously, he was an assistant at Iowa State for three years and then spent two years at Rice. Herman also had coaching stops at Texas State and Sam Houston State. His first assistant job was at Texas Lutheran. He played football at California Lutheran.