Whenever you hear someone talk about the unbearable egos of college football coaches it is inevitable that the conversation will finally get around to USC’s Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin is a polarizing figure. If he’s coaching your team you may love him. But very few others like him.
Kiffin isn’t alone, though.
It almost seems like a big ego is a job requirement these day.
Just look what happened at West Virginia last week. Bill Stewart, once considered the nice guy of coaching, was accused of trying to sabotage coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen. Now Stewart is unemployed and Holgorsen has taken over a season earlier than expected.
So if you are looking for the biggest egos in coaching, you’ve come to the right place.
10. June Jones, SMU
June Jones has won everywhere he has coached (let’s overlook his lackluster NFL showing for now).
Jones has turned around two non-BCS teams—Hawaii and SMU—and he believes he could work this magic anywhere.
After leading Hawaii to a 12-1 season in 2007, and a spot in the Sugar Bowl, Jones wasn’t happy with the way the administration was treating him.
So he bolted for SMU and he’s making $2 million a year.
9. Les Miles, LSU
When it comes to college fans, Les Miles is one of the more ridiculed and mocked coaches in the nation.
Still, he wins a lot of games…even if they are ugly sometimes.
Miles does an amazing job of blocking out the noise and just when everyone is counting him out he reminds everyone that he can coach (remember the big BCS Championship win over Ohio State?).
His ego is on display every time he visits with a recruit and when he walks the sidelines. Miles may be a bit unorthodox at times, but he believes in himself…even if no one else does.
8. George O’Leary, UCF
Who applies for their dream job and lies on their resume?
George O’Leary does.
Who cares, right? Notre Dame wants me so why bother to update the resume.
O’Leary found out the hard way, and when he resigned he said, “Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans.”
His ego may be in check a bit at UCF, but he’s winning so he’s feeling it again.
7. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Jimbo Fisher may be a new head coach, but if you were handed a program like Florida State you’d be arrogant also.
Fisher’s ego is still being defined but if he keeps winning 10-plus games a season it’s just going to get bigger.
Wait until he delivers FSU back to the BCS title game.
Don’t forget, but Fisher learned from one of the biggest egos in the game—Nick Saban.
6. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss
What other head coach goes out of his way to deny interest in job openings every year, even when he’s not even under consideration?
That’s right, Houston Nutt.
Both Nutt and whoever his agent is loves the attention and the ploy usually results in a pay raise for Nutt.
Despite a dismal 2010, Houston Nutt remains in the Top 10 of big-time egos. He’s not going to let one bad year bring him down.
5. Chip Kelly, Oregon
See what all of that Nike money does to a guy?
You a need a pretty big ego (or lack of self respect) to wear some of the color combinations you have to at Oregon. Even the coaches.
Chip Kelly is a lot like Rich Rodriguez. He thinks he created the spread offense and everyone else should praise him.
Kelly has done an amazing job with Oregon, but when an opponent (i.e., Boise State, Ohio State and Auburn) has time to prepare they usually keep the Ducks in check.
Kelly is doing a great job of attracting top-notch talent to Eugene. Nothing feeds a coach’s ego more than talent on the field.
4. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Steve Spurrier has the game’s longest running ego.
He was successful at Florida and last year he finally had a breakthrough season with South Carolina.
Spurrier probably forgets he even coached the Washington Redskins for two years.
The bigger question involving Spurrier is, do you think he has a bigger ego on the sidelines or golf course?
3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
When you win everywhere you coach, naturally you start to get an inflated sense of self worth.
Brian Kelly has done that and he’s coaching at one of the top college jobs (Notre Dame).
Kelly’s success at Central Michigan and Cincinnati probably gave him the leverage to even wait for a better job than Notre Dame.
But Kelly believes he can recruit the right players, even with Notre Dame’s academic restrictions, to lead the Irish to another national championship.
Anyone who believes that has to be sporting a serious ego.
2. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
After Dan Mullen interviewed for the Miami Hurricanes’ opening this winter there were those on the search committee who said “UM was turned off by Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen’s big ego, with one trustee saying he acts like he invented the game.”
There is also the “Welcome To Our State” billboards around Mississippi.
Mullen says he’s committed to Mississippi State, but his huge ego is going to cause him to look at other jobs.
Maybe he’ll become the new Houston Nutt.
1. Lane Kiffin, USC
Lane Kiffin’s claim to fame is he has the hottest wife of any college coach.
OK, he’s also found a way to land two top tier college jobs and no one seems to know why.
Just look at Kiffin in the photo. He looks like he just found a Golden Ticket.
In reality, he’s just one cocky dude.
Overall Champ: Nick Saban, Alabama
Nick Saban is a cool customer. He’s also in his own category.
This is no knock on Saban. His ego works for him like no other coach out there.
When you win like he does you are allowed to have a huge ego.
He also has two BCS titles, adoring fans and a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Saban has a Ph.D in confidence.