The Coach Haters Ball

With the news coming down today that Urban Meyer has decided to take his talents to early retirement, I find my world shaken to its very core.  Here was a coach who I have hated for sooooooo long and now he is gone from my life, leaving me with a huge ball of irrational hatred that must be hurled somewhere.  But where?  

This makes the second year in a row that I have lost a coach who I derived so much joy from hating intensely.  When Notre Dame told Charlie Weis to get his decided schematic advantage the hell outta South Bend, it left a giant hole in my dark coach hating soul that I was still trying to fill all through this year.  College football just isn't the same without Weis.

Urban and I go way back.  Remember in 2004 when he led the Utes to an undefeated season and BCS bowl?  You can bet the traditionalist in me didn't like that one bit.  "Get the riff-raff out of here," I said as the Utes walked all over the hapless Panthers in the Fiesta bowl.  A few years later I had to listen to Urban Meyer complain about the system when it looked like the Wolverines might get a rematch against the Buckeyes in the BCS championship game. Then followed years of success for the Gators, the cult of Tim Tebow, and all that pro-SEC rhetoric.  It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

So what if the man was a helluva coach (two championships, a record of 103-23 (.817, a bowl record of 6-1 (.857))--and just maybe he was right about the 2006 championship game--pure hatred overlooks your pithy facts and logic and gets to the deeper issues.  Look at that smirk on his face, don't you just want to punch it off?  Those recruiting classes make me so angry, why doesn't he share all that talent?  If I hear one more thing about how fast the SEC is I am going to explode!

Today I feel like I am lost in the wilderness on a cloudy night.  The stars that I usually depend on to guide me on my hate fueled journey through the season are gone and I am cold and lonely.  Time to forge ahead.  Certainly there are worthy coaches still left to hate.  Men who, by their talent at building programs, their annoying press conferece remarks, or the stupid looks on their faces are worthy of my scorn and contempt.  

But who shall I choose?

Let's look at some of the candidates.

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Jim Tressel - Alright, this one is a little too easy.  Sure, he is the coach of Ohio State--which guarantees him at least a spot in the top three--but is he really worthy of my deepest and most fervent hate?  The string of success against Michigan would certainly suggest so, as the last time I saw a victory over that team from Ohio I was just a freshman at our fine alma mater.  The damage he has done to the conference's reputation certainly grinds my gears as well.  Two chances to make the Big Ten look good on the national stage and he blows them, and worse yet, to SEC teams (one coached by Urban Meyer. hatehatehatehatehate.)

The problem is that Tressel lacks that devious nature that makes someone like Urban Meyer so easy to hate.  Urban has made a living of laying waste to the SEC and rarely disappointing.  Tressel?  The man is the coaching equivalent of a monkey pulling a lever in a factory.  Pour pure talent from the fourth richest talent base in the nation into a machine with one of the largest football budgets in the country, pull the lever, and out comes a ten win season and a new years day bowl.  Sure, Tressel usually squanders all of those advantages in one or two games a year (Purdue '09, USC '08, LSU '07, Florida '06) but even a monkey is going to get bored with his lever pulling responsibilites every once and a while and smear crap on the machine when he should be popping out another win against top flight competition or a Big Ten bottom dweller.

Outside of the fact that he coaches at Ohio State, Tressel's biggest offense might be trying to make the sweater vest an acceptable part of men's fashion again (was it ever acceptable in the first place?).  Sorry Jim, I may be obligated by a blood oath to my school to hate you, but you just aren't evil enough for the top spot.  Talk to me if your streak against us hits 10 games--excuse me while I knock on every wooden surface in my apartment.

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(Photo courtesy of Mgofootball.  Awesome.)

Mark Dantonio - Ah, the hate is strong for this one, and it is growing by the day.  Nothing like a losing streak against a formerly innocuous rival to set your hate ray to kill.  It isn't hard to see why Dantonio makes such a good object of our hatred.  He might be the most boring person on the planet earth.  Say what you want about Rodriguez's demeanor, but I'll take that "aw, shucks" attitude with a few bad jokes and maybe an embarrassing emotional moment over this curmudgeon any day.  Add in the fact that his utter lack of emotion (soul?) has somehow brainwashed the media into believing he is a pillar of morality in the college football world despite running just as loose a program as basically every other Big Ten coach, and it is easy to despise the man and everything he stands for.  Someone needs to put some beat reporters in East Lansing who won't crack under his icy glare.  And don't get  me started on the sudden ubiquity of those damn names he came up with for his special teams fakes.  I have watched Little Giants, and you sir are no Rick Moranis.

Problem with all this is that while Dantonio is so, so, so easy to hate, he still hasn't done enough.  One Big Ten championship with an advantageous schedule?  No bowl wins?  Short jokes?  All valid points, but until Dantonio proves he can hang with a fully functioning Michigan team, and consistently challenge the upper tier of the Big Ten, he is just another Big Ten coach with an attitude problem.

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Joe Paterno - Eh, maybe like thirty years ago, but now?  As much as I'd love to hate the old guy I really can't bring myself to do it.  It sucks losing to Penn State, but we have tormented the poor man for most of his time in the Big Ten (we'll always have 2005, Joe).  He may be the figurehead of one of our bigger rivals, and the most successful coach of the last 50 years (every one of them), but I'm content to let the man coast his final years out and create drama within the program as to who will take over when either he, or God, decides it is time for retirement.

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Ron Zook - How could you hate that smile?  That big, extreme sports loving, teacup riding, ball of game mismanagement and ineptitude.  Zook brings nothing but joy to Big Ten fans*, and I will not sit here and listen to you sully his name and mediocre coaching record.  Good day, sir.

*(only applicable in years that Juice Williams isn't transformed into a Heisman hunting 50 foot tall robot hell bent on destroying Michigan's defense).

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Bret Bielema - Considering Bret took it relatively easy on the Wolverines this year it is hard to drum up as much hate as say, a team that got 70 points hung on them like Northwestern or Austin Peay--Indiana's football team is incapable of hating Bielema to the extent they probably should because of the PTSD flashbacks that strike at any mention of the Badgers.  Although looking at the above picture I certainly find it a little easier to hate the man.  

Ultimately, while I feel like I should hate Bielema, I just can't drum up that feeling of disgust and bitterness that are really necessary for him to be the focus of my undying hatred.  I mean, his Badgers did dominate Ohio State on national television and give Michigan State fans a dead horse to beat over their Rose Bowl snub.  We'll talk in two years Bret.  If you're still pwning teams Austin Peay-style the next time we meet, that smirk will become a thousand times more grating, that I can assure you.

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Brian Kelly - Imagine this:  You really really hate broccoli, and yet you get served broccoli at dinner for five years straight because your wife thinks greens are important to your diet.  Then one day she gets tired of broccoli because it isn't delivering on the lofty promises of a "decided nutritional advantage" that she had in mind when she bought it, so she begins to serve you peas instead.  You may not like peas that much at first, and god knows after four years of them you'll hate them with a burning passion, but in the beginning you just can't feel too strongly either way.  In four years--if he makes it that long--I can assure you that I will hate Brian Kelly with nearly as much passion as I hated Charlie Weis (nearly), but right now I'm still adjusting to life without broccoli. 

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Nick Satan Saban - It isn't too hard to find something to hate about Nick Saban.  Maybe he walked out on your team?  Maybe he stole one of your recruits?  Maybe that recruit was turned away because Saban over-signed?  Maybe the recruit did make it on campus for a couple years only to be told that he was too "injured" to continue playing, and instead would get to pursue his life long dream of playing in the NFL getting a general studies degree from Alabama.

Saban may be the embodiment of evil, but he is a helluva football coach, and in the end we would all think twice about selling our soul for a crystal football or two.

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"And after coaching for New England, San Diego, Houston, St. Louis, a year for the Toronto Argonauts, plus one season as a greeter at the Desert Inn, I'm happy to finally play here in the fine city of Miami."

"Minnesota."

"Whatever."

Bobby Petrino - Now I ain't sayin' he's a gold digger, but if you want to keep him around you had damn well better pay him handsomely and hope that nothing goes wrong, because the man will bolt at the first sign of adversity--ask the city of Atlanta.  If he ends up sneaking out of Arkansas before the Sugar Bowl to go coach at Florida for a year, then jumping to the NFL for another six games and leaving after losing five of them, he will make a bold statement for moving to the head of the list, but right now the trail of bitter fan bases isn't quite long enough.

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Bob Stoops - You can hate him all you want during the regular season, but you are just going to feel kind of guilty about it when he blows his sure thing bowl game to some team that is supposed to be just happy to be there.

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Bo Pelini - You hate the man?  Tell him to his face.  Bo only has two setting, "seriously pissed off" and "KILL."  Just ask Taylor Martinez.

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Any Coach from the Big East - Now that is just cruel.  You don't kick a conference when it is down.

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Rich Rodriguez - No list of hated coaches would be complete without our own embattled field general.  If you took a poll today of all Michigan fans and another of all non-Michigan fans on whether they liked Rich Rodriguez, the question isn't which group would despise him more, but how much more hatred does his own fan base hold toward him than everyone else.

--

Now all of that discussion was well and good, but if I want to find a truly despicable coach upon which to heap my piles and piles of unhealthy rage, I feel like I need to aim a little bit higher.

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(If he isn't frowning during a press conference, he is probably plotting to have you killed.)

No, not that high.

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Thats the ticket!

If there is one thing that brings college football fans together, it is the understanding that Lane Kiffin is the worst person in the world.

Think about it, he is everything you hate.  How did he break into coaching?  His dad got him a job.  What happened while he was still the coach at USC?  An agent scandal that brought about program crippling sanctions.  Now I'm not blaming this all on Kiffin, but it feels good to strongly infer that it is his fault, doesn't it?  What happened when Kiffin got his own head coaching gig for the Raiders?  He got paid exorbitant amounts of money and failed so miserably that he got fired less than two years into his contract.  After being out of work less than three months what happens?  Tennessee offers him more money to coach there, which he quickly turns into a losing record and recruiting violations before bailing on the Vols to return to USC and take over for Pete Carrol.  On top of all of that, this is his wife:

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(That is a bunch of bullshit)

Lane Kiffin is the rich, spoiled kid who went to high school with you, was a terrible person, walked all over everyone, never worked hard a day in his life, but still got everything he wanted because his family had money and a big house.

--

Urban, I will fondly miss the days when I used to hurl curse words at the TV when the camera would cut to you during a Florida game.  I'll miss judging you for the way you treated the media, and the pithy little feuds you would get in with other coaches (Except Kiffin.  That asshole deserved it.  You know what I'm talkin' 'bout).  However, thanks to Monte Kiffin, nepotism, and Pete Carrol's good sense to run like hell before the NCAA dropped the hammer on USC, I finally feel like I have a suitable outlet for my unbridled and completely irrational coach-hate.

Don't worry Tressel, you'll always be number two in my book.

 

(This piece is obviously a joke, and while I enjoyed hating Meyer for so long, I certainly can't begrudge him for wanting to spend time with his family.  He was a good coach and a formidable adversary, and the sidelines won't be the same without him.)

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