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Best Coaches of the Pac-12 Era

WoolleyDoogWoolleyDoog Member, Swaye's Wigwam Posts: 2,890 Swaye's Wigwam

Ranking coaches of the Pac-12 era 2011-2023 is super interesting because it could go so many ways and the obvious top 3 guys all bottomed out on their way out.

  1. David Shaw Stanford - Three conference championships, four NY6 bowls 96-54 record. Incredible run taking over for Harbaugh 2011-2017. There's no ignoring how poorly his career finished, but that doesn't mean he wasn't the conference's best when Stanford was at their best.
  2. Chip Kelly Oregon/UCLA - Almost feels like you have to separate Oregon Chip and UCLA Chip and he's easy number one if you just take Oregon in 2011 and 2012, which were two of the best teams in recent Pac-12 history.
  3. Chris Petersen Washington - Three straight NY6 bowls and two Pac-12 championships. He started slow and had an unimpressive final season. Argument could be made he didn't bottom out as bad as Shaw or Kelly and could be ahead of them.
  4. Kyle Whittingham Utah - You could also make an argument he is number one because of consistency and two Pac-12 championships. He's never gotten that huge win though and was super average and below average for their first years in the conference.
  5. Kalen DeBoer Washington - 25-3 one of only two coaches to get a CFP win.
  6. Mike Leach Washington State - He never won the conference or even the division but the level he won at WSU is impressive, especially considering how bad they were for almost a decade when he took over.
  7. Mario Cristobal Oregon - Won the conference and a Rose Bowl. I'm not counting the covid year. Consistent winner. Would have been interesting to see how things would have gone had he stayed.
  8. Jim Mora UCLA - Had momentum and brought two 10 win seasons to UCLA, which is a rarity for that program post 80s. Seems like he ran out of gas though and never really broke through.
  9. Jonathan Smith Oregon State - I never thought he was the genius he was made out to be the past few years. I forgot just how bad Oregon State was when he took over though. Definitely a good coach.
  10. Dan Lanning Oregon - Can't argue with his overall record in two seasons and his ability to avoid losing to average teams in his first two years as a head coach. Lacks signature wins though. Sucks for him Washington didn't hire Matt Campbell or Justin Wilcox.

Honorable Mention

Mike Riley Oregon State, Jedd Fisch Arizona, Rich Rodriguez Arizona

Don't really know what to do with Mark Helfrich and Clay Helton. Both put together some great seasons yet you can't consider them good coaches.


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