SEC Coaches’ Job Security in Flux

Job security is limited to just a few head coaches in college football.

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban is one of those coaches who won’t have to worry about getting the pink slip. His winning ways mean that he would have to commit a major crime to lose his job.

Job security is something few SEC coaches enjoy.

Mississippi State University head coach Dan Mullen has reached a good deal of job security for his results with the Bulldogs, as well. He has won 64 games, taken MSU to seven straight bowl games and earned a No. 1 ranking while leading the Bulldogs. At Mississippi State, that kind of winning can get a coach job security for life.

The only other coach with anything close to that kind of credit is Jim McElwain at the University of Florida, who won two straight SEC East titles with the Gators. University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, University of South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp and Vanderbilt University head coach Derek Mason are relatively safe this season, as well.

Matt Luke with the University of Mississippi might have the least job security of any coach in the SEC. The NCAA Committee on Infractions’ ruling on the Rebels might dictate what happens to Luke after this season.

University of Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is in good shape, but after middle-of-the-road results for the Wildcats, a major backslide could do him in quickly. Kentucky blowing a lead against Florida and losing for the 31st straight time won’t help Stoops cause.

Currently, the hottest seat in the SEC has to belong to Texas A&M University head coach Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies blew a huge lead against the University of California, Los Angeles to open the season, which didn’t help his case.

Police recently opened an investigation after someone sent a racist, threatening letter to Sumlin’s home following the loss. Even if a coach isn’t getting it done on the field, there is no excuse for that kind of response from supposed fans.

University of Tennessee head coach Butch Jones isn’t in high esteem after a heartbreaking loss to Florida, in which the Gators completed a game-winning Hail Mary. Jones hasn’t helped himself by losing twice to the Vanderbilt Commodores, especially after his “champions of life comment” comment last year.

If things don’t go well this season, Jones may be the champion of the unemployment line. Tennessee fans are getting tired of waiting for an SEC East title that hasn’t happened since 2007.

Gus Malzahn, head coach of Auburn University, led the Tigers to the national championship game in 2013 and hasn’t done much since that season. Malzahn is an offensive guru but hasn’t been able to get the Auburn offense rolling. He hasn’t beaten Alabama since 2013, and Tiger fans won’t abide by that record for much longer.

The University of Missouri’s football program is a dumpster fire right now. The Tigers have been outscored 117-30 in their last two games. They finished 4-8 last season in head coach Barry Odom’s first year with the team. If things don’t improve soon, Odom could be out of a job, but the question will be, “Will anyone want to take his place?”

Missouri’s last win over a team at the FBS level came against the University of Arkansas in November 2016. The Razorbacks followed that loss with another defeat, as Virginia Tech beat them 35-24 in the Belk Bowl. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema hasn’t been able to right the ship for long, either.

After a 49-7 victory over Florida A&M University in the opening game, the Razorbacks suffered a blowout loss to Texas Christian University in their only game against a Power Five foe this season. Bielema has a massive buyout but is treading water right now. The team lost to Texas A&M in overtime meaning Bielema has a hotter seat than Sumlin and could be packing up his office at the end of the 2017 season.

Last season, Louisiana State University fired former head coach Les Miles for not winning the SEC West and not beating Alabama. Miles’ teams struggled on offense, which didn’t help given today’s high-scoring offenses.

After having a devil of a time replacing him, LSU decided on Ed Orgeron as the new head coach. The offense still isn’t high powered yet, but things were rocking along until Mississippi State whipped LSU 37-7 on Saturday, Sept. 23. Miles might not have beaten Alabama or won the SEC West every year, but he took care of MSU often.

Orgeron is currently safe right now, but a few more 7-37 losses at LSU will have fans thinking the university made the wrong choice. His time at the University of Mississippi—and how badly that job ended—still has him hamstrung. Orgeron has little room for error in the next two seasons.