What Are The Chances Sarkisian Turns out Great?

Sarkisian What are the chances that head coach Steve Sarkisian will turn out to be one of the great coaches of the Pac-10? What about the next Don James? If we blindly work out the numbers this is what we get. From the 1993 football season (the first without the Dawgfather) through the 2008 season the Pac-10 conference has seen 35 head football coaches. Of these 35, how many turned out to be great? I define a great coach as one that can typically sustain a ~9-3 record at Washington or who gets the most out of his players. One that would always be in the hunt for the Pac-10 championship and almost always takes their team to bowl games. I would argue that we have seen five great coaches since Don James resigned in 1993:

  1. Pete Carroll (USC)
  2. Mike Bellotti  (OR)
  3. Jeff Tedford (CAL)
  4. Mike Riley (OSU)
  5. Terry Donahue (UCLA)

To a lesser extent we have seen 7 more good coaches. I see a good coach as more of a ~7-5ish coach who generally makes it to bowl games and may occasionally win the Pac-10:

  1. Rick Neuheisel (UW)
  2. Dennis Erickson (OSU)
  3. Tyrone Willingham (Stanford)
  4. Mike Price (WSU)
  5. Bill Snyder (ASU)
  6. Bob Toledo (UCLA)
  7. Jim Lambright (UW)

Each coach had great success as well as some failures.

That makes 5 out of 35 great coaches (14%) and 7 out of 35 good ones (20%). I lumped the rest of the coaches in the other category because anything less than good will get you fired at Washington.

Great coach 14%
Good coach 20%
Other 66%

So I predict the chances of Sarkisian becoming a great coach over the next 10 years is 1 in 7. For this to happen I would need to see a winning record against all the northwest schools and to always be competitive against USC. I would like to see a few Rose Bowls and top 10 finishes. And I would almost always expect a top 25 finish and a bowl game.

While I will be 100% behind Washington’s new coach, I have to be realistic. If history is any predictor of the future we will more than likely have mediocre success under Sarkisian. Maybe a bowl game here and there and generally a record around .500. Certainly far from the expected return to national prominence. But we can still dream, can’t we?


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