Ranking The Top NAIA Football Coaching Destinations: A Rebuttal.

Scoops on Scoops on Scoops.

Recently Doug Samuels of the FootballScoop.com wrote a ranking of the top non-FBS coaching destinations, starting with the NAIA. You can read that here.

He did a pretty decent job of running through where some of the top spots to land were if you found yourself getting a head coaching job in the NAIA. However, I considered the list to be a bit. . .predictable. Here’s my quick analysis of his top seven:

  • #7 – Southern Oregon: On the list because of recent championships. Brutal away schedule. Any coach who looks at how far you have to travel just for one away game would stay away from here.
  • #6 – Carroll College (Mont.): In 2008, hell yeah. In 2020. . .I’m not sure. Doug is probably right to have them at #6. Community support and facilities are great. . .however the funding for the Saints isn’t quite where it was 10 years ago.
  • #5 – St. Xavier (Chicago, Ill.): I love SXU. Coach Fem is phenomenal coach. But he and his staff has had to beg, borrow, beg, build and do everything he can to get the Cougars to where they are today. I get the feeling that if Feminis were to move on, it might not be a top destination.
  • #4 – Reinhardt (GA): Private school outside a big city to recruit from in the south. Predictable.
  • #3 – Southeastern (Fla): Best school in Florida. Have started to win. Predictable.
  • #2 – Morningside (Iowa): Private school, medium city, tradition. Predictable.
  • #1 – Marian (Ind.): Private school, big city, recent championships. Predictable.

To be clear. . .there’s no one on this list that I would beat my fist on a table to argue about. Or send Doug hate mail over. It’s a decent list using his own criteria. I think Marian is a great program but by my criteria, I wouldn’t put it in my Top 7. Top 8? Maybe. Top 10? Sure? Top 25? Ok, I’m just being a dipshit now.

Here’s my rebuttal. My criteria is as follows: Ability to get kids to come to your school, facilities, school support and how much money I’ve paid to that school in tuition dollars.

  • #7 – Carroll College (Mont.) – (Read above). Kinda amazing that when leadership at the school changed, so did the number of wins the football program had annually. It’s still a destination. . .but the school itself needs to decide if they want to return to glory or just say they want to return to glory.
  • #6 – Texas Wesleyan – Stick with me on this one. It’s in the DFW Metro. You can recruit a lot of talent. With the right support, this program could be elite. Facilities are a current drawback, but that’s not to say the school couldn’t rise to prominence. I think in terms of a coach wanting to build something. . .this is a perfect spot.
  • #5 – Saint Francis (Ind) – This school reveres football and what it has done to grow not just the athletic program but also the university. If the job ever opened up there would be a lot of people after this job. I would place this higher but I don’t think this job will open up to anyone without the last name “Donley” for a while. But in terms of a destination to coach at in the NAIA, it’s one of the best.
  • #4 – Southeastern (Fla.) – Predictable 😉 – Best team in Florida. The school wants to win. The issue becomes convincing the regional recruits to stay in the state or come to you over the other larger DII schools in the region.
  • #3 – Morningside (Iowa) – The school wants to win. Steve Ryan has done a GREAT job of building and maintaining the success of this program. My question is what will happen if Coach Ryan moves on or when President John Reynders retires.
  • #2 – Dana College (Neb.) – Close to Omaha, strong alumni base. This program hasn’t lost a game in over ten years. The facilities are a little rough right now but with the right guy, this program could be a monster. You just need three things for this to work: 1. A Head Coach that wants to grind. 2. Accreditation. 3. About 150 million dollars to buy the school back, upgrade the facilities and bankroll it for a few years before it can get on its feet. This is a no brainier.
  • #1 – Ottawa (Ariz.) – New program. Part of the Greater Phoenix Metro. Tons of talent in the area plus the ability to recruit California. Brand new stadium. If Mike Nesbitt ever leaves the AD Kevin Steele is going to get about 500 applications for this gig.

There you have it. I’m serious about all of those picks. . .with maybe one exception. You are hopefully smart enough to figure it out. Thanks to Doug for giving the Other Division of College Football some love.

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