POLL: Best SEC Coaching Hire in 2012

By: WholeHogSports
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Clockwise: Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Butch Jones (Tennessee), Mark Stoops (Kentucky) and Gus Malzahn (Auburn) were hired to SEC programs this off-season.
Photo by The Associated Press
Clockwise: Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Butch Jones (Tennessee), Mark Stoops (Kentucky) and Gus Malzahn (Auburn) were hired to SEC programs this off-season.

With Tennessee hiring Butch Jones on Friday, the Southeastern Conference sidelines look set for 2013.

Reader poll

Which SEC program made the best hire in 2012?

  • Arkansas, Bret Bielema 93% 2401 votes
  • Auburn, Gus Malzahn 4% 125 votes
  • Kentucky, Mark Stoops 0% 15 votes
  • Tennessee, Butch Jones 1% 32 votes

2573 total votes.

The Volunteers were one of four SEC programs to make a coaching change this off-season, along with Arkansas (Bret Bielema), Auburn (Gus Malzahn) and Kentucky (Mark Stoops). Bielema, Jones and Malzahn all have career winning percentages of .649 or greater, though Malzahn just completed his first year as a head coach at Arkansas State.

Bielema spent seven seasons at Wisconsin before taking the Arkansas job. Jones has been a head coach six seasons, spending three at each Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

Stoops, the younger brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and former Arizona coach Mike Stoops, has spent the last four seasons as a defensive coordinator at Florida State. Kentucky is his first head coaching job.

In part because of the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the league, the SEC will have nine coaches on the sidelines next year who weren't part of the league's coaching fraternity in 2011. Only Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Les Miles, Georgia's Mark Richt, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen remain from the group that season.

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