clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clayton Knows Handsome When He Sees It: The Miss Cleo of College Football Ranks the FBS’ 128 Handsomest Coaches

Includes 75 coaches that are handsomer than Kliff Kingsbury.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Down the Drive has asked me to apply my aesthetic sensibilities to the upcoming college football season.

But before I begin, I would again like to offer my condolences to the family of the recently and dearly departed television psychic, Youree Harris, better known as Miss Cleo. Last fall, I adopted the nickname "The Miss Cleo of College Football" when I started writing a weekly pick ‘em column for this website. I hope that my column honors her memory by serving as a source of light-hearted entertainment for college football fans, just as she provided millions of people with a light-hearted form of entertainment.

This week, I have ranked the 128 handsomest coaches in FBS college football. Every one of them is handsome in his own way. Trying to make aesthetic distinctions among them and then ranking them from the 128th handsomest to the most handsomest was a trying task.  It took me close to half an hour.  In addition to the rankings, I have included brief commentaries on what makes each one of these coaches so darn handsome.

This is familiar terrain for me, but never have I assessed the handsomeness of the collegiate coaching fraternity in such a comprehensive matter.

128. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: Bruce Hornsby handsome.

127. Doug Martin, New Mexico State: A junior varsity Larry Coker.

126. Everett Withers, Texas State: Handsome. But less handsome than 125 other FBS coaches.

125. Seth Littrell, North Texas: May have played Buford T. Justice’s son in Smokey and the Bandit.

124. Matt Viator, Louisiana-Monroe: Could be played by Bob Odenkirk in a movie.

123. Ron Caragher, San Jose StatePizza! Pizza!

122. Gary Patterson, TCU: Chip Kelly’s older brother.

121. David Shaw, Stanford: The kind of guy you’d want to do your taxes.

120. Bobby Petrino, Louisville: His dentures always look sharp.

119. Mike Norvell, Memphis: One of "the guys" but not "the guy," if you know what I mean.

118. Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio): Has all the raw animal magnetism of Commandant Mauser in the Police Academy movies.

117. Neal Brown, Troy: Can anyone prove biologically that he is not the third Miller brother? Neal Brown looks a lot like Archie and Sean.

116. Mike Bobo, Colorado State: A quintessential Little League dad.

115. Brian Polian, Nevada: A once and future Bielema.

114. Lance Leipold, Buffalo: Put Wisconsin-Whitewater on the map and also played D.B. Cooper on a 1990 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

113. John Bonamego, Central Michigan: Played Bub on My Three Sons.

112. Clay Helton, USC: Not as handsome as Todd Helton.  Is a sellout for shortening his beautiful first name to "Clay."

111. Trent Miles, Georgia State: Not nearly as handsome as Trent on Daria.

110. Sean Kugler, UTEP: Coaches the offensive line of every varsity football team in New York’s Southern Tier.

109. Jeff Monken, Army: One of those guys that is always squinting.

108. Jason Candle, Toledo:Sugar Ray-style standup hair guy.

107. Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion: Would be well suited to play the chief in the Get Smart reboot I am planning to release next summer with Jesse Plemons playing both Agents 86 and 99.

106. Terry Bowden, Akron:Will Muschamp impersonator.

105. Craig Bohl, Wyoming: Laurence Tierney was born to play Craig Bohl in a Lifetime Network TV movie.

104. Rod Carey, Northern Illinois: Finished in the Elite 8 at Tecmo Madison in 2011.

103. Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette: A more angular Scott Satterfield.

102. Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State: A less angular Mark Hudspeth.

101. Blake Anderson, Arkansas State: Splits the difference between Blake Swihart and Blake Griffin. But with Smashmouth stand-up hair.

100. Lovie Smith, Illinois: I would love to split a Rolling Rock with Lovie Smith. Bartender! Two straws, please.

99. Matt Rhule, Temple: Ja Rule look-alike.

98. Rocky Long, San Diego State: I would not want to cross this man. His eyes are Tom Cruise crazy.

97. Matt Campbell, Iowa State: Awaits his growth spurt.

96. Mike Riley, Nebraska: Just a guy.

95. Jim Mora, UCLA. Jim Mora, Sr. is a fox. Jim Mora, Jr. looks like a guy who opened a bagel sandwich shop at a strip mall to satiate his midlife crisis.

94. Gus Malzahn, Auburn. Would look cooler with ciggies and a jean jacket.

93. Mike Leach, Washington State: Probably takes line-dancing a little too seriously.

92. Kyle Whittingham, Utah. Rod Stewart in a crew cut.

91. Tracy Claeys, Minnesota: An everyman in the best sense of the word.  Wears a ballcap well.

90. Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky. Looks like the lead singer of the Outfield.

89. Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan: Has the look of a Dorthea Lange protagonist.

88. Paul Petrino, Idaho: Has the visage of a man that once went on a booze cruise just to see Toto.

87. Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Great personality.

86. Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern: A touched up, suave version of Jim Nabors, but with a more forceful chin.

85. Nick Rolovich, Hawaii: See Tyson Summers.

84. Mark Stoops, Kentucky: The William Baldwin of the Stoopses.

83. Rick Stockstill, MTSU: Handsome guy who just gets way too much sun.  Needs to wear a hat and some sunblock when he heads out to the practice field.

82. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: Could pass for a televangelist. Not the fun, fire-breathing, faith-healing, subduing-Satan-by-the-sweat-of-his-brow-every-single-Sunday kind of televangelist though. He’s more of a Joel Osteen type.

81. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest: Undoubtedly handsome but less handsome than Wake’s original Dave: basketball coach Dave Odom, who was known in Winston-Salem as the platinum blonde to end all platinum blondes.

80. D.J. Durkin, Maryland: Either the oldest young guy or youngest old guy on God’s Green Earth. Thinks grey hair hides that baby-face of his.

79. Bryan Harsin, Boise State: Looks like a guy from Idaho.

78. Willie Fritz, Tulane: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the looks department, Willie Fritz is a store-brand version of Tommy Tuberville.

77. Troy Calhoun, Air Force: Solid looking guy who lacks eyebrows. I wonder if he knows the 1-2-3 Kid?

76. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: Blandly handsome in an Ethan Hawke Before Sunrise kind of way. When things aren’t going well for the Red Raiders, he gets all Ethan Hawke as Hamlet on the sideline.

75. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: Great coach who wears a hat well.

74. Mark Helfrich, Oregon: Definite upgrade from Chip Kelly, but well below the handsomeness standards that Rich Brooks set in Eugene during the early 1990s.

73. James Franklin, Penn State: Gives off that "know-it-all social studies teacher who coaches the varsity football team and installs a radically different offense every August" vibe.

72. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: Looks a little bit like Bea Arthur, but in a good way.

71. David Baliff, Rice: Would look better if he grew his hair out a little more. And by growing his hair out, I mean that he should grow it long enough to get an invite to the House of David.

70. Kalani Sitake, BYU: Not a bad looking dude.

69. Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State: A bit of a George Karl.

68. David Beaty, Kansas: One of about 10 Karl Malden look alikes coaching in the Big 12.

67. Tony Sanchez, UNLV: Will get handsomer as he ages.

66. Scott Frost, UCF: Jesse Plemons of Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights fame was born to play Scott Frost in a movie.

65. Jay Hopson, Southern Miss: Big fan of Tal Bachman and all things French Bulldogs.

64. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: The handsomest man in Kansas.

63. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin: The Sconnies have yet to bridge the handsomeness gap that emerged on their coaching staff when Barry Alvarez first retired.

62. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona. A sparklier-eyed Gomer Pyle.

61. Kevin Wilson, Indiana: A roguishly handsomer version of RichRod.

60. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: One of about 25 coaches on this list who looks better in a ballcap.

59. Todd Graham, Arizona State. Not unhandsome. Makes strange faces when he gets really into a Mike & the Mechanics song.

58. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: Lives on a houseboat and never wears sunscreen.

57. Frank Wilson, UTSA: Juxtaposes a beautiful smile with heavy eyelids that are suggestive of a moody streak.

56. Chris Petersen, Washington: Unmemorable. Apparently, there are lots of guys named Chris Petersen. I can’t tell which one is the football coach from my Google search.

55. Joey Jones, South Alabama: Looks like he had a bit part in Streets of Fire.  Frequently, he sings "I Can Dream About You" at Tuesday night karaoke at the Masonic Temple in La Grange, Georgia.

54. Barry Odom, Missouri: On good days, he looks like Stan Rogers and serenades his team with "Northwest Passage."On bad days, he looks like Ron Howard’s brother and brags about his MTV Movie Moon Man.

53. Kirby Smart, Georgia: Will never become a Mark Richt-level sex symbol in the state of Georgia.

52. David Cutcliffe, Duke: The coach with whom I would most like to watch the Antiques Roadshow.

51. Sonny Dykes, Cal: George Dzunzda could step in for Sonny Dykes and nobody would be able to tell the difference.

50. Dino Babers, Syracuse: Choir boy good looks.

49. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt: I never know what this guy looks like. Sometimes he looks like the gym teacher on Beavis and Butthead. Other times, he looks like middle management at a mid-sized tech firm.

48. Darrell Hazell, Purdue: Looks sharp in a ballcap and a polo shirt.

47. Philip Montgomery, Tulsa: Gameshow host handsome. Could have followed Wink Martindale admirably on Tic Tac Dough.

46. Jim McElwain, Florida: Gives off that "untrustworthy shoe-salesman who says they have every size of the Nikes your kid wants but comes out of the backroom with two pairs of shoes, one of which is a size too big and one of which is a size too small" vibe.

45. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: Never has the right haircut.

44. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: Looks like the junior senator from a solidly red state.

43. Dave Doeren, NC State: When he shaves his knuckles, his hands are worthy of prime-time on QVC.

42. Ron Turner, FIU: Not unpleasant looking.

41. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: The Alec Baldwin of the Stoopses.

40. Gary Andersen, Oregon State: Would have fit in nicely with Ole and Arn Anderson in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

39. Mark Whipple, UMass: Arrested Rambo for loitering in his Oregon town.

38. Nick Saban, Alabama: I like everything about this guy, including his interesting head of hair.

37. Mike Jinks, Bowling Green: Mickey Rourke type who could use a little more sleep.

36. Tom Herman, Houston: "If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?" was his senior quote.

35. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: Puts on a Sophia Loren pouty-face when a call doesn’t go his way.

34. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Biff Tannen personified.

33. Butch Jones, Tennessee: Winwoodesque.

32. Will Muschamp, South Carolina: has a head of hair straight out of a Pert Plus commercial.

31. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: Looks like one of the kids from the Little Rascals, especially when he gets angry.

30. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech: Has a chest made for Polo shirts. Would make a particularly striking orange-polo-shirt-clad manager at a Home Depot.

29. Mike Neu, Ball State: A more approachable Texas Tim Cowlishaw.

28. Brad Lambert, UNC-Charlotte: Limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing son of a gun from Charlotte, North Caroline.

27. Scottie Montgomery, ECU: Classic long and lean handsome guy.

26. Chris Ash, Rutgers: The kind of guy your mom hopes shows up at the door on prom night.

25. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Handsome enough to be in New Edition. Has that Bobby Brown sparkle in his eyes.

24. Paul Haynes, Kent State: Exudes quintessential football coach/state trooper virility.

23. Jim Grobe, Baylor: Looks Dale Earnhardt Jr. good in a pair of tight stone-washed jeans.

22. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech: Retains his boyish good looks while he earns some of his father’s gravitas.

21. Doc Holliday, Marshall: Val Kilmer is headily handsome and has done a great job in Huntington.

20. Matt Wells, Utah State: Statuesque, Romanesque and Bandwagonesque. This sandy-haired Casanova has the makings of a matinee idol.

19. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: A pair of gold and black leather chaps away from being the handsomest cowboy in Kalamazoo.

18. Les Miles, LSU: Watching Les Miles do just about anything is captivating.

17. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: God put this man on the earth to pace the sidelines while wearing a visor.

16. Mark Richt, Miami: Inspires more mash notes in one week than George Strait did during the 1980s and 1990s combined.

15. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia: Looks like a product of the Chisholm Trail. Intimidatingly handsome.

14. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Looks good even when he’s eating Papa Johns on a golf cart.

13. Charlie Patridge, FAU: An old school tall, dark, thick, vacuous and handsome meathead.

12. Willie Taggart, USF: "Willie Taggart has a million dollar smile that makes million dollar smiles blush.  If a head coach’s handsomeness can turn a program around, then expect Taggart and the USF Bulls to join Chad Morris and the SMU Mustangs in the AAC title game this December," – Me, May 2015.

11. Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati: In May 2015, I said that "Tommy Tuberville has matured into a salt and pepper Ray Orbison doppelganger."

10. Chad Morris, SMU: "Chad Morris resembles Daniel Craig if Craig were asked to portray Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights," – Me, May 2015.

9. Steve Addazio, Boston College: To paraphrase the One Man Thrill Ride, handsome is officially happening in Chestnut Hill. Coach Addazio owns his maleness like few others in the coaching fraternity.

8. Charlie Strong, Texas: Win, lose or draw, Charlie Strong looks like he is chiseled from granite.

7. Bob Surace, Princeton: The only FCS coach on the list, Bob Surace has that classic Ivy League look.

6. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: Finished second to Mark Wahlberg in the auditions for Boogie Nights.

5. Bret Bielema, Arkansas: A one-act play I wrote for this website last November that demonstrates the handsomeness of Bret Bielema.

Rob Ryan: Fiddlesticks! I got fired!

Bret Bielema: Sorry to hear that Rob. Maybe if the Saints defense wasn't last in the league in every category you'd still have a job.

Rob Ryan: Aw Heck. I think you're right, Bret. Know of any open jobs?

Bret Bielema: Have I got the job opportunity for you!

Rob Ryan: You want me to be your defensive coordinator?

Bret Bielema: No. If you can't stop the offenses in the NFC South, then you sure as heck can't stop the offenses in the SEC.

Rob Ryan: Are you offering me the belly raspberry thing again?

Bret Bielema: I sure am. Until I beat LSU the other night, I thought I was a goner after the season. I picked up some part time work earlier this year, figuring there would be a transition time between jobs. Every afternoon, I've been sitting shirtless in a lawn chair outside the Exxon Station on Paris Road in Algiers, Louisiana. I let strangers give my belly a raspberry for $5 a pop. All profit. The guy who owns the gas station doesn't even charge me. My belly brings him in at least five fill-ups every afternoon. I was making upwards of $70 a day. One time, Les Miles showed up and paid for a triple-double. He had three different recruits get two cracks each at my belly.

Rob Ryan: Is that an NCAA violation?

Bret Bielema: No. He cleared it with the compliance officer. Who is also one of my best customers.

Rob Ryan: OK, I'll take it.

Bret Bielema: I just want ten dollars every day for chair rental.

Rob Ryan: Chair rental! This ain't no barbershop. I'm not giving you 10 of my hard earned dollars every day.

Bret Bielema: Did I mention that this service station is across the street from a Shoney's?

Rob Ryan: 10 dollars a day will be just fine. Shoney's, here I come!

4. Larry Fedora, UNC: Larry "The Body" Fedora looks like Lex Luger, fights like Tarzan and talks like Edgar Rice Burroughs.

3. Frank Solich, Ohio: Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Giving all your love to just one man. Unless that man is Frank Solich.

2. Bob Davie, New Mexico: Is an Adonis. Great voice, great smile, sinewy physique. Bob Davie is what people mean when they say the word "handsome."

1. Bob Diaco: UConn: Tall, dark and handsome, Bob Diaco combines North Jersey swagger with the unapproachable dreaminess of Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles.

This is obviously a work of parody and not intended to be taken seriously. For more of the same, follow me on twitter: @ClaytonTrutor