Of the 32 coaches to complete at least eight seasons with the same program, 28 finished with a winning percentage above .500.
Art Guepe of Vanderbilt (1953-1960), Jerry Claiborne of Kentucky (1982-1989), Bob Woodruff of Florida (1946-1953) and William Alexander of Georgia Tech (1933-1940) were the only four coaches to having a losing winning percentage after eight years.
Here are the Top 10 SEC coaches and their winning percentages after their first eight seasons. This only includes seasons from 1933-2006.
1. Steve Spurrier, Florida (1990-1997)--83-16-1 record (.835), 5 SEC Titles
2. Frank Thomas, Alabama (1933-1940)--59-10-5 record (.831), 3 SEC Titles
3. Paul Bryant, Alabama (1958-1965)--69-12-6 record (.828), 3 SEC Titles
5. Bob Neyland, Tennessee (1933-1946)--67-14-3 record (.815), 4 SEC Titles
6. Allyn McKeen, Mississippi State (1939-1947)--61-15-2 record (.795), 1 SEC Title
7. Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech (1945-1952)--65-21-1 record (.753), 2 SEC Titles
8. Pat Dye, Auburn (1981-1988)--71-23-2 record (.750), 3 SEC Titles
9. Wally Butts, Georgia (1939-1946)--63-21-2 record (.744), 2 SEC Titles
10. Charlie McClendon, LSU (1962-1969)--61-21-4 record (.733), 0 SEC Titles
It should be noted that Neyland's first eight years at Tennessee were broken down from 1933-1934, 1936-1940 and the eighth season coming during 1946.
If not for being on probation during his first season at Florida (1990), Spurrier would have captured six Southeastern Conference championships during his first eight seasons at the University of Florida. His return to the SEC had perhaps the biggest impact by any head coach in the history of the conference.
Steve Spurrier is trying to lead South Carolina to the first SEC football championship in school history.
The Gators averaged nearly 38 points per game during Spurrier's first eight years (100 games) along with 462 yards in total offense (312 pass/150 rush). His "Fun ‘N Gun" offense scored at least 28 points per game in over 70 percent of his first 100 games at Florida.
Opposing schools within the conference were scrambling to defend his high-powered offense and the traditional style of offense (three-yards and a cloud of dust)) came to a stop. In 1989, the year before Spurrier's arrival, the Southeastern Conference had a total of 37 200-yard rushing games. By 1999, the total dropped to just 17 200-yard rushing games. In 2002, the year after Spurrier left for the NFL, the Southeastern Conference increased its 200-yard games to 48.
The University of Tennessee felt the most pressure by the Florida Gators, having to compete with them yearly to have an opportunity to play in the SEC Championship Game. From 1990-1997, Florida scored 30 points or more 65 times and the Volunteers were close behind, totaling 60 games of 30 points or more. The third highest total after Tennessee was Auburn with 42 games of 30 points or more.
During the decade of the 1980s, SEC teams scored 30 points or more 26.6 percent of the time. During the decade of the 1990s, 30-point games occurred 41.8 percent of the time, mainly due to the increase in passing after Spurrier arrived at Florida.
There were 23 1,000-yard rushers and 25 2,000-yard passers during the 1980s. During the 1990s, the SEC produced 28 1,000-yard rushers and 48 2,000-yard passers.
Coach Mark Richt of the University of Georgia enters his seventh season currently possessing a 61-17-0 record (.782). His current win percentage would place him seventh on the Top 10 list. He already has two conference titles to his name and there is no reason to expect Georgia not to be in contention over the next couple of years.
Coach Tommy Tuberville has built Auburn into an annual contender with the Tigers reloading rather than rebuilding. The Tigers had a .612 winning percentage during Tuberville's first four years and a winning percentage of .804 over the last four years. Over the last three years, Auburn has compiled the nation's third best winning percentage at .868, making Auburn one of the top programs in the country.
Urban Meyer has made a big splash at Florida after taking over for Ron Zook.
Les Miles of LSU and Urban Meyer of Florida are 22-4 during their tenure in the Southeastern Conference. Meyer won it all last season in just his second year at Florida, proving his coaching style can be successful in the SEC. For some, the book is still out on Miles, but should LSU post another 11-win season in 2007 there should be no doubt about his credibility as a head football coach.
Coach Nick Saban makes his return to the Southeastern Conference, this time with the University of Alabama. Though Saban is a proven winner at the college level, recreating his success while at LSU might be asking too much considering the parity within the conference. Throw in Steve Spurrier at South Carolina and Phil Fulmer of Tennessee and this just might be the golden age of SEC coaches.