New faces dot Vol slate

Tennessee's football team faces five programs this fall being led by new coaches – Florida (Urban Meyer), South Carolina (Steve Spurrier), LSU (Les Miles), Notre Dame (Charlie Weis) and Ole Miss (Ed Orgeron). Advantage: Vols? Maybe. Maybe not.

Since new coaches typically inherit down programs, they typically struggle in Year 1. But some new coaches inherit solid or underachieving programs and win big immediately
… even in a league as rugged as the Southeastern Conference. To wit:

- Terry Bowden went 20-1-1 in his first two seasons at Auburn (1993-94), including a perfect 11-0 mark in Year 1.

- Phillip Fulmer went 13-1-1 in his first 15 games at Tennessee (1992-93).

- Spurrier went 19-4 in his first two seasons at Florida (1990-91), winning the league title in Year 2.

- Mark Richt went 21-5 in his first two seasons at Georgia (2001-02), winning the SEC East in Year 2.

- Nick Saban went 18-7 in his first two seasons at LSU (2000-01), winning the league title in Year 2.

- Houston Nutt went 17-7 in his first two seasons at Arkansas (1998-99), winning the SEC West title in Year 1.

Conversely, many first-year coaches bring in new systems that require some adjustment time. For instance:

- Gene Stallings went 7-5 in his first season at Alabama (1990), then went 24-1 the next two seasons.

- Jim Donnan went 5-6 in his first year at Georgia (1996), then went 19-5 the next two.

- Tommy Tuberville went 5-6 in his first year at Auburn (1999), then won or shared the SEC West title four of the five years since then, including a 13-0 season in 2004.

So, will Tennessee benefit from facing five first-year head coaches this fall? In terms of the three who are in rebuilding modes – Spurrier, Weis and Orgeron – probably so. In the case of Meyer and Miles – two guys who inherited loads of talent – probably not.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories