Leadership is something the world is constantly seeking more of. Leaders have originality, shape views on matters, and create influence and impact. Being a good head football coach requires leadership. His personality trickles down throughout the team and that personality eventually becomes the team’s identity. While players may come and go there is always one constant in the formula of most successful programs, the head coach. There are currently 125 different Division I college football teams, and two teams in the Big Ten have been blessed with great coaching.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio are two of college football’s elite head coaches.
The best football coach in the state of Michigan is hands down Mark Dantonio. That goes for any level of football as well from pee-wee to pro. Dantonio is much to credit for the Spartans success, taking a traditionally second tier football program and turning them into a football juggernaut. Some of the most loyal University of Michigan football fans have been converted to Sparty fans now that Dantonio has them on a steady path to success. Honestly who could blame them? Most people who like football prefer to watch it played well, and that is exactly what Dantonio’s Spartans do week in and week out. Keep in mind only two Big Ten football teams have ever finished the season with thirteen wins. The 2013 Spartans, led by Dantonio, and the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes when he served as Jim Tressel’s defensive coordinator en route to a national championship. It’s hard not to recognize Dantonio’s football pedigree. Maybe it’s his poised, tough demeanor that propels him. Maybe it’s the love for Spartan football that he continuously makes self-sacrifice for. Whatever it is, he’s doing it right.
The other top coach in the Big Ten is obviously Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Outside of that guy who coaches the Crimson Tide down in Tuscaloosa, there are few better options to lead your football team. With two national titles already under his belt and an overall coaching record of 130 wins and 26 losses, the Buckeyes struck gold with this hire in 2012. And what did Meyer reward fans at the Horseshoe with? An undefeated season his very first year at the helm and a 26-3 overall record. No other coach could lose their starting quarterback for the year and still squeeze out a season that most coaches can only dream of. Expect Meyer to keep making magic happen again despite the loss of Braxton Miller and an early loss to Virginia Tech. A true tactician of the game, Meyer’s strength stems from his ability to strategize. He is far superior when it comes to X’s and O’s than most of his coaching counterparts. When you add in the legacy that he has achieved during his many college football coaching stops you also understand why top recruits will play for him no matter where he goes.
Together these two coaches bring a great deal of respect to the Big 10. While Bo Pelini, and Gary Anderson deserve some credit as well, no one deserves more respect than Meyer and Dantonio. Even though both of their teams suffered tough losses early on in the season to respectable opponents, expect these coaching masterminds to get things back on track in the later half of the season.
*Section Photo credit to Greg Shamus, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Andrew Weber, USA Today Sports (left) & Johnathan Daniels, Getty Images (right)