With the news on Tuesday that former Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville was considering running for Governor of Alabama (he coached Auburn from 1999-2008), it got me wondering how current Big 12 coaches would do on the political trail. Who would be the best? Who would struggle? We took a satirical look at how current Big 12 coaches might do in the political landscape.
Top choice: Bill Snyder
Snyder’s only drawback would be his age (77). But considering our President is 70 and the aging process is about 10 years behind where it was a generation ago, I think Snyder could overcome that criticism. Yes, political opponents would use his very treatable battle with throat cancer against him. But there is no better fighter than Bill Snyder. Plus, no one has done more with less than Snyder and he may very well be one of the most likable people ever. I picture Snyder in the mold of Ronald Reagan (not politically, this is not a political column), but more along the lines of a cool customer, with age, experience, and a charm that can kill on his side.
Runner up: Mike Gundy
Gundy can point to plenty of success on his resume. He’s younger than Snyder (significantly) and has a sarcastically funny personality that would endear him to voters. He hasn’t pissed off a lot of people during his time in Stillwater (except maybe T. Boone and Holder?), but the fans love him. The only drawback to Gundy is that I could not see him schmoozing big-money donors over cocktails. At least not doing it often. In today’s political landscape where money is king, that may be something that could hurt Gundy’s political career.
Untapped potential: Matt Campbell
If you listen to our interview with Campbell from last week, he speaks like a politician: smooth, steady, and very articulate. But he’s young and still has plenty to prove before he were to make the jump to major political office. He’s kind of like the first-term senator who still has a lot to do before making the leap to Presidential run. Campbell has started the turnaround in Ames, but there is still work to be done. He may not have enough high-level experience for some of his detractors. But if he brings Iowa State back to a consistent bowl-level team, then his options will be unlimited.
Empty suit: Kliff Kingsbury
Does anyone in the Big 12 look more like a politician than Kliff Kingsbury? The hair part, the Ryan Gosling look, the shades, everything. Problem is, Kingsbury is the classic example of a politician who gets propped up by one big donor, has limited experience, and either slips his way to the top or falls flat on his face. But let’s be honest, Kingsbury’s record would get absolutely destroyed in a political climate. He’s like the congressman who keeps proposing bogus bills that never even reach the floor for a vote. Or he’s the politician who never shows up to vote on key issues to protect his political future. From the outside, he looks to have it all, but once you dig a little deeper, there are major problems with his candidacy.
Wild card: Dana Holgorsen
Holgorsen is the candidate who can win big or lose big. He could crush his competition or be centered around a major scandal. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but more so in a, “did you see Holgorsen at the bar at 3AM again last night?” He might not be doing anything wrong, but his antics may drive some voters away. Also, he certainly would be the anti-PC candidate. Addressing the media from the podium with a Red Bull, a beer, and a few off-the-cuff quotes, like when he said this about Lincoln Riley at Big 12 media days in 2015: “Mike Leach saw something in him as a freshman QB. And what he saw was a s***ty player and a great mind.”
Long shot: Bob Stoops
He’s had as much success as you could ask for, but does anyone see Bob Stoops handling the politician’s position well? No shot! He would have little to no interest in fundraising and would not handle the press criticisms well either. He’d be firing back in press conferences just like he has a tendency to do now as Oklahoma’s head coach. There would be those that would encourage him to make the leap from coach to politician, but Bob Stoops is a football coach… that’s it. And OU fans are grateful for that because that’s what he excels at.
For the record, and as a reminder, I hope the satirical nature of this piece came through in it’s writing!
As for previous Big 12 coaches, the best two selections, off the top of my head: Mack Brown and Barry Switzer. Brown is the ultimate schmoozer who could raise money from a couple of chimpanzees. Meanwhile, the personality and charm of Switzer seems to be loved by everyone he comes in contact with. Those two would make fascinating political figures.
What do you think? What Big 12 coaches, current or former, would make really good or really bad politicians? Let us know in the comments below!
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