One of the issues with coaching in the SEC is the almost unattainable success that Nick Saban has brought to Alabama. The domination in the conference by the Crimson Tide has put huge pressure on the other SEC head coaches especially those in the SEC West. This is shown by three of them being listed below as being on the hot seat going into 2016.
SEC Head Coaches on the Hot Seat
Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
After a very disappointing 2015 season, Gus Malzahn is firmly on the hot seat heading into this year. This is despite an appearance in the national title game just a few years ago which shows the consistent high level required in the SEC West to succeed.
The turmoil at the quarterback position last year derailed their campaign early but the defense wasn’t without its problems either. After facing Clemson to open the season, Auburn has a crucial home game against Texas A&M on 17th September so defeat on both of those games might be enough for Auburn to be in the market for a new head coach.
Les Miles (LSU)
Much like Gus Malzahn, LSU came within a game of firing a coach who won the National Title for them. But in recent years, Les Miles has been unable to get LSU into the playoff and if he doesn’t manage it in 2016 it could cost him his job.
Also LSU is another program comparing itself to Alabama and a five-game losing streak against them is another argument to move on from Les Miles. If he can solve the issues at quarterback, then LSU could take that next step as they have one of the most talented depth charts in the country this year.
Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)
This time last year Kevin Sumlin was still in a great position with the Aggies. They were finally seeing improvements on the field after some excellent recruiting, and they had two five-star quarterbacks on the roster. Fast forward to the present day, and both quarterbacks have left the program citing a lack of discipline in the team.
Another mediocre campaign has landed Sumlin firmly on the hot seat in College Station, and a tough schedule could seal his fate in 2016. He’s relying on an improved defense and graduate transfer Trevor Knight at quarterback to keep him in his job.
Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
When taking over a program that needs a complete rebuild, you often see a new head coach make good strides early on. Mark Stoops is no exception, as he quickly recruited to a level Kentucky hadn’t been at for a while which led to win a couple more games per year. The issue so many coaches have is then taking that improvement to the next level and that is where Stoops is at now.
Last year looked like it could have been that breakthrough year where the Wildcats finally made a bowl game. They went into their bye week at 4-1 but only managed one win in their final seven games to remain at 5-7 again. Stoops almost has to make a bowl game this year to remain as head coach given the struggles in the SEC East with teams like Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
DECEMBER 29: Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers (C) sings with his team after they defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 56-27 during the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on December 29, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)