How would you put together the perfect coach? Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com attempts to lay out his ideals in a column he wrote this week. Among the many college coaches he listed, just one from the Big East made the list -- Charlie Strong of Louisville.
What does he admire about Strong? Woj writes: "The perfect coach takes advantage of his first chance after a long wait, like Charlie Strong has at Louisville."
There are a lot of coaches to get to in a story like that, so I figured I would give my own hat tip to all eight Big East coaches and one quality they have that has made each a success:
Butch Jones, Cincinnati. Simply put, Jones is a winner. He has won conference championships at both his stops as a head coach, Central Michigan and now Cincinnati, and has proven to be a coach his players respect and admire.
Paul Pasqualoni, UConn. Pasqualoni is as old-school as they come, but what makes him earn the respect from his players is this -- he treats them not like children, but like men. That is something that has not changed from his time at Syracuse.
Charlie Strong, Louisville. Not only has Strong taken his first coaching opportunity and run with it, he also is the top recruiter in the Big East and one of the best in the entire nation. That is a big reason the Cardinals had success this year -- they would not have done anything without the infusion of young talent on this team.
Todd Graham, Pitt. You want energy and enthusiasm? Say hello to Graham, who has never wavered from his passionate approach to his job despite the struggles of this season. He is the ultimate salesman.
Greg Schiano, Rutgers. Staying power is something that has gone the way of the dodo in college sports, but not in the case of Schiano, who has turned a doormat into a solid program in 11 seasons at Rutgers. He has yet to win a championship, but he graduates his players and has made bowl appearances in six of the past seven seasons. You know what you are getting out of him.
Skip Holtz, USF. This season may not have gone the way fans wanted, but you can bank on Holtz working harder than anybody else to get his team pointed in the right direction. He is not stubborn; he sees where his team made mistakes. His openness for self-reflection and evaluation make him accountable not only to his players but to himself.
Doug Marrone, Syracuse. Marrone is loyal, not only to his alma mater but to his players. That means doing the right thing, even if it is not the most popular decision. Marrone is a man of conviction who expects all his players to follow his rules. If they don't, they can find the door.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia. You have got to love the rebel coach who says what he means and means what he says. Forget political correctness. Holgorsen is the same with reporters as he is with players, and unafraid to tell it like it is.