Iowa State football: Paul Rhoads ranked 49th in Athlon head coach rankings


Athlon Sports loves to rank everything — teams, coaches, stadiums — and over a week ago, they ranked every single college football head coach. Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads was listed at 49th.

Nov 23, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads waves to the fans after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State won 34-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Rhoads checks in as sixth-best coach in the Big 12 despite a 27-36 overall record in his first five seasons. That’s because of the nature of the tough football conference, and Athlon acknowledges how tough it is to succeed at Iowa State. Rhoads is already one of the best coaches the Cyclones have had in their history. Here’s their full write-up:

"Rhoads is a good example why records are often deceiving when ranking coaches. On the surface, 27 wins isn’t impressive. However, Iowa State is one of the toughest jobs among BCS programs and ranks No. 9 in the Big 12. Winning big is tough in Ames, and Rhoads has three bowl appearances in five years. Additionally, the Cyclones have only one season of fewer than five wins. Just how difficult is it to win at Iowa State? The program has only two seasons of more than eight wins and only four of the Cyclones’ bowl appearances came before 2000. So while Rhoads may not have the best winning total, he’s keeping Iowa State competitive and in the mix for bowl games. And at a job like Iowa State, some would consider that overachieving."

A trio of Big 12 coaches — Bob Stoops, Art Briles, and Bill Snyder — make up fourth, fifth, and sixth in the rankings respectively. Mike Gundy checks in at 20th, Gary Patterson at 23rd, and Charlie Strong (based on his history at Louisville) at 26th.

Other notables include Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at 35 and former ISU head coach, Dan McCarney, at 64th. He currently coaches at North Texas, and is thriving at building another down football program.