Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione, the only current athletic director to hire a football coach who won a national championship and a men’s basketball coach who reached the Final Four, is Stadium’s No. 1 AD based on his career football and men’s basketball coach hirings.
Castiglione edged out Ohio State’s Gene Smith and Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez for the top spot. Rounding out the top 10 current athletic directors: UCF’s Danny White, Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick, LSU’s Scott Woodward, Oregon’s Rob Mullens, Kansas State’s Gene Taylor, Virginia Tech’s Whit Babcock and Arizona State’s Ray Anderson.
Stadium insiders Brett McMurphy and Jeff Goodman graded and ranked the football and men’s basketball hirings of the current 130 FBS athletic directors. The grades were based on the success of the coaches hired, difficulty of opponents in their respective conferences, bowl appearances, NCAA Tournament trips, conference titles and national championships won. The grades did not take into consideration any fundraising or building of facilities by the athletic directors.
Also, each athletic director received credit for a coach’s hiring at each school — even if the AD moved on to another university and the coach remained at the original school. Only hires made at FBS football programs or Division I basketball programs were considered.
In his first year at Oklahoma in 1998, Castiglione hired football coach Bob Stoops, who would win a national championship in his second season, and also later added basketball coach Lon Kruger, who reached the 2016 Final Four.
Of Stadium’s top 20 athletic directors, five were from the ACC, three each from the Big 12 and Big Ten, and the SEC and Pac-12 each had two. Five were from the non-power leagues: UCF’s Danny White (No. 4), Western Kentucky’s Todd Stewart (No. 15), BYU’s Tom Holmoe (No. 16), Utah State’s John Hartwell (No. 18) and Arkansas State’s Terry Mohajir (No. 20).
Key: ** indicates that coach was likely to make 2020 NCAA Tournament if not for cancellation