Ranking HBCU head football coaches isn’t easy, especially when it comes to ordering the top ten coaches in the SWAC, MEAC, CIAA, SIAC, and OVC. I polled HBCU fans, media, and personalities for their opinions on “Who Are The Top 5 Most-Powerful HBCU Football Coaches in 2022” on Twitter and Facebook, then I expanded it to the top ten coaches.
Interestingly, many put aside the HBCU rivalries and logically gave input on the subject. Initially, a few were timid, but the rankings started to roll in.
I decided on a formula. I used HBCU’s previous year’s winning percentages, conference ranking, conference strength, 2021 recruiting impact, coaching staff, media, social media, and fanbase influence to determine the top coaches. Points values of 0 to 5, 5 the best, were assigned to each coach per category.
New head coaches to the SWAC, Hue Jackson (Grambling) and Eddie Robinson Jr. (Alabama State), received a pass for 2021. I did give them extra weight in the wins column for their NFL experience. It’s subjective, but I felt the new coaches deserved a sort of equity to their already standing colleagues.
Ranking the “2022 Top 10 Most-Powerful HBCU Football Coaches”
- Deion Sanders – Jackson State
- Buddy Pough – South Carolina State
- Willie Simmons – Florida A&M
- Eric Dooley – Southern University (Prairie View in 2021)
- Hue Jackson – Grambling State (Tennessee State’s Offensive Coordinator)
- Damon Wilson – Morgan State (Bowie State in 2021)
- Fred McNair – Alcorn State
- Quinton Morgan – Langston University
- Gabe Gardina – Albany State
- Dawson Odums – Norfolk State
Honorable mention: Trei Oliver (NCCU), Cornell Maynor (AAMU), Eddie George (Tenn. St.), Eddie Robinson Jr. (Alabama St.), and Reginald Ruffin (Tuskegee).
Who are the 2022 HBCU Football’s Most-Powerful Head Coaches?
Rank the Top-10 HBCU head football coaches in the SWAC, MEAC, CIAA, SIAC, and OVC.
- The rankings of 1-4 are straightforward.
- Deion Sanders’ mega-influence, recruiting efforts to land Travis Hunter and others, and critical coaching staff changes place him at the No. 1.
- Buddy Pough’s length of service, being the 2021 HBCU Champions, and having Decobie Durant drafted by the Los Angeles Rams has the Bulldog’s leader at No. 2.
- Willie Simmons’ FCS playoff run, the return of Buck Buchanan Award Finalist Isaiah Land, and the outstanding support of the FAMU faithful have the Rattlers’ head coach positioned at No. 3.
- Eric Dooley at No. 4 keeps making noise by high-jacking recruits and coaches to Southern University. The wise ol’ ball coach would like nothing better than an opportunity to see Jackson State in Mumford Stadium for the 2022 SWAC Championship this fall.
- No.5 and No. 6 were a coin-toss, but I gave the edge to Hue Jackson for two reasons over Damon Wilson – a headstart on recruiting and his NFL experience. If Wilson remained at Bowie State, he would have been in sole possession of No. 5, but his late transition to Morgan State has him slightly behind Jackson and Grambling.
- Notes & Nuggets: Watch how Fred McNair (Alcorn), Bubba McDowell (Prairie View), Trei Oliver (NCCU), and Coach Dancy (Mississippi Valley) may ruin some rivals’ conference championship runs this season.