Legends and their followers’ followers
We’ve all heard it a million times: “You don’t want to be the guy who follows a legend; you want to be the guy who follows the guy who follows the legend.”
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It makes intuitive sense, and it certainly would seem true. Urban Meyer is the guy who followed the guy who followed the legend at Florida, and things have worked out quite well for him so far. Then again, Bill Callahan was the same at Nebraska, and the fans were ready to run him out of town two years before he finally got the axe.
To see how true this adage is, I’ve looked at some coaching legends and the guys who followed them. They are as follows, in chronological order from when the legend was hired:
Legend: Bud Wilkinson, 1947-63, 145-29-4 (.826); three national and 14 conference titles
Follower: Gomer Jones, 1964-65, 9-11-1 (.452); 0 national or conference titles
Next: Jim Mackenzie, 1966, 6-4 (.600); 0 national or conference titles
This is somewhat of a bad example to start off with, since Mackenzie sadly passed away due to a heart attack after his first season.
Jones definitely had a difficult time following Wilkinson though, having not been able to break even (.500) in his two years. Wilkinson is the coach who led Oklahoma to its famed 47-game winning streak, and he failed to win the Big 8 title in only three of his 17 years.