John Hoover

Sporting News: Big 12 coaches preach patience, not shortcuts, to build winning culture

Sporting News: Big 12 coaches preach patience, not shortcuts, to build winning culture

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell takes questions at Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on July 16, 2019. (PHOTO: John E. Hoover)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Coaching college football can be a zero-sum game: Win, or get fired. Skyrocketing salaries present a very real pressure, but the overall financial investment that schools, athletic departments and boosters have made in their teams’ futures only increase the stakes.

That pressure may produce an inherent temptation to win now, at all costs, rather than to just color in the lines and patiently build a foundation and an enduring winning culture.

“You hit the nail on the head right there,” new Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said at Big 12 Media Days. “I know what I signed up for. I know exactly what I signed up for. You have to balance that.

Wells isn’t the only one who knows that. The Big 12 has four new coaches in 2019 – 40 percent of the league’s 10 head men – and the hyper competitive nature of the industry means some of them may be tempted to cut corners or bend the rules for quicker on-field results.

“Or cheat,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “Just call it what it is.”

With so much turnover in the Big 12 over the last three years, it’s worth examining how the league’s coaches approach their own individual situations.

  • At Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley inherited a high-pressure job on a team used to success. As Barry Switzer used to say, he now must simply feed the monster.
  • At Baylor, Matt Rhule arrived with a bucket and a mop, spending the last two years cleaning up the mess left behind by Art Briles and others while he fortified the foundation in Waco.
  • At Texas, Tom Herman was tasked with turning a perennial underachiever into champ finally living up to its blueblood reputation.
  • At Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy goes into his 15th season trying to fight complacency – starting with his own.

To read the rest of John E. Hoover’s report for Sporting News, click here:


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at



John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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