Well folks, we’re nearing the 45-day mark until the 2022 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season officially kicks off, and so I figured there was no better time than the present to complete a necessary and hugely important task to prepare ourselves for the upcoming gauntlet of games that features Ohio State, Clemson, USC, BYU, etc. as opponents.
Of course, the important task I’m talking about is power ranking all of ND’s opponents’ head coaches based on the photos I’m able to find in our little Getty Images search function in the content management tool we use to write our articles here at One Foot Down.
I spent an inordinate amount of time clicking manually through hundreds of pages of images of the 12 coaches on the Irish schedule, looking to identify which coaches lend themselves well to providing great content vs. which ones appear to make the exact same facial expression in 95% of photos taken of them.
There were some surprises and some non-surprises in terms of which coaches were most entertaining within Getty Images — so without further ado, let’s jump into it and see who to expect great things from (in terms of funny images) this season.
12. Lincoln Riley, USC Trojans
I’d be lying to you all if I said this last-place finish for Lincoln Riley isn’t at least partially swayed by him being the USC coach and thus I want him to finish in last, but I also just want to say that his photos in Getty Images are absurdly boring and normal looking essentially across the board, especially for someone who’s been photographed A LOT over the last 5-6 years considering his success, the number of times he’s made the College Football Playoff as head coach, etc.
I mean, just look at this smiley, milquetoast bastard:
For a while, I thought the best I could do searching through Getty Images was a few photos of him looking pensive or caught with his mouth open.
Then, I was able to find a few action shots: Riley tossing t-shirts during T-Shirt Toss Time at a USC basketball game, Riley meandering through some fog, and Riley tossing the Horns Down gesture in a photo celebrating Oklahoma beating Texas.
Finally, I found at least a somewhat enjoyable picture of him wearing the Golden Hat from the Red River Rivalry game. Still not electric stuff from someone who’s been around long enough and photographed enough to provide us with a lot more, but likely his best work.
11. Jeff Hafley, Boston College Eagles
Those last few photos from Riley are probably better than what Hafley has to offer, to be honest, but like I said — USC coaches don’t get any positive treatment around these parts.
Hafley’s Getty Images are pretty boring as well, although he’s only been at BC for a couple years and thus I will give him a pass for not having a ton of great images yet.
Still, I was able to find a good one of him about to take off sprinting...
Plus a nice pre-fist-pump shot.
Also, he’s got a couple photos showing him looking either very confused or extremely out of it/tired/worried — either way, it’s a fun sequence.
Here’s Jeff pretending he’s a player-coach...
And here he is, back in his Ohio State days, really struggling with some sort of existential crisis.
Finally, let’s end Hafley’s section with a way-too-close shot (this was common amongst a number of these coaches), with a smirk that includes his tongue sticking out a bit, as if to slyly say, “I can’t believe I beat out Lincoln Riley with just these photos.”
Well done, Jeff. Beat SC all day.
10. Marcus Arroyo, UNLV Rebels
Similar to Hafley, Marcus Arroyo is a pretty new coach and thus doesn’t have a ton of images to choose from in Getty Images.
He definitely seems to be a players’ coach, though, considering some fun shots of him and his players showing that their love language is physical touch:
This one was fun, because Marcus is looking like a straight-up angel with that halo over his head.
This one just looks like a teenager’s driver’s license photo or maybe a college kid’s student ID photo?
That would make this either a high schooler taking some casual prom photos, or maybe a college kid heading to some sort of formal dance.
Love the grin on his face here, probably because he knows this picture will be amazing with Hey Reb! looking sharp behind him.
Side note: that mustache on Hey Reb! is legitimately bonkers.
Other side note: I learned while writing this article that Hey Reb! has since been retired due to his confederate roots. LOL.
Finally, it’s always fun to see photos of these coaches from their playing days, and Arroyo had a handful in there showing him at QB for San Jose State a while back. Fun stuff all around, Marcus.
9. Charles Huff, Marshall Thundering Herd
Mr. Huff here might have had the fewest photos of anyone in the list, TBH. But what he lacked in quantity, he made up for in quality — whether it’s great photos of him with his mouth agape or yelling into a player’s face...
Or if it’s photos of Huff leaping in celebration at some of his assistant coaching stops prior to Marshall...
I absolutely love his energy and willingness to leap into the air and potentially risk injury in order to get a great action shot.
8. Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes
Going through Ryan Day’s Getty Images was a borderline nightmare, considering how many photos there were and how very much the same Ryan Day looks in the vast majority of them. He’s got this look on his face in essentially every press conference photo and in more than half of his coaching photos:
However, with a great deal of digging and way too much time spent, I was able to dig up some photos that show the more fun, happy side of Ryan Day...
The despondent side...
The mouth-wide-open, hollering a lot side...
The my-lips-are-sealed-and-I’m-mad-about-it side...
The wildly angry side...
The hungry side...
The thirsty side...
His fun, dancing side...
And finally, his “I see a balloon” side!
Day really runs us through a full gamut of emotions there, which I think we can all appreciate.
7. Justin Wilcox, California Golden Bears
Let me just start Justin Wilcox’s section by saying that he is a best fit for the GIF format of images, not static ones:
With that said, he had some pretty fun and inspiring photos to flip through in Getty Images, including him battling an injury...
Him posing with something he will never, ever win...
Him wearing a pretty ugly uniform back in the day at Oregon...
Him taking a high school senior photo at 40+ years old...
And photos of him looking terrified at something on the other side of the field (probably just any opponent Cal has to play, TBH):
However, the best thing about Wilcox’s Getty Images presence — and why he made it this high in the rankings — is that he’s established a very clear and accessible personal brand via most of his photos.
Specifically, he’s established a brand image of being the Thinking Man’s Coach. Just look at this guy ponder all of life’s biggest questions (instead of improving Cal as a football program):
Let us know what you end up concluding from all that thinking, Justin! I have a feeling it’s gonna be some great stuff.
6. Dino Babers, Syracuse Orange
We all know Dino Babers is a legend — not so much for his coaching, which has never really reached what people thought he might be able to reach earlier in his time at Syracuse — but for his amazing name and electric locker room speeches.
However, Dino’s pretty solid at another thing — taking photos. He can be stoic...
Stylish and thoughtful...
Dismissive and coldly distant...
And a man of action...
But most of all, what got Dino into the top half of the coaches in this list is simple — the man likes to have a good time, and loves being photographed while giggling and/or chuckling:
Here’s to hoping Dino is able to find reasons to giggle on October 29th, as the action on the field will likely not be a laughing matter to Orange coaches, players, and fans.
5. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy Midshipmen
I call this section “Ken Niumatalolo with His Mouth Open, Having Liquids Dumped on Him, and Expressing His Tender and Loving Care for His Fellow Coaches.”
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
4. David Shaw, Stanford Cardinal
It pains me to put David Shaw this high. And honestly, for a while I didn’t think I would have to. His photos are largely like Lincoln Riley’s — plentiful but extremely, mind-numbingly boring. His best ones barely register in these rankings.
For much of my research into his Getty Images presence, I thought he would be in the back half of the rankings and his best photo would be this one of him at a San Francisco Giants game:
But then, it happened.
I stumbled upon photos of Stanford playing Rice in the 2017 College Football Sydney Cup in Sydney, Australia, and as part of the festivities there, we were blessed with by far the best and most likable side of David Shaw any of us have ever seen — a side which, when viewed, catapulted him up the board to 4th place in our rankings.
Yes, that’s David Shaw interacting with a koala named Tabbi and then holding a kangaroo named Archer. Just A+ content from the otherwise very boring coach.
3. Kalani Sitake, BYU Cougars
Kalani Sitake, quite simply, rules.
His Getty Images were the biggest surprise to me — mostly because I just didn’t know much about him or watch much BYU football recently, as I can’t imagine I would have been surprised if I’d been paying attention, based on the images available of him.
The man is amazing — he’s the first Tongan to be an FBS head coach, is a huge, passionate dude, and has been captured by photographers wearing his heart on his sleeve and just having one helluva time coaching the Cougars.
I just love how he’s willing to dance on the sideline, have plenty of Gatorade dumped on him, hold a bowl of potatoes on a stage, take a picture that looks like he’s dancing the tango with the BYU Media Relations Director, and allow his son to catch some much needed Z’s during a photo op.
Kalani Sitake is AWESOME.
2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers
I can’t stand this man, and I’m pretty sure most of you would agree with me there.
But I don’t think any of us are surprised to see a tiny, goofy little man named “Dabo” here near the top of the list.
Whether it’s taking ridiculous photos with Prince Cheddward and Obie...
Or deciding to walk arm-in-arm with his squad for a fun and very weird photo...
Or looking like an absolute shrimp back in the day trying to tackle a Miami player...
Dabo Swinney just knows how to take absolutely hilarious, chaotic, weird photos that we can all enjoy looking at, even if it’s to hate-scroll this obnoxious man.
Dabo may have had a bad year last season and some may be saying Clemson is going to struggle to stay at the top of college football, but when it comes to churning out great photo content, Swinney is SOARING and there’s no crash landing coming anytime soon, my friends.
1. Mack Brown, North Carolina Tar Heels
I mean, was this the most obvious #1 choice or what? Not only has Mack Brown been around for 3-5 centuries in college football, but he’s perfected the ability to combine the old, grumpy, occasionally-lonesome personal brand of someone his age with the personal brand of someone who was at the helm of the most profitable college sports program in America for a long time, embracing all the Matthew McConaughey, Jack Ingram, Jimmy Kimmel, and...Bill Cosby (?!?!?) that comes with that.
I’m not going to break up the long group of photos I’ve found in Getty for Mack Brown with any commentary — just enjoy this unreal ride through Mack Brown’s career, emotions, successes, failures, etc.
Long live William Mack Brown, and may he coach for 20-50 more years so that we forever get to keep refreshing the Getty Images memory book with his exploits and hijinks and just incredible knack for giving us the perfect kind of college football head coach content!