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The Malzahn Effect

If you haven’t already discovered Coaches By the Numbers, it’s time. No other website has such an enormous amount of data on college coaches. They do a great job analyzing those numbers as well.

A recent post over at CBNT was on The Gus Malzahn Effect. They’ve been ever so kind as to allow me to repost it here. I thought it went along nicely with the conversation this morning about whether coaches are overpaid. So, without further adieu:

In January of 2011, he was hoisting a National Championship trophy and looking forward to earning over $1.0 million per year as Auburn’s Offensive Coordinator.

As you probably know by now, at CBTN, we rate coaches using a proprietary formula that looks at several factors and weighs them accordingly. Obviously Malzahn is a great offensive coordinator and likewise receives 5 stars in our system. However, what is interesting is his ‘effect’ on the head coaches he works under. So, just how good of an Offensive Coordinator is Gus Malzahn?

Let’s dig into some numbers and see:

1) Below are Houston Nutt’s CBTN ratings (bold numbers are with Gus Malzahn as Offensive Coordinator):

Year School CBTN Rating
2001 Arkansas 58.77
2002 Arkansas 59.99
2003 Arkansas 64.71
2004 Arkansas 46.27
2005 Arkansas 33.03
2006 Arkansas 65.90
2007 Arkansas 57.88
2008 Ole Miss 68.12
2009 Ole Miss 61.50
2010 Ole Miss 30.54

Average CBTN Rating without Malzahn: 53.86

CBTN Rating with Malzahn: 65.90

Differential = 12.04

Houston Nutt’s CBTN Rating was 23% better with Malzahn than without. Also, since 2001, Houston Nutt has only played in two SEC Championship games and one of those appearances came in 2006 when Gus Malzahn was calling the offensive plays.

Now, let’s look at the impact Malzahn had on Coach Nutt’s Winning Percentage (bolded numbers are with Malzahn):

Coach Year School Wins Losses WP% Conf. WP%
Houston Nutt 2001 Arkansas 7 4 63.6% 50.0%
Houston Nutt 2002 Arkansas 9 5 64.3% 55.6%
Houston Nutt 2003 Arkansas 9 4 64.3% 50.0%
Houston Nutt 2004 Arkansas 5 6 45.5% 37.5%
Houston Nutt 2005 Arkansas 4 7 36.4% 25.0%
Houston Nutt 2006 Arkansas 10 4 71.4% 77.8%
Houston Nutt 2007 Arkansas 8 5 61.5% 50.0%
Houston Nutt 2008 Mississippi 9 4 64.3% 62.5%
Houston Nutt 2009 Mississippi 9 4 64.3% 50.0%
Houston Nutt 2010 Mississippi 4 8 33.3% 12.5%

Average WP% without Malzahn = 55.28%

WP% with Malzahn = 71.4%

Differential = 16.12%

Avg. Conf. WP% without Malzahn = 43.68%

Conf. WP% with Malzahn = 77.80%

Differential = 31.12%

2) Now, let’s look at Todd Graham’s CBTN Head Coach Ratings (bold numbers are with Gus Malzahn as Offensive Coordinator):

Year School CBTN Rating
2006 Rice 37,35
2007 Tulsa 47.52
2008 Tulsa 55.73
2009 Tulsa 30.83
2010 Tulsa 58.78

Average CBTN rating without Malzahn: 42.57

Average CBTN Rating with Malzahn: 51.62

Differential = 9.05

Todd Graham’s CBTN Rating was 22% better with Malzahn than without him.

Now, let’s look at the impact Malzahn had on the Winning Percentage (bolded numbers are with Malzahn):

Coach School Year Wins Losses WP%
Todd Graham Rice 2006 7 6 53.8%
Todd Graham Tulsa 2007 10 4 71.4%
Todd Graham Tulsa 2008 11 3 78.6%
Todd Graham Tulsa 2009 5 7 41.7%
Todd Graham Tulsa 2010 10 3 76.9%

Average WP% without Malzahn = 57.47%

Average WP% with Malzahn = 75.00%

Differential = 17.53%

3) Finally, let’s look at Gene Chizik’s CBTN Head Coach Ratings (bold numbers are with Gus Malzahn as Offensive Coordinator):

Year School CBTN Rating
2007 Iowa State 22.04
2008 Iowa State 15.75
2009 Auburn 55.84
2010 Auburn 95.88

Average CBTN Rating without Malzahn: 18.90

Average CBTN Rating with Malzahn: 76.53

Differential = 57.63%

Gene Chizik’s CBTN Rating is 305% better with Malzahn than without him.

Now, let’s look at the impact Malzahn had on the Winning Percentage (bolded numbers are with Malzahn):

Coach Year Wins Losses WP%
Gene Chizik 2007 3 9 25%
Gene Chizik 2008 2 10 16.7%
Gene Chizik 2009 8 5 61.5%
Gene Chizik 2010 14 0 100%

Average WP% without Malzahn = 20.85%

Average WP% with Malzahn = 80.75%

Differential = 59.90%

The numbers with Chizik are hard to draw too many conclusions from given how drastically different the Iowa State and Auburn jobs are (Auburn is the 9th Rated CBTN Job and Iowa State is the 61st Rated CBTN Job).

Here at CBTN, we are trying to let the numbers speak for themselves as much as possible.

Maybe it’s just one really big coincidence or maybe there are other factors that explain the trend, but head coaches seem to perform better and win more games with Gus Malzahn calling plays than without Gus Malzahn calling plays.

You can learn more about CBNT here.

Author

  • Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more

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5 Comments

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