Whether they aim to be or not, the head coaches of SEC football teams tend to become larger-than-life figures. This is generally due to the fact that you need to be a force of nature an/or Kilimanjaro-sized megalomaniac to be considered for such a job in the first place.
That being said, these guys are also people, technically—meaning they have to deal with typical family stuff, like meeting their offspring’s significant others and befriending and/or horrifying them as they see fit. The following is the definitive ranking of SEC football coaches as it relates to how cool of a father-in-law they would be.
It’s highly scientific and I hope you take it seriously. They could be your father-in-law one day.
Like Guy Fieri’s bitter, more serious brother. Definitely spanks his lunch.
Pros: Just stares into the middle distance during family gatherings.
Cons: Doesn’t learn your name until rehearsal dinner.
“PUNCH ME. I SAID ‘PUNCH ME IN THE NECK AND PROVE YOU’RE A MAN.”
Pros: The bullets were “mostly blanks.”
Cons: Playing Russian roulette for the bill.
Having Butch Jones as your father-in-law is fine if you’re willing to deal with all the touching, full-armed slaps on the back and that awkward time he tried to arm wrestle you for Monopoly property on game night.
Pros: General ruddiness, the unflinching optimism of a Terrier.
Cons: Your entire wardrobe reeking of hair gel and desperation after each hug.
An extremely nice father-in-law who never comes close to tipping his hand. You will never know what is and isn’t a test or why he keeps asking you to fly drones with him.
Pros: Polite, never steers dinner conversation into politics.
Cons: The omnipresent sensation that you’re being recorded.
A kind man who smells of Hellmann’s and faxed concert tickets.
Cons: Having to always the attend the early service.
To become Bret Bielema’s son-in-law or daughter-in-law is to accept a life of constantly losing the Circle Game and being dead-legged for looking. He will be fun, but the majority of that fun will be at your expense.
Pros: Incredible spreads at family reunions, pushing people in the pool at cookouts.
Cons: Welts, being constantly told “It’s your day.”
Is pretty chill until you speak in his backswing, then you have problems.
Pros: Carries all the heavy stuff on beach outings.
Cons: Consistently overrates his ability to make a good Old Fashioned, could potentially mess you up good if you trifle.
Getty ImagesStacy Revere
In the parfait-strata of SEC coaches becoming your father-in-law, Hugh Freeze is the granola. Nothing too flashy. Nothing too exciting. Just solid, oat-loafer dadditude. His strongest objection to anything would be yelling “I don’t know about that!” as he slips out onto the patio to check the hamburgers.
Pros: Has NFL Sunday Ticket on deck, slips you a $20 every time you part ways.
Cons: Incredibly wack barbecues, strictly beer and wine at the reception.
Super cool dad, but makes it very clear that there will be no “shenanigans” in this house. Not on his watch.
Pros: Stylish bride-father dancer, can be talked into beer pong.
Cons: That one-on-one moment early on when he looks you dead in your eyes and says “You take care of her, or there will be consequences. Y’hear?'”
The knee jerk reaction is you’d rather have Vladimir Putin as your father-in-law than Nick Saban. At least with Putin, your demise would come swiftly and at the ruthlessly efficient hands of a Cossack halberdier.
But upon further review, having Nick Saban as your husband or wife’s father would come with a lot of perks for the price of a couple hurried family dinners and high-T handshakes. Because you are not football, and unless your actions come between him and his only one, Saban will have no reason to throw a treble hook through your jugular notch and feed you to the defensive line. Pros: All the Mercedes you can drive, free drinks at any bar within a 40-mile radius of Tuscaloosa.
Cons: Slim possibility of you being murdered via defensive end.
Jim McElwain is the call-you-just-to-talk father-in-law who’s super proud of your new job and can’t wait to see you at Thanksgiving. Is quick with a terrible pun and will explain to you at length this new “juicing” thing he and the wife are trying out. It’s all about “positive microbes.”
Pros: Gives you carte blanche for the wedding, shows up randomly with tupperware full of pigs-in-a-blanket.
Cons: Oppressively supportive.
At the tender age of 39, Barry Odom would be more like a bro-in-law than patrician. Bonding with the Missouri head coach would probably involve a Spartan Run, a family viewing of Die Hard and several Diesel tallboys.
Pros: Deep convos, will give you buckets and touchdowns on the console of your choice.
Cons: Random noogies, insists that “Work Hard, Play Hard” be inscribed on the wedding cake.
This is an honorable mention, because Les Miles was, until this Sunday, a strong competitor for the pinnacle of SEC father-in-laws. He is the perfect mixture of “You kids having fun?” and “Don’t tell your mom [hammers one-hitter in the garage].”
Pros: Definitely getting drunk at this P.F. Chang’s.
Cons: Inevitably having to post bail for your spouse’s dad.
Unrepentant Cool Dad with a fire shoe game who isn’t afraid to bust out the thighs for a season-opener. Having Dan Mullen as a father-in-law is only a bummer if you’re bothered by the thought of being more washed than your spouse’s parents.
Pros: On-point with his long-distance beer throws, cops you matching Yeezys for the honeymoon.