High-level college football referees have a very difficult job. They are never in the spotlight unless something terrible happens and, for the most part, they are good at what they do. As you may expect, even the best of the best take heat from various coaches while they are simply trying to do their job and four powerhouse coaches apparently stand out above the rest.
Jon Solomon of CBS Sports broke down some ugly coaching behavior toward referees and, within his piece, he highlighted four of the most high-profile coaches in the country as those who make the negative list. Other notable names include former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen, but the quartet of headliners is Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, former Florida State and current Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and, of course, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
The piece cites Fisher has putting together “an epic rant while arguing over a chop block call against Clemson with the Seminoles’ sideline getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty”, noting that he was fined for comments after the fact. In the case of Swinney, his sideline explosion during the National Championship Game is already the stuff of legend and he has a big-time reputation for animation.
Saban is perhaps the most understated (insert laughter here) of the bunch, but Harbaugh is easily the most prolific and visible. He was flagged for a personal foul in the Ohio State game for flinging his play sheet and Harbaugh has repeatedly blasted officials in post-game comments during his Michigan tenure.
It has to be noted that referee abuse goes far beyond the most famous names in the sport but, the next time you see one of these coaches going crazy on the sidelines, remember that somebody has to listen to that barrage while simply trying to work.