Our CBS Sports college football writers spoke with one-fifth of the 129 active coaches leading FBS teams entering the 2018 season. They asked for their honest opinions on everything from NCAA rules to social issues to their peers in the profession. We will be sharing their candid thoughts over a two-week period leading into the season.

Despite all the time spent setting rosters, game planning, strategist and recruiting, all coaches have at least some downtime in the offseason. Many have lake houses. Some share vacation homes. Others like to leave the country and get away from it all. Ultimately, though, no one understands the life of a college football coach better than another college football coach, which is why many hang out with one another -- either on purpose or by happenstance -- in the offseason.

But who ultimately is the coach who is sought out most by his peers? CBS Sports decided to find out by polling active FBS coaches as to who they would most want to grab a beer and hang out with in the limited downtime they get each year.

Who's the coach you'd most like to grab a beer and chill out with?


Mike Leach, Washington State

29 percent

Nick Saban, Alabama

12 percent

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

8 percent

14 other coaches received votes
Graphic illustration by Michael Meredith

Explain yourselves

  • "I [had a beer with Mike Leach] last night. It was straight running storytime." 
  • "I would say Mike Leach. I did that a couple of years ago, and I was scared." 
  • "Segue to segue to segue to segue. It ended up [with Leach] catching sturgeon in the Williamette River in Oregon is how it ended up."
  • "The Pirate for sure. We were supposed to go hang out in Key West when I was in Florida. Him and Steve Spurrier at one time were the only two coaches in the country who could get away with whatever the hell they wanted. He's the most unique guy in the game right now. I love listening to him."
  • "I met [Nick Saban] years ago when we played them and he was at Michigan State. I don't care where you are. To stay at the top for that long is really hard to do. There's really no give to it. No matter how much success they have, they never waiver."
  • "I'll be honest with you. I wasn't the biggest fan of [Urban Meyer], but I spent a little time with him, and he's a competitor. Everything is about winning and losing. He's always thinking outside the box."
  • "Chip Kelly at UCLA. I think he has a lot of unique ideas -- not that I agree with all of them, but he has interesting ideas in how to practice and prepare for games. He has an interesting style of offense."

Breaking it down

It's clear that some of the coaches we interviewed took this question as it was intended to be -- lighthearted -- while others could not break away from "the game" and were instead focused on who they could talk shop with over a cold beverage. Still, those who took the former route are clearly either intrigued by what a conversation with Leach would be like -- or they've experienced it themselves and want to go back for another round.

Votes were cast for some coaches who are no longer active, including Steve Spurrier and Bret Bielema. Just a couple years ago, Spurrier likely would have been near the top of the voting here, and those lucky enough to still get the opportunity to have beers with him today can probably attest to that.

Our college basketball brethren here at CBS Sports asked this same question a couple years ago, and the results were similar with one coach receiving 29 percent of the vote and the next two floating near double digits.

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