CFSL Mount Rushmores: Athletic Directors
By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)
There have been a lot of great ADs in CFSL history, so narrowing this list down to just four was incredibly difficult. However, that didn’t stop the Content Team from doing just that. Here are the four best Athletic Directors in the history of the CFSL.
Wookie (aka Josh Claydon)
Only one AD in CFSL history can claim multiple National Championships and he did it in back-to-back seasons. Notre Dame legend Josh Claydon led a team to heights never achieved before. For that reason (and many others) he was a uniamous choice for this list.
Claydon started coaching at Northern Illinois but is best known for his legendary run at Notre Dame. They set many records under his leadership that are still standing. Like most championships under the same AD, only back-to-back champions, and the CFSL longest winning streak. Claydon also led Notre Dame to a conference title and won AD of the Year in Season 12.
Claydon led the Irish from Season 11 until he stepped down from the position in Season 17. During that time, Notre Dame won more than 58% of their games. Wookie hasn’t ruled out a return to the AD ranks, but there doesn’t seem to be any plan in place for him to take over a team anytime soon. Right now he is enjoying his retirement from the coaching ranks. Whether he returns or not, Claydon deserves to be on this list. Congrats to the Irish legend.
Grin (aka Tom Pence)
Much like Bobby Bowden in real life, the name Tom Pence is synonymous with Florida State in the CFSL. Only one AD has spent more time with the same team in CFSL history (and he is on this list). The Seminoles will be forever grateful for the impact Pence has had on their program.
At the time of this writing, Pence is the only AD to win a conference title three separate times. Pence claims a .586 winning percentage, the second-best on this list. Under his leadership, Florida State has enjoyed many great seasons, but none are better than their Season 14 campaign. That year Florida State went 10-1, won the National Championship, and Pence earned a Coach of the Year Award.
Tom Pence is the only active athletic director to make our list. There isn’t any plan for his tenure to end any time soon. There isn’t much in the CFSL (or life) that always remains the same. However, you can always count on death, taxes, and Pence leading a talented Florida State team. Congrats to the Seminole legend.
OKST56 (aka Houston Freeman)
Houston Freeman brought Oklahoma State into the CFSL and immediately made them a competitor. In their first season, the Cowboys won a conference title and Freeman was named Coach of the Year. That was just the beginning of a legendary coaching career.
Under Freeman, Oklahoma State won a staggering 67% of their games. That is by far the most of anyone on this list. Oklahoma State made the playoffs in five of his seven seasons of coaching. However, a playoff win eluded him. That all changed in Season 15. After losing the first game Freeman led the Cowboys on a 10-game winning streak that included the National Championship Game.
Freeman rode off into the sunset after winning that title. He hasn’t ruled out a return to the AD ranks one day, but right now he is focused on his young family. If he did return any team would love to have him. However, there is only likely one team that this Cowboy would be interested in. Congrats to the Poke legend.
Pack (aka Matt Pack)
There has never been a coach to spend more time with a team than Matt Pack. Pack was the AD of Auburn from the very start of the league. He spent 14 seasons leading the Tigers and amassed many records and accolades in that time. He was a no-brainer for this list.
Pack has won 74 games as an AD, which is the most in CFSL history. The longevity helps this record, but it didn’t hurt that he won 54% of his games during that stretch. Pack also led the Tigers to their only National Championship in Season 7.
If you spend any time around the folks who have been around the league for a while they all have nothing but the best things to say about Pack. He was a brilliant game planner, who had a knack for getting the most out of his teams. Congrats to the Tiger legend.