Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coaching Carousel Update

Penn State-  Reportedly Dan Mullen is tops on their list and while he's a good coach, he's a far cry from Urban Meyer, and all of the other names that have been mentioned for the past few weeks.  I'm not even sure if Mullen will take the job.  If he doesn't, I think there will be a big gap to the next choice.  Charlie Strong is another option but he lost to a Tino Sunseri led team at home so I wouldn't get excited about him. Both are good coaches but they are not at Penn State standards.  Virginia head coach Mike London and Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald are also being mentioned but London can wait for a job with less headaches and Fitzgerald already turned down Michigan in the past and that job then is better than Penn State's job now.  Bottom line, it only takes one excellent coach to make the leap but it may be hard to find that one person under the circumstances.

Illinois-  Reportedly Illinois AD Mike Thomas has already talked to Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, somebody I thought that Pitt should take a look out before hiring Mike Haywood (and they did).  Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is also being mentioned.  If they want to go for head coach experience Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones is a strong candidate.

Washington State-  It appears Washington State AD Bill Moos wants Mike Leach, who again is hot after he was No. 1 on my list before the hiring of Haywood.  Yes, Leach is a nut job, but in the light of current events, putting a spoiled kid in a shed almost seems quaint now.  He is an offensive genius and he puts people in the seats with his craziness.  But he may be able to do better and I'm assuming he will wait to see if he can.  Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen and Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox are also possibilities.

Arizona State-  This is definitely one of the better jobs available.  For that reason,   Leach will definitely be interested and Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, who has been highly coveted for a few years, may also finally make the move.  Sumlin would be a home run.  Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has expressed an interest in the job, but it's unlikely that he's at the top of the list.  Former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti will also be mentioned here as well as every opening on the west coast.

UCLA-  This is the best job available and UCLA has long been considered a sleeping giant in college football.  The word is, the Bruins will offer Boise State head coach Chris Peterson 3 million dollars a year to make the move.  If they do, and he doesn't take it, he needs to have his head examined.  Winning big at Boise State is admirable but that can't last forever.  Better make the move when you still can.  But don't think Pederson would be a guaranteed success at UCLA, or many other places. The truth is, Boise State has a lot of kids that most schools wouldn't take. UCLA for one has much higher standards.  If he does turn it down, Sumlin will be on the short list.  Bellotti is another option.

Mississippi (I refuse to call them Ole Miss)-  Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart looks to be first on the list with Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze also in the top three.

North Carolina-  Another excellent job and a program that's a sleeping giant.  Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has been mentioned often because he knew North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham when both were at Tulsa, but part of being the head coach at a place like North Carolina is to schmooze the blue bloods.  Malzahn lost major points in that department when video surfaced of an interview that his wife did recently in which she seems certifiably insane.  Cunningham went to school with South Florida head coach Skip Holtz and he is expected to be on the short list as is Sumlin.

Kansas-  Another school that has Leach very high on their list but once again he may want better.  He does have a long relationship with Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger, however, and obviously knows the Big 12, so they may just get their man.  Southern Miss's Fedora is also a possibility.

Big names that still may go:

Randy Edsall, Maryland-  What a bad hiring this was.  He did wonders at UConn but he's been a total disaster in College Park.  To make matters worse, Maryland is dropping sports programs because they are losing tons of money.  And now, newspaper journalists are trashing him and calling for his head.

Mike Sherman, Texas A&M-  The only reason he hasn't been fired yet is because he has a huge buyout and the school needs the money to bolt the Big 12.  But 25-25 at the school including a hugely disappointing 6-6 this season are two reasons why they can't be happy to be stuck with him.


  1. A&M has a huge endowment (though clearly their football players don't) and plenty of well-heeled alums. I don't think money will be an object in getting rid of Sherman. I tend to think he has lasted b/c any decent AD needs to give a coach a few seasons.

    As for Edsall, MD can't afford to can him and eat the contract. Shouldn't he get a couple of seasons. Friedgen was dumped in a far ruder fashion than Wanny, had more loyalists than Wanny (and left with more class). A remarkably mishandled situation by the MD AD.

    Leach is a genius/whack job. The way he left Tech and the fact that sleazy Craig James is still at ESPN hurts. Not that James is a big deal himself, but who wants enemies at ESPN. So, Leach is a severe underdog at any established program or establishment school (or ones with that pretension). So Wazzu is the perfect place for him.

    Why is NC such a great job? They seem to perpetually be the next big thing.

    UCLA is a mess. Even under probation and led by Kid Coach, USC has murdered them. Not sure they really have the cash you think. They are renovating Pauley and have to pay off Neuheisal. Given the funding cuts to the UC system, a big payday contract for a football coach would be a huge political problem. Unless the boosters pick up 1/2 or more of the salary, $3m seems a lot.

    The interesting case out there to me is Schiano. Passed on big jobs to stay at Rutgers. Rutgers has spent a fortune to compete and it looks like a bust. They are definitely better, but seems like they have hit a ceiling. How are you going to compete in NYC with an average record of 8-5, playing nobody in your stadium. Their strategy of an all-cupcake diet so they can go to some last-tier bowl may have made sense at first, but not now. It seems like it would make a lot more sense to schedule real programs -- they should be able to get home-home matchups with programs like OK State, Wisconsin, Tennessee -- if the home game for Rutgers is Yankee Stadium. Who wants to take the subway to the Bronx to watch lousy Army get run over by Rutgers?

    When you take a dispassionate look at the CFB landscape, you start to see that Pitt isn't so bad off -- or at least it could be a lot worse. God help the football players at Tulane.

  2. Texas A&M is actually finding it difficult to repay a 16 million dollar loan that they took out a few years ago because they were bleeding money. Now they have to pay to leave the Big 12. They're definitely hurting for money. And Sherman has been given a chance. He's been there four years and in his important fourth year he went 6-6 with a team that was preseason top 10.

    As for North Carolina, they are considered one of the more underachieving football programs in the country, but they have everything it takes to be much better. They're just not doing it.

    The LA Times is reporting a 3 million dollar offer is expected for Pederson so they're finding the money somewhere.

    I'm not sure what Schiano is thinking either. He turned down Michigan a few years ago to stay at Rutgers. That's just nuts. I can see not wanting to go to Illinois who tried to lure this time, but not Michigan.

  3. When there is something worth reporting, I think a lot of us would like to hear about the possible changes in the Pitt coaching staff given the Rich Rod situation. Personally I would not be to upset if Coach Magee left.

  4. Like Paul Zeise mentioned in the past week, Magee has a really cushy deal with Pitt so he may not go. Tony Gibson and Tony Dews are further down the totem pole and I could see them leaving more easily.

  5. People who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Frankly, I don't understand the man-crushes for Chris Peterson.

    The last two can't-miss coaches from Blue-Carpet U failed miserably under the bright city lights, especially Dan Hawkins out here at Colorado, arguably the worst head coach at a major school since they wore leather helmets. I still would like an explanation how he managed to blow a 28-point 4th quarter lead vs. gawd-awful Kansas.

    And before Hawk-Love hit Boulder, Dick Koetter didn't do much better at ASU.

    Maybe Pete should take the money. But maybe he's smart: there are worse things than being the big fish in a small pond.

  6. But if Chris Peterson DOES jump for the big money at UCLA, he'd better get enough to last a lifetime. If he whiffs as bad as the other Boise coaches before him, he may never coach again.

    Dunno what Dick Koetter is doing today. But last I heard Dan Hawkins' voice, he was covering a HIGH SCHOOL game on ESPN-whichever with Pam whats-her-face. Which means he's probably making more money than me (and still being paid by CU), but the high-water mark in his coaching career is behind him.

  7. Leach now at Wazzu -- just the right place for him, a desperate program in the middle of nowhere. Even if he doesn't win, he'll give Oregon and Stanford fits.

    Interesting about A&M's financial problems. Given how rabid its trustees and major donors were to leave for the SEC and the choke job against Texas, I would be surprised if they didn't pull out all the stops to raise the cash to get rid of Sherman. Another failed pro coach failing in college.

    Given the turmoil in the BE, it would make sense for any coach in the rump schools to be looking for a place to escape to. I think it's pretty unlikely any of the remaining schools have much of a near-term chance to jump to a major conference.

  8. .... no one leaves Boise State and succeeds, no one comes to Colorado and makes it out alive.

    Maybe the Red Sox curse moved to Boulder (or the Cubs curse moonlights there).

  9. How insulated from a scandal that has not yet landed is Penn State football? When does Delany become concerned (i.e. loss of $$, the only thing he cares about)about the negative effect Penn State's scandal is having on the Big Ten's reputation? Save for a few years the scandal parallels Penn State's Big Ten affiliation. The uncertainty - and I have read the Lions could be kicked out of the Big Ten - must affect the coaching search, or least turn off some big name candidates.