Now that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are finished taking care of business against Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, it is time for Mike Gundy to find a new offensive coordinator for his staff.
There are quite a few solid candidates out there. They almost all have connections to the Leach/Holgorsen coaching tree, obviously for good reason.
The one thing that is almost certain about Gundy’s search is that he will be looking for a coordinator who is willing to continue with the Air Raid offense the Cowboys already have in place.
Candidates must be judged by that factor along with their offensive background, experience and familiarity with Oklahoma State and its region.
Lincoln Riley is the offensive coordinator at East Carolina, a position he has held with great success for three seasons. During his tenure there, the Pirates have broken numerous school records offensively and have gone to a bowl game two of his three years.
Riley was groomed for seven seasons at Texas Tech by Mike Leach and Dana Holgorsen before following Ruffin McNeill to East Carolina after the 2009 season. While Riley looks like one of the best up-and-coming offensive minds available, the fact that he is just 29 years old will probably hurt his chances.
As crazy as it sounds, one of the best candidates for the offensive coordinator position at Oklahoma State is actually a former Oklahoma Sooner. Seth Littrell was a four-year letterman at Oklahoma, where he played fullback and running back and was part of the Sooners’ 2000 national championship team.
Do not count him out just yet though. Littrell is the offensive coordinator at Indiana under Kevin Wilson, where he runs a very similar offense to what Oklahoma State runs. Stints at Arizona and Texas Tech make him a proven offensive commodity, and he is also very familiar with the Oklahoma area, as he is from Muskogee.
This is the guy I am rooting for even though he may be a bit of a long shot to get the job.
Doug Meacham has been at Oklahoma State for eight years as an integral part of the offensive staff. The inside receivers coach, Meacham coached tight ends before that and was Oklahoma State’s passing game coordinator back when Mike Gundy was calling plays regularly.
Meacham is the only current member of the Oklahoma State staff that has any chance at this job, and he is very qualified for it. His advantages include his proven working relationship with Gundy, how well he has coached tight ends and receivers over the past eight season, and the fact that he played at Oklahoma State back in the 1980s.
Jason Phillips is one of the more intriguing and promising candidates for the job. He has more experience than most of the others on this list and a good familiarity with the Air Raid offense.
Phillips is currently the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at SMU under June Jones. He formerly served at Houston and ran its vaunted offense in the few seasons after Dana Holgorsen departed for Oklahoma State. A couple of seasons under Mike Leach at Texas Tech also speak to Phillips knowledge of the offense.
Having coached in the state of Texas for most of his career, Phillips would also be a good hire in terms of recruiting. Another advantage Phillips may have is in the multitude and variety of his experience, as he has coached and played at both the college and professional levels.
The reason that Dave Yost is No. 1 on this list is because he is really the only candidate anyone has reported serious rumors on.
Yost resigned from his post as Missouri’s offense coordinator after the 2012 season, a position he had served in since 2009. He had been at Missouri since 2001, serving as quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator.
While the Tigers did struggle offensively in the SEC this season, the years of Yost’s tenure in the Big 12 were marked by success. His offenses consistently achieved high rankings nationally. However, the fact that he has been a proponent of a running quarterback scheme could be a dealbreaker if he is unwilling to abandon it.