Stanford Football: Brady Hoke and 10 Guys Who Could Replace Jim Harbaugh
Well, the speculation over Jim Harbaugh and his coaching future is officially over: as of Friday morning, Jim Harbaugh is officially a San Francisco 49er.
With that in mind, then, it's time for Stanford to start looking for someone to lead their team to continued success in 2011.
Popular opinion is that the head coach will be chosen from within the family, from coordinators or others with affiliation to Stanford University.
There are other coaching options out there though.
So, as Stanford limps away from the Jim Harbaugh era, it's time to take a look at 10 guys who could replace him for the Cardinal.
10. Gary Patterson
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Gary Patterson would be very difficult to lure away. The Cardinal would essentially be vouching on his love of competition.
With TCU now entering the Big East, they are now an automatic qualifying school, which means that Patterson no longer needs to worry about being left out of the BCS conversation if his team isn't ranked in the top four.
Stanford owes Patterson a phone call at the very least. He would fit right in at Stanford and would be taking over an equally talented football team.
9. Mike Leach
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After being denied the job at Maryland, Mike Leach is still on the lookout for a job.
He would probably like to coach at Stanford. They have a lot of talent and a star quarterback who he can anchor his pass-oriented offense on, and, well, their schedule isn't terribly challenging, so the transition period can be padded somewhat.
The big stopper here would be whether Stanford wants him or not. With his rough past and Air Raid offense, it would not only require an overhaul of player personnel, but he could also end up being a liability if another incident like the one that got him fired from Texas Tech occurred.
8. Brady Hoke
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I suppose the bottom of this list should feature the least likely candidates, and that would include San Diego State University head coach Brady Hoke.
There are a couple of top schools hot for Hoke, including Michigan, after his impressive job of turning around the SDSU football program.
Hoke would be able to do a lot with the Stanford football program, considering that he runs a pro-style offense and uses his running game much like Stanford does. His mentality is a fit, and there would have to be minimal turnover in terms of staff or style of play.
The only problem is, again, that Michigan may have him on the hook already.
7. Tom Bradley
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Tom Bradley's name has been thrown around in recent days as the search for a new head coach at Pittsburgh heats up.
As the defensive coordinator at Penn State for the last 10 years, Bradley has an excellent track record, especially since 2004, and has been at the head of a defense that regularly produces NFL-quality talent.
If the Cardinal wants him, they need to move fast. Bradley has already interviewed at Pitt and is slated to interview for the UConn head coaching job sometime in the near future.
6. Mark Stoops
The Stoops family has a great track record as far as head coaching goes: Bob Stoops is the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, Mike Stoops is the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats and Mark Stoops, the man in question, is currently the defensive coordinator for the Florida State Seminoles.
Mark Stoops has had success as a defensive coordinator wherever he has gone, and coming to a team with a lot of recent success on the defensive side of the ball like Stanford seems like the right fit for him.
With offensive coordinator David Shaw likely to remain to run the pro-style offense, Stoops could work well with current Stanford defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to make the Cardinal defense that much better.
5. Mark Richt
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A change of scenery might be right for Mark Richt right about now.
With his seat heating up in Georgia, Richt may be looking for a new job anyway, and what better place to start than Stanford?
He would inherit a top five team in the nation, he would still be able to recruit well and he would be free of the roadblock that the SEC continues to put between him and success (and I mean that in more of a recruiting sense than in a competition sense).
Of all the big name head coaches, Mark Richt seems like the most likely option.
4. Greg Roman
As the current assistant head coach, it's only fair that Greg Roman get his fair shot at being the next guy in line. He has coached alongside Harbaugh for the last two years, so he has a good idea of how the Stanford offense works, as well as how the team functions as a whole.
Placing Roman in the head coach position means minimal turnover and minimal risk. He knows the system, so why not give him a try?
3. Willie Taggart
For those of you who don't know, which is probably most of you, Willie Taggart is the current head coach of the wonderful Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Previous to that, though, Taggart has had several links to the Harbaugh family, most notably as the co-offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky under Jack Harbaugh, father of Jim and John Harbaugh.
This is how he ended up at Stanford three years ago. Joining new head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Taggart played the role of running backs coach from 2007 to 2009. Obviously he did all right, considering that Toby Gerhart, the Heisman runner-up from 2009, was produced from his coaching.
Taggart is a notoriously good recruiter, and his familiarity with the Harbaugh family and the manner of coaching at Stanford would mean that he would fit quite well as a replacement.
2. Vic Fangio
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In the span of one year, Vic Fangio has come into Stanford, changed its base formation on defense and turned the Cardinal from a team that had to outgun other teams to win to a team that was No. 10 in the nation in points against.
If he can do that for the defense, imagine what he could do for the whole team.
He would focus mainly on the defensive side of the football, which is a step away from what Stanford fans are used to, but his impact has been huge on the team thus far—that much is for certain.
1. David Shaw
As the current offensive coordinator and running backs coach for the Stanford Cardinal, David Shaw is probably towards the top of Bob Bowlsby's short list (Bowlsby is the athletic director for Stanford for those of you who don't know).
With nine years of NFL experience under his belt before coming to Stanford, including the role of passing offense coordinator of the 2006 San Diego Chargers, Shaw has been integral in shaping the extremely successful Stanford offense.
Moving him into the head coaching position would allow Stanford to continue comfortably with its pro-style offense and would mean minimal shake-up in the coaching staff.