Round & Round: NCAA Football Coaching Carousel Continues

Paul FulwilerCorrespondent INovember 19, 2008

Well, you can scratch Will Muschamp off everyone’s list.  Thanks to the new sensation soon to be sweeping across college football—naming a “coach-in-waiting”Texas named the 37-year-old Muschamp, in just his first year with the Longhorns, the heir-apparent to Mack Brown’s Big 12 power.  With that, here’s what’s hot and cold with all the coaching vacancies:


1. Washington

The Huskies continue to lose.  Not only football games (where they sit at 0-10 on the season) and basketball games (tipping off their season with a loss at Portland) but now, it appears, with Texas latching on to Muschamp, they’ve lost out on what appeared to be AD Scott Woodward’s top pick.  So that leaves the search to replace Ty at:


Jim Mora (Seahawks Asst.)

We know that he has indicated that he plans to remain with the Seahawks, and take over as Head Coach when Mike Holmgren exits in 2009.  Nevertheless, there is some recent buzz that the Huskies haven’t have given up going after a man who claimed this was his dream job, and basically lost his Falcons gig for saying so.


Kyle Whittingham (Utah HC)

The more he wins and the closer he gets to a BCS game, the easier the sell job Woodward will have to the fans, alumni, players, etc. that he is a big-time hire and their first choice all along.


Pat Hill (Fresno State HC)

Again, he has a 91-59 record with the Bulldogs (6-4 in 2008) and just the one conference championship, tying for the WAC title in 1999.  Still seems like this would be the Huskies settling.


Others (more lukewarm than hot):

Lane Kiffin (former Raiders HC), Brent Venables (Oklahoma DC), Dave Christensen (Missouri OC, former Husky), Bobby Hauck (Montana HC), Steve Sarkisian (USC OC), DeWayne Walker (UCLA DC), Mike Riley (Oregon St. HC), Mike Haywood (Notre Dame OC)



Jeff Tedford (California HC)

Much talk about the Cal head coach, but I can’t see the former Oregon OC leaving what he’s built in Berkeley to attempt another rebuilding job in Seattle.


Gary Pinkel (Missouri HC)

Don James’ former OC has a good thing going in Missouri and it would be highly unlikely if UW was able to pull him away from that.  In fact, James himself has said he would be surprised.


Chris Petersen (Boise St. HC)

Still can’t figure out why he isn’t being talked about more.  He is in the midst of his second undefeated season in Boise and possible second BCS Bowl (in just three years).  Is the Oregon connection (WR coach for the Ducks from 1995-2000) too much for the Husky faithful?



It appeared that it was Muschamp’s to lose.  And apparently things got so close (and perhaps close with other schools as well) that Texas felt they needed to lock him up.  That leaves UW scrambling for either a big name hire (Mora or Tedfordor perhaps Oregon St.’s Mike Riley), which seems unlikely, or going after Whittingham, which I think is their best shot. 

I still think they should make a run at Peterson, perhaps give Brian Kelly an interview, and if need be, settle on either Kiffin or Sarkisian, but they didn’t ask.  Who they are asking is a newly formed search committee, which includes Sophomore QB Jake Locker.  They have been asked to come up with some names by early December (their last game is December 6th vs. Cal). 

Reports are that the first interview lined up is with Mike Haywood, Notre Dame OC.  How’s that grab you, Husky fans?


2. Clemson

Now that the Tommy Bowden is out, Tommy Tuberville rumors have died out, and Will Muschamp is off the Tigers list as well, we’re left with:


Bud Foster (Virginia Tech DC)

Apparently interviewed well.  However, could he be the next to be named a “coach-in-waiting” at Virginia Tech?  Frank Beamer doesn’t seem to be too keen on the idea, but they are considering it.


Dabo Swinney (Interim Clemson HC)

He’s won two of three as interim head coach (over Duke and Boston College) and has the Tigers looking at a bowl game if he can beat either Virginia or South Carolina.  Winning both would go a long way.


Mike Leach (Texas Tech HC)

Seems to be the very popular choice right now for all the schools with a vacancy.  I think the Oklahoma game could be a huge factor in determining his future: win, and I think he stays and continues to build there, lose, and after the dust settles from their fall from the rankings and I can see him considering some offers.


Others (more lukewarm than hot):

Lane Kiffin (Former Raiders HC), Brian Kelly (Cincinnati HC)



Brent Venables (Oklahoma DC)

Bob Stoops’ defensive coordinator, despite his age, 37, is still somewhat in the running for this gig, but appears to have a better shot at his alma mater, Kansas State.


Bobby Johnson (Vandy HC)

The former Clemson player seemed the obvious choice.  He had Vandy at 5-0 and nationally ranked.  What happened?  Four straight losses happened.  A win over Tennessee might peak some interest.



I doubt Leach would choose Clemson over what he has at Texas Tech and if Virginia Tech locks up Foster, which looks probable, I see them giving Swinney (assuming he wins at least one more) a decent shot…at least through the bowl game.


3. Tennessee

As the rumors fly that the Vols are poised to make a big announcement, some new names have begun to surface for what is obviously a very coveted position: 


Mike Leach (Texas Tech HC):

See above under Clemson.


Brian Kelly (Cincinnati HC)

Getting a lot of buzz, including from hoop coach Bruce Pearl.  This may be a nice fall back if the big fish they’re attempting to lure don’t bite.


Lane Kiffin (former Raiders HC)

His name is still everywhere.  And I think Tennessee wouldn’t mind his ability to come in right now, shoring up recruiting, and potentially bringing in his father, Monte Kiffin (Tampa Bay DC), to help shore up the Vol D.


Others (more lukewarm than hot):

Tim Brewster (Minnesota HC), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest HC), Chris Petersen (Boise St. HC), Mike Riley (Oregon State HC)



Jim Leavitt (South Florida HC)

This might be Tennessee’s backup plansee Pat Hill under UW’s search.  Good coach but is he what the Vols needed to replace Fulmer?


Butch Davis (North Carolina HC)

The Tennessee folks are still not giving up, despite his remarks that he was staying in Carolina.  Obviously all coaches have to say that, but it feels like Butch means it.  We’ll see.


David Cutcliffe (Duke HC)

Claims not to want the gig.  I still find it hard to believe, but we’ll see.



I still have a hard time with Leach moving on from Texas Tech, however, if things go south here at the end, Tennessee might look a bit more attractive.  Nevertheless, at this date, Brian Kelly looks to be leading over Lane Kiffin. 

Long shot: Mike Riley at Oregon State.  If he gets the Beavers to the Rose Bowl, the former Alabama DB might have his choice of jobs.


4. Kansas State

No apparent change to the situation here, however, I think Turner Gill needs to be given a much harder look from all these schools...


Gary Patterson (TCU HC)

It appears that if he wants the job, the former Wildcat, can have it.  Does he?


Brent Venables (Oklahoma DC)

Another former Wildcat.  He's young but could be just what the Wildcats need, to win back the fan base as well as recruits.


Bill Snyder (former KSU HC)

His 136-68-1 record at K-State still brings back fond memories for Wildcat fans.  He’s 69, but could be called upon to re-energize the Wildcat base.


Others (more lukewarm than hot):

Turner Gill (Buffalo HC), Todd Graham (Tulsa HC)



Dennis Franchione (former Texas A&M HC)

The former K-State assistant, who was let go just a year ago from A&M, still hasn’t been getting much play. He might be their out-card should other things fall through.



I’m starting to think they might land Patterson. However, Venables is sitting there, willing and able, and Turner Gill needs a decent look.


5. Syracuse:

Greg Robinson was let go this week and a whole crop of names have surfaced.


Randy Edsall (Connecticut HC)

He’s out there saying ‘no, thanks,' but we’ll see.


Turner Gill (Buffalo HC)

If Edsall is definitely out, the former Nebraska All-American QB would be an ideal candidate.  He’s right in Syracuse’s backyard and has worked wonders turning Buffalo into Mid-American Conference contenders.

Lane Kiffin (former Raider HC)

Here he is again.  With ties to Daryl Gross, the former USC Assistant AD who is now at Syracuse, he will be seriously considered.


Some other names that are neither hot nor cold:

Brian Schottenheimer (New York Jets OC)

Former Orange WR coach, with obvious football blood lines.  And he’s right in their backyard.


Dan Mullen (Florida OC), Major Applewhite (Texas Asst. HC), Stephen Addazio (Florida Asst. HC): All former Syracuse assistants.


Rob Ianello (Notre Dame Recruiting Coordinator):

The NY native is getting some buzz, but seems a huge long shot.


Other long shots: two other former assistants (not Nick Saban or Jim Tressel), Ed Orgeron and George O’Leary.



If Edsall is truly out, I think Turner Gill needs to be the choice, even with the connection to Kiffin.  Gill has the experience and is sitting right there in Buffalo.


6. New Mexico

Out goes Rocky Long, in steps…David Bailiff?  The current Rice head man (and former Lobo assistant) might be next in line, if he wants the job.  We’ll see…