And boom goes the dynamite!
The inevitable end of the Tim Brewster means the beginning of the *insert new coach's name* Era. Who will be your next Golden Gopher head coach? Nobody really knows. Just when you think you have a pretty solid list of potential candidates then the University goes out and hires an NFL Tight Ends coach we've never heard of. Or on the other end of the scale maybe they go out and sign an former national championship winner who leaves a premier program to coach the Gophers (I'm referring to Tubby).
The fact is we have no idea who the University is targeting or who they will hire. This is pure speculation based on the scuttlebutt around Gopher Nation and scouring the football world for guys that might make some sense. There are pros and cons to everybody being mentioned as a potential candidate. I'm no expert but I'd like to profile as many potential candidates as I can get to in the coming days/weeks until a new coach is announced.
Here is just some of the criteria I've been using to filter the extensive list of potential candidates to be your next Golden Gopher head coach.
Experience - preferably as a head coach but quality experience as a coordinator is sufficient. Coaching at the collegiate level is also preferred.
Proven winner - hiring a coach who has shown he can do more with less is ideal.
- Ties to Minnesota or Big Ten - something that makes me believe this coach isn't going to leave for the first opening in another part of the country. I realize this is not a destination job and we may eventually lose whoever we hire, but some guys are more likely to stick around than others.
- Recruiting - this is still vitally important to a collegiate program. Someone with demonstrated ability to bring in talent is important. Winning helps recruiting a lot but you then still have to bring in more talent.
Looking up at that list it looks like back in 2007 Maturi started at the bottom of the list and worked his way up. All are important but I'm going to try and stick with my list above in that specific order.
With that said I've been compiling a massive list of possible replacements, the fluid list is currently sitting at 34 names. I've broken it down into groups like current assistants, currently in NFL, currently not coaching and Mountain West coaches. The list has names that are completely unrealistic and guys that will probably be interviewed. Once again I should point out that back in 2007 the list would have looked something like Charlie Strong, Lane Kiffin, Gary Patterson and a few others who all would have been usurped by a certain Bronco's Tight Ends coach. So my list of 34 names probably has a 505/50 shot at having the right guy on there somewhere.
So no more teasing the list is after the jump...
Keep in mind this is just a list. A lot of the guys on this list are extreme long shots and guys who probably won't even be contacted about the job. I'm planning to profile a lot of this list but certainly not everyone. For instance Kyle Whittingham is on the list even though there is a less than 1% chance that he'd even be interested. I should probably take him off but I'll leave him for now. The coaches with an asterisk are ones I am planning to profile.
The Unemployment Group (4)
* Mike Leach - (former HC at Texas Tech) - popular among fans, might be too edgy for administration
- Mark Richt - (assuming he gets fired as HC at Georgia) - has a great win% in SEC
Phil Fulmer - (former HC at Tennessee) - won a national championship, might want another shot to prove he can coach
- Tony Dungy - (former HC for Indianapolis) - I don't know why I put him here, there's a better chance I'd get the job than there is that he'd accept it.
The Mountain West Group (5)
- * Troy Calhoun - (HC at Air Force) - has done a lot with huge challenges at UAF
- * Brady Hoke - (HC at San Diego State) - former Michigan ast, turned around Ball State
Chris Peterson - (HC at Boise State) - highly unlikely but we are a BCS school
Kyle Whititngham - (HC at Utah) - even less likely since Utah is moving to Pac10
Gary Patterson - (HC at TCU) - not likely supposedly turned us down in 2007
- Bronco Mendenhall - (HC at BYU) - successful, has beat BCS programs
Other Head Coaches (10)
- * Jim Harbaugh - (HC at Stanford) - not likely but might want to get back to Big Ten
- * Kevin Sumlin - (HC at Houston) - former Gopher coach, offensive guy
- * Al Golden - (HC at Temple) - Big Ten guy, turned around Temple, might be waiting for Penn St job
- * Dale Lennon (HC at Southern Illinois) - has been very successful at FCS, from North Dakota
- Norries Wilson - (HC at Columbia) - former Gopher, former OC at UConn, not likely
- Larry Fedora - (HC at Sothern Miss) - great coach and recruiter, formerly OC at Florida and OK State
- Randy Edsall - (HC at UConn)
- DeWayne Walker - (HC at New Mexico St) - former Gopher, former DC at UCLA
- Mike Stoops - (HC at Arizona) - former Iowa player, might like a move back to Big Ten, not likely
The Assistants Group (10)
- Brian Harsin - (OC at Boise St) - another bright offensive guy, an "up and comer"
- Major Applewhite - (OC at Oklahoma) - young and successful
- * Dan McCarney - (Ast at Florida, former ISU HC)
- Jim McElwain - (OC at Alabama) - formerly coached at Michigan St
- Brent Venables - (DC at Oklahoma) - successful defensive guy
- Kirby Smart - (DC at Alabama) - a Georgia guy who may get Georgia job, not likely a B10 candidate
- Teryl Austin - (DC at Florida) - former Mich and PSU assistant, from Pennsylvania
- Calvin McGee - (OC at Michigan) - bright offensive guy who might like a chance at a HC
Shane Beamer - (Defensive Ast and recruiting coordinator at South Carolina) - Frank Beamer's son, good recruiter, not enough experience
- Todd Grantham - (DC at Georgia) - Big Ten ties coaching at Michigan State
The NFL Group (5)
- * Casey Bradley - (DC at Seattle) - Minnesota native, coached under Monte Kiffin at Tampa, was DC at NDSU for several years.
- * Marc Trestman (HC in CFL) - Minnesota native, former Gopher QB, extensive college and pro coaching experience
- Mike Singletary (HC at San Francisco) - on the hot-seat in SanFran
- Darrel Bevel (OC at Minnesota) - knows Joel Maturi, has coached in Big Ten
Leslie Frasier (DC at Minnesota) - desperately wants (and deserves) a shot at HC position, would get recommendation from Dungy and if Dungy is involved in the hiring process he'll get a look
I will add to this list as other names pop up and look forward to more detail profiling of the *starred* candidates. I've identified 9 guys on this list that I'll start profiling. Mostly I picked these guys based on the consensus of all five TDG writers and then a few others who are strong and viable candidates. 8 of the 9 are currently head coaches and I think this is going to be reflective of the actual coaching search. The likelihood that we hire an assistant is slim, though not out of the realm of possibility.
So there you have it. The List. It is incomplete and fluid and flawed. I'll make changes as necessary.