Thanks to GN's informative and exhaustive coaching profiles, we've been telling you a lot about who the candidates are for the Minnesota Gopher football head coaching position. There's been a LOT of names thrown around already, and I'm sure more to come that we hadn't thought of or head of (hopefully none that are career position coaches with no experience as a coordinator or head coach) before a coach is hired sometime before Christmas (I hope).
As I've read GN's profiles, and read and heard about more and more candidates, I've decided we're not going to get the perfect candidate. The perfect candidate, like TCU's Gary Patterson or Boise's Chris Petersen (Jim Harbaugh falls in this category too) won't come here because they're already in better situations and can get better jobs than this. So anybody we look at is going to have some negatives, and is going to have some things to prove. It's not going to be an easy decision for Maturi because unless they get a Tubby-like candidate who steps down from a bigger job to come here, every guy he talks to is going to have something negative or something to prove.
I've been reading your comments in some of these, about how you don't like this coach because of this, or that coach because of that, or for someone like Brady Hoke, who some people said were boring or wouldn't get the fanbase going. I'm not saying you're wrong for writing that, it's just that EVERYBODY who will be considered is going to have some warts on their resume. There's not a candidate out there who I've heard mentioned as a real possibility where the entire fanbase is going to go "YES! Great hire!" No matter who the guy is know this: he'll be an upgrade over Brewster, and he'll have some detractors and doubters.
They've been running a poll on Gopherhole for awhile about who people want to see as the next coach, so I thought we might as well give everyone a chance here to say who they like, and if you want, who you don't like. Go nuts, because what else do we have to do? Look forward to getting blown out by Ohio State Saturday night? Exactly. Leave your top 3 or top 5 (or top 10) in the comments section, and feel free to include guys you really DO NOT like as well.
For what it's worth (or as they say on the interwebs FWIW) here's my top 5 (again assuming Patterson, Petersen, Harbaugh and others of that ilk won't take the job)...
1. Mike Leach
I've never been turned off by the lawsuit and his dismissal in Lubbock. Did he lock Craig James' kid in an equipment shed for being a whiner? I do believe he did, but I also believe Texas Tech was looking for any reason to fire him after some contentious contract extension talks. He gave it to them, and do you think it's just a coincendence they canned him before an investigation was finished one day before they owed him $1.7 million? I do not.
He's not for everyone, and maybe his style and personality wouldn't jive with what's usually a more conservative administration, but I don't care. The man can coach, and the man can win. He turned TTU into a Big 12 contender with a high-flying offense. I am not worried about bringing his Air Raid offense here because I believe he's smart enough to adapt to the situation. He'd make great use of MarQueis Gray as QB and just thinking what Da'Jon McKnight would do in his offense made me pee myself. Just a little bit.
There's talent here, especially on offense, and I think he'd get us turned around and into a legitimate program faster than anyone else available. He'd also scare the bejeesus out of every DC we'd face. Oh, and did I mention his graduation rates at Texas Tech were some of the best in the nation?
2. Al Golden
Any season where Temple finishes above .500, Golden should be named Coach of the Year. It's hard to even describe just how gawd-awful that program was just a short time ago, and now he's winning games there on a regular basis. I know he hasn't recruited well there, but he's proven he can recruit the right kind of kids for his systems and coach them to win. That's all I need to know.
3. Brady Hoke
Went 12-1 at Ball State before taking over a putrid San Diego State program that hadn't won since the had Marshall Faulk in 1994. In just his second season he already has them at 5-2. Yeah, he doesn't even have an overall winning record, but these things take time, and he's gone to two very different places that are both difficult to win at, and he's won. Again, I don't care about his recruiting because it's tough to get 3, 4 or 5 star kids to those places. What I do care about is that like Golden he wins, and does it by finding kids to fit his system.
4. Kevin Sumlin
Before the season he was my top choice of realistic candidates. Then his Houston Cougars started 4-3 and I began to wonder if his offense was just a flash-in-the-pan kind of thing. But after some further research, I found out he not only lost preseason Heisman candidate QB Case Keenum for the season with injury, but he then lost backup junior Cotton Turner too. So he's now piecing together an offense with two freshmen QB, already has the Cougars 3-1 in Conference USA. So that has me back on board. Concerns about his defenses? Yes. His recruiting? Yes. But I still think he's the fourth best candidate we can get, and I like that's he coached here at The U before.
5. Troy Calhoun
An NFL pedigree and plenty of success as a head coach at the collegiate level with Air Force. Maybe my favorite thing about him, besides the winning, is the fact he runs the triple option offense. Not because I like that offense, but because it's NOT HIS OFFENSE! Calhoun came from the NFL and obviously ran pro style offenses there. He got to Colorado Springs and decided that instead of blowing the whole thing up, he'd keep the offense predecessor Fisher DeBerry had run forever, and it's paid off. I have no doubt whatsoever that he'd tailor an offense to suit our talent, and as he's done at Air Force, have no problems finding kids to run it, and run it well.