Every year it happens, a big name program fires a big name coach. This year, some big name programs are firing some big name coaches and some programs are just firing big coaches (and some are doing both).
This part always interests me because it means programs get a whole new look. No two coaches do things the same way, and it’s a complete craps hoot unless you get a proven guy in there and there aren’t many coaches who can claim to be proven. Some coaches are good at recruiting and terrible at coaching (see: Zook, Ron). Some coaches don’t have to recruit because their school does it for them (a la Pete Carroll). I like to imagine his recruiting pitch being a whole lot like Peter Griffin’s anti-smoking speech before Congress. I think that’s pretty accurate.
Anyway, two coaches that I know of have already been fired: Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Louisville’s Steve Kragthorpe. One more is on thin ice: Kansas’ Mark Mangino (funny visual there) and one has voluntarily retired: Florida State’s Bobby Bowden.
Now it’s my turn to throw out the names of who I think would be the best fit for each school and who I think will actually be hired.
Notre Dame: I know we have at least one reader who has an intense dislike for the Fighting Irish and I know we have at least two others who are big fans. The only thing I think we’ll all agree on is that Charlie Weis is not a good football coach. I take that back, we can all agree that he’s one of the most strangely-shaped humans on earth. Weis coached Notre Dame for five years, guiding them to a 35-27 record overall, which is not good. But let’s not dwell on him, he’s gone. We’ll look to the future where surely the Irish boosters will be craving a huge name to make them forget about the disaster that has been the last three years. This guy seems to think that current Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has already joined the Irish. Inside info or not, I don’t think Stoops has a contract yet. I could definitely see him ending up there, Stoops has a giant ego and wouldn’t hesitate to bolt for a crazy amount of money which ND will offer. Honestly, I think Brian Kelly from Cincinnati would be the best option for the Irish. He’s a short four and half hours away, meaning they share the same recruiting ground, plus Kelly would be able to start and end his coaching legacy there if he chose. Stoops has the Oklahoma name attached to him at this point. Give Kelly a shot. He’ll cost less in the long run. In the end, I’ll bet they make Stoops the highest paid coach in college football. Then they can extend the tradition of getting to BCS games and losing.
Moving on to Louisville. Steve Kragthorpe took over for Bobby Petrino in 2007 when he bolted to the Atlanta Falcons before quitting on them midseason. The once promising Cardinals have fallen to a 15-21 record under his direction. I can honestly say I don’t care about Louisville football even a little bit so I bring them up only because of the person I think they’ll eventually hire: former Tennessee Volunteers coach, Phillip Fulmer. After being ousted by the Vols last year, Fulmer has stated that he would like to return to coaching if the opportunity presented itself. Well, Fulmer is a Tennessee native, so he’d be able to stay close to home and he’d already know the recruiting landscape. The fit seems to make too much sense, so it probably won’t happen, but that’s my pick.
If we started with one fat coach, Charlie Weis, and we moved to another fat coach, Phil Fulmer, then we’ve combined them and multiplied it by two to get current Kansas Jayhawks coach, Mark Mangino. The university is currently investigating Mangino for verbal abuse and mistreatment of his players. While I don’t like Mangino, I think this is a ploy by the Athletic Director, Lew Perkins, to fire Mangino and hire his own coach. Two years removed from the best year in the Jayhawk football history, Mangino will be looking for a job. So sad. Anyway, I’ve read several names from Kansas faithful that are way out of their league: Gary Patterson at TCU (just signed a contract extension tonight, so nevermind anyway), Jim Harbaugh from Stanford (Palo Alto, California or Lawrence, Kansas. Yeah, he’s not coming), and Brian Kelly from Cincy, (holding out for a huge job. A Notre Dame or Michigan job). The latest rumor is that Fulmer was in Lawrence last week to interview or talk about the job, which could happen. He did coach at Wichita State where he spent five years from 1974-1979. Still, I think it’s a long shot. KU’s recruiting ground is Texas, which Fulmer has never had to recruit before, realistically, this doesn’t make sense. The guy I’ve pegged to be the next coach is Randy Edsall from UConn. Perkins wants his guy to be the coach and Edsall is exactly that. Perkins hired Edsall at UConn and Edsall took the program to new heights. He’s developed several draft picks, including Donald Brown and Darius Butler. I think the Edsall-Perkins connection wins out in the end. Completely unrelated side note: apparently, Mangino used to be a semi-pro baseball player. Figure that out.
Finally we’ve reached Bobby Bowden, one of the greatest college coaches of all time. Bowden will finish with the second most wins in Division I history, behind only Joe Paterno. Bowden led the Seminoles to two national titles in 1993 and 1999 and had a string of 14 consecutive Top-5 finishes from 1987-2000, which is just incredible. He’ll be replaced in Tallahassee by his Coach-in-waiting, Jimbo Fisher. Fisher has some awfully large shoes to fill, but his name is Jimbo, so how can he not to well? Regardless, Bowden leaves the ‘Noles with a 315-97-4 record (388-112-4 overall) and one of the best coaching legacies of all time.
There you have it. Have some thoughts of your own? Leave them in the comments.
Filed under: NCAA Football | Tagged: Bob Stoops, Bobby Bowden, Brian Kelly, Charlie Weis, College Football, Florida State, Kansas Jayhawks, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA, NCAA Football, Notre Dame, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Phillip Fulmer, Randy Edsall, Steve Kragthorpe |