Now that Texas is back in the market for a head football coach, who should the Longhorns target?
Here’s a look at various candidates ranging from dreamboats to guys that Texas should at least give a look-see.
ONLY IN YOUR DREAMS
Nick Saban, Alabama
If you believe all the rumors, Miss Terry still owns three houses in Spanish Oaks purchased in 2013.
Record at Alabama: 116-18 in 10 seasons
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Not sure why Meyer would leave the Buckeyes when he averaged 13.5 wins through the his first four seasons and captured the 2014 national championship.
Record at Ohio State: 60-5 in five seasons
IT’S A LONGSHOT
Chris Peterson, Washington
Peterson was 92-12 in eight seasons at Boise State and moved to Washington in part because it was in the same geographic region. He’s spent most of his professional career on the West Coast. Peterson has no known ties to Texas. Strong had virtually no experience recruiting in the state, and it took him a full year to win over Texas high school coaches.
Record at Washington: 26-13 in three seasons
Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Bring your own guts to Austin? Swinney stumbled the first three seasons in Clemson but finally broke through with a 10-4 campaign in 2011 when the Tigers reached the Orange Bowl. Swinney’s firebrand persona really turned heads last season when Clemson reached the College Football Playoffs championship. He’s 10-1 this season as Clemson is ranked second.
Record at Clemson: 85-28 in nine seasons
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Fisher was rumored for the Texas job after Mack Brown was forced out, but he ultimately got a raise just before the 2013 national championship game. In January 2015, Fisher signed a new deal that stretched to 2022 and paid him more than $5 million annually and offered more money for his assistants. Whatever Texas can offer, Florida State can match.
Record at Florida State: 76-17 in seven seasons
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Why not make the call? Politically, it may not be palatable, and UT President Gregory L. Fenves would have to make one heck of a sales pitch. Stoops probably wouldn’t do it without the blessing of OU President David Boren, who may be close to retirement anyway. The Sooners have posted double-digit winning seasons five times already this decade.
Record at Oklahoma: 188-48 in 18 seasons
THE CLUBHOUSE LEADER
Tom Herman, Houston
Far and away the hottest candidate out there, especially after Houston knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma in the season opener and demolished No. 5 Louisville on Nov. 17. Losses to Navy, to SMU and on Friday to Memphis didn’t so much dampen enthusiasm as it prompted real introspection among the Texas faithful. He’s been a head coach only two seasons. At least Strong had four years under his belt. Is this the coach you really want?
Record at Houston: 22-4 in two seasons
HE’S AVAILABLE TODAY
Schools usually go in the complete opposite direction of the coach they just fired. Strong was a fundamental X-and-O coach but wasn’t so hot at the CEO part of the job. He wasn’t always comfortable in large settings but excelled in one-on-ones. Miles, the recently fired LSU coach, has 142 wins and two national title appearances on his resume. At 62, Miles may skew a tad older, but the “Mad Hatter” would be ready to prove a lot of doubters wrong.
Record at LSU: 114-34 in 12 seasons
OTHER REALISTIC CHOICES
Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Whittingham, who took over the Utah job full time in 2005, now has more than 100 wins in the Rocky Mountains. Even when things went bad, the school stuck with him and it paid off. After two 5-7 seasons in 2012 and 2013, the Utes bounced back to finish 10-3 last season. Realistically, when was the last time Whittingham’s name has ever been mentioned for a major job?
Record at Utah: 103-49 in 13 seasons
Jim Mora, UCLA
It’s long been forgotten, but former Texas athletic director Steve Patterson wanted to hire Mora in 2013. Mora didn’t seem all that interested, though. Since that time, his star has faded to a degree. The Bruins went 10-3 in 2014 and 8-5 last season. UCLA got as high as 16th this season but had a 3-5 record heading into November.
Record at UCLA: 41-23 in five seasons
HEY, WHAT ABOUT…
Larry Fedora, North Carolina
Fedora’s name continues to surface with various key constituents, although it’s unclear why. He was 34-19 in four seasons at Southern Mississippi and posted only one 10-win season at North Carolina since 2012. He actually had a 6-7 mark in 2014.
Record at North Carolina: 40-24 in five seasons
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Age is certainly on Fuente’s side. The Tulsa, Okla., native turned 40 last July. Fuente had an uphill battle at Memphis, posting two losing season before a 10-3 campaign in 2014. Then, he won nine more games in 2015 and took over for the retiring Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. It seems like he needs more seasoning and wouldn’t want to up and leave Blacksburg just yet.
Record at Virginia Tech: 8-3 in one season
NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT
He’d bring a dynamite offense that fits the current personnel. He’d want to drive opponents into the dirt. With his Texas drawl, he’d be a throwback to the olden days. But Briles is simply untouchable for UT officials given everything that allegedly happened at Baylor. How much did Briles know about the various sexual assaults happening among his players? Those are murky waters that Texas officials don’t want to wade into.
Record at Baylor: 65-37 in eight seasons
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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