In the weeks after June Jones surprisingly resigned, there has been a lot of speculation over who could wind up being the next Head Coach on the hilltop. Right now, the Mustangs are in a deep mess and need to look at serious candidates who can bring in some the superb local talent and fire up a fan base which has been very slow to return. While it was a surprise to most within the program to see Jones leave, the coaching staff is working hard to turn this season around and make sure they can end on a high note. Interim Head Coach Tom Mason may be coaching for a full-time head coaching job, but there will be plenty of rumors about possible names to fill the spot vacated by June Jones.
The first candidate we need to look at is Interim Head Coach Tom Mason, he has been on the hilltop for the last seven seasons and helped turn around a sluggish defense into a respectable one. Mason is familiar with the program and is familiar with most of the players recruited and knows the players which are being recruited right now. It would make sense to keep him around because of the familiarity from top to bottom, but he wouldn’t be a “splash” hire which could ignite a fire under the program. But he would be a safe hire and continue things moving in the direction where they have been going.
Another Candidate who has been mentioned, but not widely discussed is current Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Derek Dooley. He has been on the hilltop before when he coached the same position in 1997-1999, so he does have some familiarity with Dallas and is a known name. He could probably build solid relationships with the high school coaches in the area. He would be a nice hire by name, but he doesn’t have a great track record at his previous head coaching stops, but all it would take is getting the Mustangs back on a winning track to change his perception in the coaching ranks.
He has a recognizable name, would have some credibility with recruits after coaching players like Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams in the NFL. This could be a smart hire for SMU because they wouldn’t have to “break the bank” to get him, and he may not be the type to jump to the first bigger job opening just because he can. Once again, he wouldn’t be a “big splash” but he could be a big part of turning the program around.
The next candidate I would like to look at is current Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, His name is a fairly new name in the college coaching ranks, he does have a lot of “skins” on the wall in Texas High School football and he was successful during his time coaching in Texas. He has only been at two previous college jobs, but if he was offered the job at SMU, he could use his vast knowledge of High School football to help recruit and build excitement around the SMU program. But he would be a risk to hire because he would probably be targeted by a bigger job if he turned the program around. But once you start winning, success breeds success and if he left, another “up and comer” would be willing to take the job and continue the winning ways.
This is just a small part of the list I have compiled to be the next head coach at SMU and I am sure some names will fall off and more will be added since there is still a long season ahead of us, stay tuned for the next installment of the SMU coaching candidates.Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook