Mack Brown announced over the weekend he was going to resign as the Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns after their Bowl Game. While this was not unexpected, the timing of it seemed suspicious and some within the program have blamed Mack for “blocking” a potential deal to get Nick Saban. As I stated in my rumors post, I never really believed Nick Saban was a real option for the Longhorns, either way it has caused Mack to be berated instead of celebrated.
But after this announcement, it led me to start thinking about potential candidates for the Head Coaching job. There have been plenty of names tossed around, some impressive, some not so much and I even found a few of my own who I thought might be a good fit.
- Jim Harbaugh – He is currently the Head Coach of the 49ers, and has had success in the NFL, but it would lead some to believe he isn’t exactly happy in San Francisco because he refused to sign an extension. He had a good run of success at the College level while at Stanford and could be seen as the right guy to turn around the situation in Austin. But I would put him in more of a “dream” scenario, but they do say money talks.
- David Shaw – Shaw took over for Harbaugh when he left Stanford and they have not missed a beat. He has continued to win after Harbaugh left and has Stanford hanging near the top of the polls every year. He could be a good fit at Texas, but it would be tough to pull him away from Stanford because he has no real ties to Texas. He is probably another dream coach and I wouldn’t hang my hat on him coming to Texas.
- Bill Cowher – His name has been associated with every coaching job that comes available in either College or Pro. Cowher does not have any real college experience, but he was extremely successful at Pittsburgh and left on his own terms. He could possibly return to coaching, but I doubt it will be a college job, but still had to add his name to this list.
- Mike Tomlin – Here is another NFL coach linked to another college job, I highly doubt he will jump to the College game even if he is let go from the Steelers. I doubt he will be fired since the Rooney family is very loyal to their coaches. But he could be a nice coach if everything falls into place at the right time for him to drop down to the college level.
- John Gruden – I laugh every time I hear his name tied to a coaching job, very doubtful he would jump into the college game, there is a better chance he takes one of the pro openings if he gets back into the coaching game. It is very doubtful he would leave the cushy ESPN job for another coaching gig.
- Jim Mora – Mora has been around football his whole life, while most of his career has been in the NFL, he has gone to UCLA and taken a program falling further and further into obscurity and turned them around and could have them competing for PAC 12 championships in the next few years. He doesn’t have any Texas ties, but with the talent in Texas, it isn’t any doubt he could keep Texas status quo until he gets his system in place and could have them back on top of the Big XII.
- Pete Lembo – While a relatively unknown coach on this list, Lembo has had success at his previous stops. He took Lehigh and Elon to the FCS playoffs and took over Ball State a few years ago and has them in back to back bowl games. He has the record of a winner and looks to be a solid coach. Once again there aren’t any ties to Texas, but he has taken a team like Ball State and kept them competitive. He has quietly won and continues to do so. I think given a shot at the Longhorns could catapult him into the big time.
- Tim DeRuyter – DeRuyter is one of the few candidates I have listed who has ties to Texas. He coached at Texas A&M, and was their interim head coach before the Aggies hired Kevin Sumlin. He knows the recruiting area and could prove to be a good hire after almost having Fresno State be a BCS buster this season.
- James Franklin – Franklin will draw interest because he took perennial laughing stock Vanderbilt in the SEC and has had them bowl bound the last couple years. Which is an amazing feat for the school which is usually a punching bag in conference. The only knock on him would be he has had them winning, but they aren’t close to being in a spot to compete for a conference title. He will be listed as a candidate, but I doubt he gets nothing more than just a quick glance in the coaching search.
- Art Briles – Of all the candidates on this list, Art Briles seems to make the most sense to me. He not only coached and won as a High School coach in Texas, he has not left the state for any part of his career. He has won at every stop along the way, and he would fit in good with the Longhorns. He can restore Texas to its nationally prominent level. Some will say he doesn’t want to coach at Texas and he “hates” Texas, but if the money is high enough, he will probably change his tune.
- Jimbo Fisher – Fisher will be another “dream” scenario coaches, He took over at Florida State after Bobby Bowden resigned and he will probably be able to stay there as long as he has the Seminoles competing for titles. There is nothing to make me think he would leave for Texas except if he got money whipped.
- Gus Malzahn – Gus is a native Texan after being born in Irving, TX but other than where he was born, the rest of his coaching career has been in “SEC Country”. He has the Auburn Tigers playing for a national title and can probably name his price and get paid if he wins. I don’t see him leaving an Auburn team to coach at Texas that will take some rebuilding before they compete.
- David Cutcliffe – This name being included on the list may be a surprise to most because he hasn’t been mentioned by any “experts” and it is not a sexy pick. But look at what he did a duke this year and imagine what he could do with his choice of recruits in Texas. I doubt he will even get a look, but he had some success at Ole Miss and has won at Duke. Why not give him a look?
- Ed Ogeron – Maybe what he did at USC on an interim basis was a fluke, because he didn’t have any success at Ole Miss in his one previous Head Coaching stop. But he turned a USC team who was nothing more than a joke and had them finish strong on the season. He may be someone worth talking to, even if he isn’t perceived as a great option.
- Chip Kelly – It has been rumored Kelly is unhappy at Philadelphia because he misses the total control of the College game. I don’t know if there is any truth to this or not. He will be clear of his trouble with the NCAA by the time Texas looks to make a hire and he may be willing to listen to what Texas has to say…then again, he left Oregon with sanctions, does Texas want to risk that?
- Kirby Smart – Smart’s name has been mentioned with a few jobs but he has yet to leave Alabama for any job. Maybe Texas could be a solid opportunity for him to get his head coaching start. He is revered as one of the best assistants in the nation and at age 37, he could be a potential long term solution for the Longhorns.
- Urban Meyer – Meyer has supposedly had interest in the Texas job once before, but then he got the job at Ohio State and it doesn’t seem like he would up and leave for Texas just because he is from Ohio, but he may be unhappy and be willing to listen to what Texas has to offer. Another dream scenario but I doubt he would take the job.
This list is total speculation at this point, some of it is compiled from what I have seen and heard and I threw in a couple names that interested me. I don’t think the Longhorns could go wrong with any of these guys, but Texas will most likely try to land the “Big Sexy” name to take over the program. I am sure the Longhorns have some other names nobody thought about, it will be interesting to see who gets called and who gets interviews. Let the coaching search begin.