Thursday, November 14, 2013

As the Carousel Turns: November Openings

There have been several firings already for 2013, and that means that the Carousel has started turning early. In our opinion, that's never a terrible thing. There are six openings so far, with many more to certainly come in the upcoming weeks. Let's take a look at where we stand, and what we think will transpire when it comes to hiring replacements.

We start with the biggest opening thus far, which is the USC job. Is it the most desirable job? It won't be when the smoke clears, which means that the Trojans are pipe dreaming about who they can get. The first target is Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M.
Sumlin is absolutely not coming to USC. Let's get this clear right out of the gate. There are multitudes of reasons about why Sumlin won't be leaving for the USC job, but the core of it is that he has a better job in the SEC, and the Aggie administration will pay Sumlin more than whatever USC will offer, even if it's just on principle.
Others mentioned for the job right now are broadcaster Jon Gruden, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, and Denver interim coach Jack Del Rio. Here's another shot of truth. USC won't likely get any of these guys either.
One name that is surfacing, because I myself has put it out there, is Tim DeRuyter of Fresno State. The Bulldogs are on the verge of busting into the BCS, and in two short years, he has made waves with the Bulldogs. He is also a guy who is gettable for the Trojans without having to break the bank and do something crazy as far as payroll is concerned. Let's not forget that he's a damned good coach who could bring credibility instantly with recruits.
In the end, the guarantee is that the Trojans will do what they did when hiring Pete Carroll. They will shoot very high, and hit somewhere in the middle range of what they want.

The search in Storrs has been relatively quiet. The truth of the matter is that the Huskies are worried about who they will be competing with when the Carousel gets into full motion.
Being real, the UConn job is not a great job. The facilities are fine, but the money is probably on the lower end for BCS level coaches, and the recruiting base is putrid. UConn is in need of a splashy young coach who can get into recruiting circles outside of New England to get decent athletes. With no major candidates having been announced yet, let me post my list.
My first target would be Towson head coach Rob Ambrose. Ambrose was a former assistant for the Huskies under Randy Edsell, and he took an absolutely horrible program at Towson and turned them into a perennial playoff contender in the FCS ranks in one of the two best conferences in FCS football. He knows the school, and would likely have the reach outside of New England to be able to put the program back on track.
Jack Cosgrove of Maine is another solid coach who has a long tenure under his belt, and the Black Bears have had a better season than Towson in the Colonial. Cosgrove is a winner, and Maine has been competitive against FBS opponents.
My third candidate for now would be Harvard coach Tim Murphy. Murphy, like Cosgrove, has been able to field dominant teams in the greater New England area, and ha been listed as a solid candidate for several jobs, including Notre Dame. It's time for Murphy to move on to a bigger challenge, and UConn would be a solid fit, both from an athletics standpoint, and from an academic one as well.

Florida Atlantic
The most shocking firing has been Carl Pelini at FAU. His drug use, and weird behavior post resignation/firing was a major development, and now Patrick Chung is looking for a new leader. He actually has solid candidates in the pipeline.
The rumor last week was that Chung has interviewed Luke Fickell, the former interim head coach and current assistant at Ohio State. Fickell and Chung have a relationship from Ohio State, and he would be a solid hire for the Owls.
Another candidate who would be a huge splash would be former FIU coach and current Alabama assistant Mario Christobal. Christobal was a hot candidate for several jobs until he was dumped after his last season went just a bit awry. The firing was unjustified in my book, and many people feel that his work at FIU, and his contribution to Alabama would make him a short timer at Bama until he lands another job as the head guy. FAU could be the spot.

Eastern Michigan
Ron English was fired last week after allegedly firing off gay slurs at players in team meetings. He was fired just before the Eagles won their first game of the season against equally lowly Western Michigan. Stan Parrish is the interim coach, but wouldn't likely get the job after the season.
The real reason English was fired is simply because the record was abysmal, and it wasn't getting any better. His unfortunate rant at his players was simply frustration boiling over. It appears to me that this was simply a mechanism to fire an African American coach, because the administration was afraid to simply fire him because his record was garbage. I'm sure that English would have appreciated the honesty, and had to know that he was as good as gone anyway.
I am working on a  candidate list for this job, but the Eagles will struggle to make a solid hire, as this is a terrible job, and the new administration has proven a knack for having to go through back channels just to fire a guy. We all knew he was going, but the way it went down was pure crap.


Grambling State
This is going to be a terribly difficult job to fill, as I am guessing that the current administration is not high on lists of people that coaches across America want to work for. The program and the department (and the university as a whole) is a terrible mess, and funding is not there. There will be no money in this job, and the only notoriety would be that someone can come in and clean up the program and get it winning again before moving on.
If Earnest Collins is fired at Northern Colorado, he's be a solid get for Grambling despite his losing ways at UNC. He is a former SWAC coach (Alcorn State) who understands the limitations of a cash strapped program.

This is the absolute worst job in America. Dale Carlson was fired on Friday after winning just 3 games total during his tenure. Nobody is going to line up for this job, but we will work out a list of potential candidates shortly. Stay tuned.

More to come as more news develops. Expect several firings to take place in the next couple of weeks, and the Carousel will pick up steam!

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