Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coaching Rumors

Entry #2 of the Friday tri-fecta.

One of the things I always like to follow is all of the rumors and possibilities regarding coaching changes. This year looks like it’s going to have a lot of activity, and LSU may be right in the middle of many of the changes.

Thus far, we’ve already seen one job come open at Memphis. Here is a school by school breakdown of schools that may have openings:

Memphis:  Memphis has already fired coach Tommy West, and their search for a replacement is underway. One name on their short list is LSU running backs coach Larry Porter. Porter played his college ball at Memphis and has many ties to the area. He’s also got an outstanding and well deserved reputation as a top notch recruiter. If Porter were to take the job at Memphis, then some of LSU’s current commitments may re-think things, most notably linebacker Justin Maclin. Porter is scheduled to interview with Memphis within the next week. Tennessee running backs coach Eddie Gran is a strong candidate and has reportedly already spoke to Memphis about the position. Some bigger names such as Terry Bowden, who is coaching at North Alabama, and Gus Malzahn, Auburn’s offensive coordinator, have surfaced as well. Memphis says they’d like to have a coach in place by November 30th, and that’s good news for LSU in case they should select Porter. LSU would then have plenty of time to repair whatever damage is done on the recruiting trail.

Louisville:  Head coach Steve Kragthorpe has been a huge disappointment at Louisville, and it’s almost a certainty that he’ll be fired after this season. Many reports have surfaced stating that Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is interested in the position once it becomes available. Leach tried very hard to find another job after last season, and it appears he’s doing so again. He apparently wants to get out of Texas Tech, for whatever reason. Louisville offers him an easier path to win a conference championship and play in a BCS bowl as opposed to matching up with Texas and Oklahoma each year in the Big-12 South. I haven’t heard any other names regarding the Louisville job.

Notre Dame:  Head coach Charlie Weis is on a much publicized hot seat after losing consecutive games to Navy and Pitt. His team currently sits at 6-4 and has games remaining against UCONN and Stanford. In my opinion, the only way he even comes close to saving his job is if he wins both games. I don’t think that’s likely, and I think Notre Dame will be looking for a new coach in a few weeks. Notre Dame is going to be looking for the grand slam on this hire. First, I think they’ll throw a ton of money at Urban Meyer and make him say “No”. If Meyer wins another national title at Florida, perhaps he’ll consider leaving for a different challenge. It’s doubtful, but I do believe Notre Dame will at least ask the question. Bob Stoops has been a rumored candidate, but it’s tough for me to see him wanting to make a move. Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s name continues to come up, as does Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.

Michigan:   After 32 straight years of going to bowl games, it looks like Michigan will now go two years in a row without a bowl appearance. When you’re the coach for those two seasons, it doesn’t give you a whole lot of job security. The poor performance on the field is not to be outdone by an ongoing investigation regarding Michigan’s misuse of practice time. Current and former players accused coach Rich Rodriguez of abusing the NCAA limits on weekly practice time. If this proves to be true, then Michigan can fire Rodriguez without having to pay any of his buyout. It would also make it easier to justify firing him after just two seasons. ESPN’s Mike Wilbon states that he’s heard Rodriguez is not going to be retained. So if this happens, is Les Miles going to be a top candidate? He’ll almost certainly be mentioned as a strong possibility. Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh may be considered the favorite this time around.

Colorado:  The word on the street is that head coach Dan Hawkins will be let go after this season. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone seeing as how Hawkins has failed to have a winning season during his four year tenure. The Buffs are currently 3-7. I haven’t heard much in terms of rumored replacements with the exception of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Kansas:  Kansas athletic director had a private meeting with the football players recently and has said that the status of head coach Mark Mangino is “under review.” Apparently, someone raised some issues about Mangino abusing players, both verbally and physically, at practice. Only 2 years removed from a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl appearance, it seems highly unlikely that Kansas would be reviewing Mangino for his on the field results. This will be interesting to watch. Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin could be someone to watch.

Virginia:  Head coach Al Groh will almost certainly be shown the door after this season. One rumored replacement is Temple head coach Al Golden. Golden was the defensive coordinator at Virginia before taking over at Temple, where he currently has his team 8-2 and likely head to the MAC Championship Game. However, Golden was an assistant under Groh and it’s unclear whether they’ll want to completely sever all ties with Groh. Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley is a UVA alum and his name gets mentioned some. While Dooley is still considered an up and coming young coach, LA Tech’s 3-7 record will make it tough for Virginia to hire him.

Some other names to keep an eye on in regards to LSU are:

Tyke Tolbert - Tolbert has been the wide receivers coach for the Bills for the past six years.  A former LSU player, Tolbert may be looking for a job since Bills head coach Dick Jauron was fired this week. 

Todd Monken - Monken was LSU's wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Les Miles in 2005 and 2006.  The Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat and many speculate that Del Rio and his staff could be looking for work after this season. 


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