Coaching Candidates

http://www.alligator.org/content/articles/2007/10/03/sports/football/bmeyer.jpgUrban Meyer

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Florida. He won a national championship and turned ND down in 2004.

Background: He played defensive back at Cincinnati in the 80s. After two years in minor league baseball, Meyer became a graduate assistant at Ohio State. He spent two years as an assistant at Illinois State, six years at Colorado State, and five years at Notre Dame. He then took the head coaching job at Bowling Green. After two years he became the head coach at Utah. After two more years, he famously took the head coaching job at Florida.

What’s to like: The guy has won big where ever he goes, winning at least 8 games in each of his 8 years as a head coach. He’s won 9 or more games every season but one, finished undefeated once, and finished with twelve and thirteen wins once. He’s won a national championship. Bowling Green’s average is 0.595 and Meyer went 17-6 (0.739). At Utah (0.581), he finished 22-2 (0.917) and won a BCS bowl game. He’s 41-9 (0.820) at Flordia (0.623). At Florida, he has a good record against notable coaches: 4-0 vs. Fulmer, 2-2 vs. Miles, 3-1 vs. Richt, 4-0 vs. Bowden, 1-0 vs. Ferentz, 0-2 vs. Tuberville, 1-0 vs. Nutt, 1-0 vs. Tressel, 0-1 vs. Carr. At Utah, he went 3-0 against Bellotti, Tedford, and Walt Harris. He’s 4-1 in Bowl games, including two BCS bowl wins.

What’s not to like: His wife wears jorts. He’s a Hoosier. He runs a rinky-dink offense that’ll never work in college football. UF would likely match and exceed any offer from ND.
What we don’t know: Would he leave for ND?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0102/ncf_a_stoops2_sq_300.jpgBob Stoops

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Oklahoma and won a national championship. The fans of every big-time program that’s down on its luck are convinced he’d come for the right price.

Background: He played defensive back at Iowa in the early 80s. He began his career as a volunteer firefighter and grad assistant at Iowa under Hayden Fry. He got a full time assistant job at Kent State and then moved to Kansas State as a DB coach. He was promoted to DC. He left to join the Florida staff under Spurrier. His success at KSU and UF landed him the job at Oklahoma.
What’s good: He’s 107–23 (0.822), which is good even by Oklahoma standards (0.713). He’s won a national championship. He’s been wildly successful wherever he’s gone. Since 2002 (the farthest back my data goes), he has a good overall record against coaching notables: 4-3 vs. Mack Brown, 5-0 vs. Pinkel, 5-2 vs. Leach, 3-0 vs. Mangino, 2-1 vs. Miles at Oklahoma State, 0-1 vs. Saban, 2-1 vs. Bellotti, 0-1 vs. Carroll, 1-1 vs. Patterson, 4-0 vs. Gundy, 0-1 vs. Peterson, 1-0 vs. Kelly.

What’s not to like: 2003-2007 produced fantastic records, but fell short in BCS games, losing four including two title games in 2003 and 2004. While his performance in that period is phenomenal, it is at the level competing for the Big XII and not national championships. His early staff featured his brother Mike Stoops, Mark Mangino, and Mike Leach. Leach left after the 1999 season and the other two left after winning the 2000 title. I wonder if these assistants are the difference between competing for Big XII and national championships. OU would likely match and exceed any offer from ND.
What we don’t know: If he would ever leave Oklahoma. If he did come to ND, are we getting Bob Stoops from 1999-2002 or the Bob Stoops from 2003-present?

http://a.abcnews.com/images/Sports/nm_nick_saban2_071121_ms.jpgNick Saban

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Alabama.

Background: He played defensive back at Kent State in the 70s. He was an assistant at Kent State, Syracuse, West Virginia, Ohio State, Navy, and Michigan State, before joining the pro-ranks as a defensive backs coach for the Oilers. He took the head coaching job at Toledo for a single season before joining Belichick as the DC with the Browns. He then became the MSU head coach. After five years, he left for the position at LSU. After 5 seasons, he jumped to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. After two seasons, he returned to college and took the head coaching job at Alabama.

What’s to like: He’s been successful wherever he has been. He posted a 9-2 record in his only season at Toledo, a 3 game improvement over the previous season. His 34-24-1 record (0.586) at MSU is just under MSU’s historic (0.588). It should be noted that MSU was coming off of NCAA recruiting sanctions at the time Saban was there. His final season at MSU was the best since 1965. At LSU, he compiled a 48-16 record (0.750), besting LSU’s (0.641). He earned a bowl bid each season, won a division, conference, and national title. He struggled in his first season at Alabama, but has the Tide at 11-0 and a #1 ranking. I only have data since 2002, but his record against notables is good: 0-1 vs. Beamer, 1-3 vs. Tuberville, 4-1 vs. Nutt, 0-1 vs. Brown, 3-2 vs. Richt, 1-0 vs. Stoops, 0-1 vs. Ferentz, 1-0 vs. Riley, 0-1 vs. Bowden, 2-0 vs. Fulmer, 1-1 vs. Miles.

What’s not to like: He’s only 3-6 in bowl games, although this is skewed by an 0-3 mark at MSU. I believe he has an enormous buy-out from Alabama. His turnaround at Alabama has required some help from JUCOs. I believe he has a huge buy-out at Alabama.
What we don’t know: Would he come to ND in the midst of a title hunt?

http://www.georgiafansite.com/images/coaches/p1_richt.jpgMark Richt

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Georgia.

Background: He played QB at Miami in the early 80s.  He played in the NFL for a few years as the back-up to Jim Kelly. He started for the majority of a season when Kelly got hurt. He returned to college football as a graduate assistant at Florida State and then became OC at East Carolina. After one year, he rejoined FSU as offensive coordinator for 11 seasons. He then took the head coaching job at Georgia.

What’s to like: He’s 81-22 (0.794) at Georgia, which is great even by their 0.645 norm. He’s never won fewer than eight games in a season and has double digit wins in five of eight seasons. He’s won two division and two conference titles. He’s done fairly well against the big names and elite schools, 4-3 vs. Fulmer, 5-2 vs. Tuberville, 3-0 vs. Nutt, 1-0 vs. Bowden, 2-3 vs. Saban, 1-0 vs. Hawkins, 2-0 vs. Miles, 0-1 vs. Rodriguez, 1-0 vs. Beamer, 1-0 vs. Gundy, 1-3 vs. Meyer. He’s 5-2 in bowl games, going 2-1 in the Sugar Bowl. Most seem to think he’s a good character guy.

What’s not to like: He has a big contract and could be tough to buy-out from Georgia.
What we don’t know: Not a lot, since he’s a pretty proven coach.

http://www.coacheshotseat.com/TommyTuberville.JPGTommy Tuberville

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Auburn.

Background: He played Safety at South Arkansas in the 70s. He began his career as an assistant at Arkansas State and bumped himself up to Miami, but as a graduate assistant. He eventually held the defensive coordinator position there. In 1994, he replaced one Bob Davie as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M when the Aggies went 10-0-1. After a year on that job, he took the head coaching job at Ole’ Miss. After four years there, he took his current job at Auburn.

What’s to like: He has a 14 seasons of head coaching experience in one of the toughest conferences in college football. At Ole Miss, he went 25-20 (0.555), where the school’s average is 0.562, which is slightly below the norm. However, I believe that Ole Miss was under severe NCAA scholarship sanctions, so I would give him the benefit of the doubt here. Auburn has been a traditional power, going 0.630 on average. At Auburn, Tuberville holds an 84-39 (0.689) record. He is 6-3 in bowl games. He has coached and won against many of the top coaches in football. While he is 0-2 against Pete Carroll and 2-5 against Richt, he is 3-2 against Saban, 1-0 against Paterno and Beamer, 4-0 against Fulmer, 1-2 against Les Miles, and 2-1 against Urban Meyer (note this information is as of 2002 since I can’t find information about this prior to 2002). With over 100 wins and an undefeated season, his coaching experience and accomplishments seem nearly as impressive as pre-ND Lou Holtz.

What’s not to like: 14 years in the SEC and he only has one conference championship. He’s had a hard time consistently establishing offensive identity at Auburn. He seems very reliant on his offensive coordinator. The Auburn faithful seem itchy to get rid of this guy since he’s having a fairly poor season. I’m not sure if he could maximize our current offensive personnel.
What we don’t know: Not a whole lot. Great track record. If he came to ND, could he bring a great offensive coordinator with?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2006/0817/ncf_w_riley_195.jpgMike Riley

Why you know him: He beat us in the Insight.com bowl and his Oregon State team has beat USC a few times.

Background: played corner at Alabama in the 70s. He spent nearly a decade coaching in the CFL and World League of American Football. He spent time as both a DC (Littlefield College 1977-1982) and OC (USC 1993-1997), which is something you don't see very often. After this, he got the head coaching job at Oregon State. After two years, he spent time in the NFL as the coach of the Chargers. Unfortunately, he had a miserable tenure there (14-34) and worked as an assistant for the Saints in 2002 before returning to Oregon State.

What’s to like:  Oregon State is traditionally a terrible program, with a historical win percentage of 0.480.  Riley's first stint there in 1997-1998 (8-14) was actually below that level. However, he is credited as laying the groundwork for Dennis Erickson. Riley has had a reasonable level of success in his second sting, going 45-28 (.625), which is great when you consider that Oregon State is a little brother program in a weak football state. Riley has done well against some of the top programs in the PAC-10. His record against Carroll is 2-3, Tedford is 3-3, and Bellotti is 3-3. I believe he runs a pro-style system which has produced effective running and passing games. He's 4-0 in bowl games. He’s been both a DC and OC, which is a very rare attribute. OSU probably could not match ND’s offer.

What’s not to like: In this case, I think we fearing the unknown. He seems to have pretty solid bona fides as a coach, but there is not a lot of precedent for coaches coming out of Oregon State. Both he and Erickson left the program for jobs in the NFL where they failed miserably. Both Riley and Erickson returned to small PAC-10 schools and posted 10 win seasons, although both he and Erickson have had a losing season since that return. We haven't seen a coach come out of Oregon State and go to a big time college program. His team has only finished ranked once.
What we don’t know: How is Riley regarded as a recruiter? Could he recruit well at ND?

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2008/writers/andy_staples/02/04/pryor.watch/tedford.jpgJeff Tedford

Why you know him: He made Cal relevant.

Background: played QB at Fresno State in the 80s and played for six seasons in the CFL. After a stint with the Stampeders as an assistant, he coached QBs at Fresno before becoming Bellotti's OC at Oregon. In 2002 he became the head coach at Cal.

What’s to like:  Cal is traditionally a weak program, with a winning percentage of 0.564. They tend to struggle in recruiting over poor facilities and academic reasons. In his seventh season, Tedford has posted a 55-24 (0.655) mark. He puts players into the NFL. His pro style offense would be a good match for our personnel. Tedford may have taken Cal to its program ceiling. He routinely beats his mentor Bellotti, posting a 5-2 record against Oregon. He's 4-1 in bowl games.

What’s not to like: In my view, Tedford has a weak record against the coaching notables that he's faced. Presently, he is 1-6 against Pete Carroll and lost a bowl game to Leach. His 2007 was pretty weak, finishing 7th in the PAC-10. He started the season 5-0, but then went 1-6 including a loss to a Willingham led Washington.
What we don’t know: Why hasn't another major program already lured him away from Cal? Would Cal match or exceed an ND offer?

http://obscuresportsquarterly.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/mikebellotti.jpgMike Bellotti

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Oregon

Background: He played tight end and receiver at UC Davis in the 70s. After his playing career, he worked as an assistant at UC Davis, until taking over as OC at Cal State-Hayward. He left to be OC at Weber State, but returned to Cal State-Hayward after a year. He then took over as the head coach at Chico State, until becoming OC at Oregon. He replaced his boss Rich Brooks as Head Coach in 1995.

What’s to like: Oregon is typically a weak football state, and the University of Oregon has a traditional winning percentage of 0.542, which Bellotti surpassed with his 115-55 record (0.675). He has two PAC 10 titles and his best season was 2001 when the Ducks finished 11-1 and #2. He has finished with 10 or more wins in three seasons and won 9 games in three other seasons. In 14 seasons, Bellotti has had only one losing season, a 5-6 campaign in 2004. Over the course of his tenure, he’s show adaptability in terms of system. Early on (particularly with Tedford), he ran a pro-style offensive system that turned out quarterbacks like Akili Smith and Joey Harrington. Over time, he’s shifting to more of a spread passing attack. He operates as a CEO, setting an attacking philosophy for the program and allows his coordinators to do their work.

What’s not to like: Some say he’s only as good as his coordinators, specifically Tedford, but I don’t know if this is true. He won 60 games with Tedford in 7 seasons and 54 games without him in 7 seasons. I guess you could say Tedford was good for one more win a season. I think this has more to do with the relative strength of the PAC 10, which was almost historically poor prior over the course of his early tenure, but improved a lot when Carroll, Tedford, and Riley took jobs in the PAC 10. He’s 5-6 in bowl games. His record (since 2002) against notable coaches isn’t the greatest: 1-3 vs. Carroll, 0-1 vs. Grobe, 2-0 vs. Carr, 0-1 vs. Meyer at Utah, 2-5 vs. Tedford, 1-2 vs. Stoops, 2-3 vs. Riley. Oregon would likely match or exceed an ND offer.

What we don’t know: He’s pretty established. 100 wins is pretty impressive, but at the same time he sort of strikes me as the same coach as Fulmer. You’d think if he wanted another job he would have taken it by now, so why hasn’t he?

http://blogs.fayobserver.com/faytoz/files/2008/02/butch-davis.jpgButch Davis

Why you know him: He built such a strong program at Miami that a coach as bad as Larry Coker was able to win a title. You might know him if you're a Browns fan. Also, he beat us this year.

Background: He spent 15 years an assistant to Jimmy Johnson in both college and the NFL. He's spent 12 years as a head coach between Miami, Cleveland, and UNC.
What's to like: Miami has a winning percentage of 0.635 and Davis went 52-20 (0.718). This is impressive, especially considering that Miami lost 31 scholarships due to NCAA rules infractions committed in the previous Erickson regime. In Davis's final season at Miami, his team was screwed out of playing in the BCS championship game against Oklahoma, despite beating rival FSU who played in their place. Davis is 4-0 in bowl games. He laid a very solid foundation for Coker who won a title following Davis's departure.

What’s not to like:His record at Miami was good, but not great when you consider it was largely played within the context of a very weak Big East. Other coaching successes have left Miami to mixed results. He went 1-5 against Bobby Bowden at Miami. Losses like 41-10 against NC State make me say “ick.” He reportedly had panic attacks when with the Browns, which ultimately led to his resignation. He has a pretty decent contract at UNC ($2M buy-out). The way he left Miami for the Browns is concerning.

What we don’t know: Could he handle the pressure at ND? Would he be able to win big games against elite coaches at ND?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1113/ncf_a_leach_300.jpgMike Leach

Why you know him: He’s the mad scientist at Texas Tech. Oh, he’s also a pirate.

Background: After receiving a JD from Pepperdine, he decided he’d rather coach football than be a lawyer. He never played college ball. He became an assistant at Cal-Poly and COD before taking the head coaching position of the Pori Bears, an European Federation of American Football team. He later took over as OC at Iowa Weslyan and then Valdosta State, before taking the same job at Kentucky. He joined Bob Stoops staff for a year in 1999 until taking the Texas Tech head coaching job.

What’s to like: Texas Tech is 0.510 all time, but Leach is 76-38 (0.664). He’s 5-3 in bowl game. His offense would be a good match for our personnel. His record against elite coaches isn’t all that great, but is good when you consider where he’s at: he’s 0-1 against Tressel, 2-1 against Miles when he was at Oklahoma State, 2-5 against Mack Brown, 2-4 against Stoops, and 1-0 against Tedford. Tech probably would not match an ND offer.

What’s not to like: He’s a Mormon and apparently that might not be the greatest thing with ND’s administration. His teams generally have poor defenses. The pirate act is pretty weird, too.
What we don’t know: He’s in the midst of his best season at Texas Tech. How will it unfold? Will he sign an extension after this season?

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0aexbOKg5R1OM/610x.jpgBrian Kelly

Why you know him: the "new new thing," at the moment.

Background: He played linebacker at Assumption in the early 80s. He served as an assistant there for a number of years following graduation, until joining the staff at Grand Valley State as an assistant. He took over as head coach in 1991, where he remained through the 2003 season. Since then, he's spent three years at CMU and is in his second season at Cincinnati.

What’s to like:The large body of his work comes from his time at GVSU where he piled up a 120-35-2 record and won two national championships there.  Afterwards, he had a middling 19-16 record at CMU, which is actually a little below CMU's historical .610 average. It should be noted that CMU had just suffered the Debord era and Kelly showed improvement in each season and won the MAC in year 3. I believe he's locked up the Big East championship in year two at Cincinnati. His record at Cincinnati (21-5) is well above the program's 0.491 average. This is the type of record that got Meyer the job at Florida. Say what you will about the Big East, but it’s tougher to win there than the MWC. Another comparison might be to Bobby Petrino who went 21-4 in his two seasons in the Big East.

What’s not to like:He doesn't have any really impressive wins in his Div I career. In fact, Cincinnati got shellacked against Oklahoma earlier this season. I don't think his recruiting is fantastic or anything. Kelly certainly wouldn't have that kind of advantage in coming to ND. He does have a fairly substantial buy-out ($2M), but Cincinnati probably could not exceed an ND offer. Some say his success at Cincinnati is built on Dantonio’s progress.

What we don’t know: I don't think he's a “Tier III” coach as I reserve that status for guys like Patterson and Whittingham. I think his time at GVSU gives him an edge over a guy like Dantonio. Other than getting shellacked by Oklahoma this season, we really haven’t seen him go up against the best coaches and elite teams.

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1207/ncf_u_pjohnson_300.jpgPaul Johnson

Why you know him: First Navy coach to beat ND in a long, long time. He's doing well at Georgia Tech this year.

Background: He, like Charlie Weis, did not play college football. He served two years as OC at a place called Lees-McRae, then climbed the ladder from DL coach to OC at Georgia Southern. After a stint at as the Hawaii OC, he served in the same capacity at Navy. Georgia Southern apparently really liked the guy and hired him as head coach. The Navy then hired him as HC and he's now in his first year as the HC at Georgia Tech.

What's to like: Georgia Southern is 0.645 all time. Johnson's record there was 62-10 (.861). Navy is 0.548 all time. Johnson's record there was 45–29 (0.608), which isn't as impressive. However, since 1964, Navy is 0.414. I think this is more representative of the challenges Johnson faced at Navy. It's a small sample size, but Johnson is 9-3 at Georgia Tech, a school which is traditionally 0.594. His teams are tough and fundamental. There was an impressive stat displayed during the game against Miami. Only three coaches, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, and Bud Wilkinson won more games in his first 12 seasons than Paul Johnson. He had a very big win against Georgia, which shows that his system can work at the highest levels.

What's to not like: His current offense is a poor fit for ND: against Georgia, his QB was 1/6 with an interception.

What we don’t know: How is Johnson regarded as a recruiter? Could he recruit well at ND? Can he adjust his system to maximize the offensive personnel at ND?

http://blog.mlive.com/jim_carty/2007/11/medium_071110-kirk-ferentz-iowa-sideline.jpgKirk Ferentz

Why you know him: He's the coach at Iowa.

Background: Played linebacker at UConn in the 70s. He spent a year as a Pitt assistant, then nine years under Hayden Fry at Iowa as the offensive line coach. He spent three years as the head coach at Maine, then went to the NFL for a few season as a line coach under Belichick. Since then, he's been coaching at Iowa.

What's to like: Iowa's historic record is 0.524. Under Ferentz, Iowa is 69-53 (.566) which doesn't seem like a huge bump until you realize that's the same clip that Hayden Fry won at while at Iowa. Under Ferentz, Iowa has won the Big Ten twice, including seasons that are 8-0 and 7-1 in Big Ten play. He's done OK against some of the better Big 10 coaches, going 3-2 against Paterno, 2-2 against Carr, and 1-3 against Tressel. His rosters are not considered very talented and he typically has a strong offensive line.

What's to not like:  Ferentz is 3-3 in bowl games, losing once to Carroll's USC but beating Saban's LSU. He has a big salary ($2.7M) and hasn't left for any other major positions. While he gets a lot out of marginally talented players, his highly recruited players tend to bust. He’s had some off field discipline problems, including an ugly incident last season involving two players having nonconsensual sex with another Iowa athlete.

What we don’t know: Could Ferentz take advantage of the offensive skill talent available at ND? Could he recruit well and get the most out of his players? Why hasn't he already left Iowa?

http://pictopia.com/perl/get_image?provider_id=532&size=550x550_mb&ptp_photo_id=4143832Bobby Petrino

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Arkansas who left the Atlanta Falcons after coaching 13 games.

Background: He played quarterback at Carroll College in the 80s. He served as an assistant and OC at several minor schools, until he became the OC of Louisville. After one season, he became the QB coach and then OC for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then moved back to college as the OC for Auburn. When John L. Smith left Louisville for MSU, Petrino came back to Louisville. He left after four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, resigned mid-season and took the head coach position at Arkansas.

What’s to like: He had an impressive 41-9 mark at Louisville, substantially above the historical 0.512 mark and is noted for his powerful offenses there. His ideal offense is probably a good match for our personnel.

What’s not to like: Some may hold his Falcons departure against him. He is presently 5-6 at Arkansas, although they had significant personnel turnover and just upset LSU. I believe he was interviewed by ND in 2004, but the coaching search turned to other options for whatever reason. I don’t think he’s ever had a reasonable defense.

What we don’t know: He has a fairly thin head coaching resume, although he accumulated a very good record against CUSA and the Big East. I don’t think we have a good feel for his recruiting, but he certainly was able to coach up the talent he brought to Louisville. I’d really like to see another season or two at Arkansas to get a feel for his ability to build a program.

http://www.collegesportspro.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/houston-nutt.jpgHouston Nutt

Why you know him: One of the unfortunately named characters in the “Dick, Nutt, and Mustain” era at Arkansas

Background: Nutt played quarterback at Arkansas and Oklahoma State in the 70s. After his playing career, he became a graduate assistant under Jimmy Johnson at Oklahoma State. In 1983, he was a graduate assistant under Lou Holtz. He took a full time position as receivers coach at Arkansas State, until rejoining the Oklahoma State staff as QB and receivers coach, until he was promoted to OC. While at Oklahoma State in this stint, he coached Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas. He returned to Arkansas as an assistant, until receiving a chance as the head coach at Murray State, where he struggled his first two seasons, but posted an 11-1 mark in his third season in 1995 and followed up at 11-2 in 1996. He then took the position at BSU in its second Div-1 season and finished 4-7 despite playing with Div-2 players. After one season he was hired at Arkansas where he coached 10 seasons before leaving for Ole Miss.

What’s to like: He posted a 75-48 record (0.610) at Arkansas, which is traditionally 0.595. He’s currently 8-4 in his first year at Ole Miss.

What’s not to like: He’s 2-5 in bowl games. While he has some wins against notable coaches, his overall record against them isn’t great. Since 2002 (when I have my data), he is 2-4 against Tuberville, 1-4 against Saban, 1-2 against Richt, 1-1 against Mack Brown, 1-1 against Pinkel, 2-2 against Les Miles, 0-2 against Pete Carroll (two very, very bad losses), 1-1 against Fulmer, 1-1 against Meyer, and 0-1 against Grobe. He never won a conference title in 10 seasons at Arkansas, although he did win 3 division titles. He sort of got fired from Arkansas. He has a reputation for being a bit crazy. The Mustain situation does not reflect well upon him.

What we don’t know: Could he develop something special at a big time program or would he unravel? He’s pulled some nice upsets along the way, but his tenure at Arkansas was very up-and-down.

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/writers/arash_markazi/01/02/inside.boise/p1.petersen.jpgChris Peterson

Why you know him: He beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl coaching Boise State.

Background: He played college ball at UC Davis and coached there for a number of years after graduating. He coached for a season at Pitt and then Portland State. I believe he has some overlap coaching receivers at Oregon with Tedford. He then was the OC at BSU until Hawkins left. Peterson then took over as head coach.

What's to like: He's 35-3 in three seasons at BSU. BSU does have a high win percentage since joining IA: 0.727, but this takes it to a new level. He has some good wins over big programs. Obviously, he beat Stoops. He also beat Riley's OSU and Bellotti's Oregon. He's also 1-1 against June Jones. Some say he was the real master behind Hawkins.

What's not to like: Tennessee boards claimed that he might be a Scientologist. The last success story to come out of BSU was Hawkins and his career is going nowhere at Colorado. Peterson also lost to a Willingham led Washington. Guys coming from BSU have not been super successful. Hawkins and Dirk Koetter posted strong records there and have disappointed at subsequent schools. Houston Nutt coached a single season there and went 5-6. I'm not sure success at BSU is correlated with future success.

What we don’t know: Can a coach of this caliber succeed at ND? He has maintained Hawkins's success at BSU, but could he build success at a bigger school?

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/01mr1Hv1Ax8C9/610x.jpgGary Pinkel

Why you know him: He's Chase Daniel's coach. You might have seen him at Tony Packo’s.

Background: He played tight end at Kent State in the 70s. Since then, he spent some time as an assistant at Bowling Green and later Washington. He was the long time OC at Washington before taking the job at Toledo. After which, he took his current job at Missouri.

What's to like: His stint at Toledo is fairly impressive. He had a 11-0-1 and a 10-1 season there and actually won a bowl game. His overall Toledo record is 73-37-3 (0.663) which outstraps the program norm of 0.549. His 58-40 (0.598) mark at Missouri slightly outperforms its historical 0.540 mark. He seems to have a good offensive system that would match our current personnel very well.
What's not to like: He's done fairly poorly against the top Big XII coaches. He's 0-4 against Stoops and 0-3 against Mack Brown. It should probably be noted he's 3-1 against Leach. He's 3-2 in bowl games, which isn't bad in itself. However, it's bad that he's only been in 5 bowl games and a head coach for 19 years.

What we don’t know: Could Pinkel take our personnel to the next level? Would a higher program profile translate to wins against top programs and coaches? Could he recruit well at ND?  (Note: last month Pinkel signed

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0311/ncf_g_dantonio_200.jpgMark Dantonio

Why you know him: He's 2-0 against us at MSU.

Background: He played defensive back in the 70s with South Carolina. He's coached under Nick Saban and Jim Tressel. He served as a DC for OSU when then won the NC and then coached Cincinnati for three years. This is his second season at MSU.

What's to like: Cincinnati's winning percentage is 0.491 and Dantonio's record there was 18-17 (0.514). MSU is 0.589 and his record is 16-9 (0.64). Only two other coaches have had 9 win seasons at MSU since 1966: Nick Saban and Duffy Daugherty. Saban took 5 seasons to win 9 games, Dantonio only took 2 (I believe Saban had  NCAA sanctions to deal with). He seems to be a good recruiter, stealing prospects from UM.

What's to not like: His record against notables is fairly weak: he's 1-1 against Paterno and 0-2 against Tressel.

What we don’t know: Could Dantonio make the most of ND's offensive talent? To date, he's not had much at the QB or WR positions. Could he capitalize on this position of strength for ND?

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/writers/tim_layden/09/26/fairgame/t1_gundy.jpgMike Gundy

Why you know him: He’s a youtube coach (“I’m a 40 year old man”)

Background: played QB at Oklahoma State. He was a receivers coach at Oklahoma state, then QB coach, then OC. He spent time at Baylor and Maryland as the passing game coordinator. After Les Miles left, Gundy became head coach at Oklahoma State.

What's to like: In 4 years at Oklahoma State, Les Miles went 28-21. He then took the LSU job and won the National Title in his second year. Mike Gundy is 27-22 at Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State has a historical winning percentage of .490 and is the “little brother” university of Oklahoma (think MSU to UM).  Winning at about the .550 clip at Oklahoma State seems to be an indicator of a pretty decent head coach. His program has improved each year he’s been there.

What's to not like: Not all .550 clips are created equal. Miles went 0-4 against Mack Brown, 2-2 against Stoops (against two of Stoops's pretty good teams), 1-2 against Leach, and 2-0 against Mangino. Gundy is also 0-4 against Brown, but is 0-3 against Stoops, 2-2 against Leach, and 1-1 against Magino. While both coaches were routinely shellacked by Texas, Gundy really doesn't have that big upset against Stoops that Miles was able to pull off twice.

What we don’t know: Is an upper bound of Les Miles a good thing? Did Gundy just build on Miles's success at Oklahoma State? Will he “turn the corner” and start beating the top schools and coaches?

http://www.stetsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/ph2005090600898.jpgRalph Friedgen

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Maryland

Background: He played guard at Maryland in the late 60s. He was an OC at the Citadel and then William and Mary. He was an assistant at Murray State, before taking the OC job at Maryland and later Georgia Tech. He moved to the NFL where he was an OC for the Chargers when the lost the Super Bowl. He moved back to Georgia Tech as OC and then took the job at Maryland.

What’s to like: He’s 63-36 (0.643) at Maryland which is historically 0.532. He won the ACC in his first year and is 3-2 in bowl games.

What’s not to like: He’s 62 and at his alma mater. It seems unlikely that he would leave. He reminds me a lot of Maryland’s version of Weis. Some very bad losses litter his record (UVA game this year for example). His record against notables isn’t too good: 1-0 vs. Tedford, 2-4 vs. Groh, 1-1 vs. Butch Davis, 2-5 vs. Bowden, 0-1 vs. Riley, 3-4 vs. Rodriguez (started 3-0, lost the last 4 meetings), 4-1 vs. Grobe, 1-0 vs. Schiano, 1-0 vs. Johnson at Navy, 0-2 vs. Beamer, 1-0 vs. Fulmer.

What we don’t know: Is he at his ceiling or could he do very well at an elite program?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1206/ncf_g_jgrobe_200.jpgJim Grobe

Why you know him: The Wake Forest coach

Background: He played college ball at Ferrum and Virginia, where he worked as a grad assistant. He coached linebackers and Emory & Henry, Marshall, and Air Force. He then took the head coaching job at Ohio until he took the Wake Forest.

What’s to like: He finished 33-33 at Ohio, which is 0.490 historically. He’s 52-43 (0.547) at Wake Forest, which is 0.408 historically. He won the ACC. He’s 2-1 in bowl games.

What’s not to like: His record against notables is only so-so, 1-0 against Bellotti, 3-4 against Bowden, 0-1 against Petrino, and 0-1 Beamer.

What we don’t know: He’s raised the level of Wake, but could he raise the level of a more substantial program? How is his recruiting?

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/football/ncaa/08/24/rivals.recruiting/t1_groh.jpgAl Groh

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Virginia.

Background: He played defensive end at Virginia in the early 60s. He coached a lot under Parcells, particularly when Parcells was coaching at Army. He was an assistant at Virginia, then UNC. He spent a year as DC for Parcells at Air Force and then at Texas Tech. He became the coach at Wake until rejoining Parcells in the NFL and later Belichick. He became the Jets coach after Parcells resigned from that position. After a year, he left to take the head coaching job at Virginia.

What’s to like: NFL background. He’s 3-2 in bowl games. Virginia is 0.5339 and Groh is 56-41 0.583.

What’s not to like: He’s pretty old (64). He’s having a tough season and might be jeopardy of losing his job.

What we don’t know: Would a man his age take the ND job? Could he “raise his game”?

http://tidedruid.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/mangino.jpgMark Mangino

Why you know him: He publicly “rejected” us in 2004 even though he was on nobody’s radar at the time.

Background: Like Weis, he never played college ball. He did graduate from YSU and immediately after graduation took a position under Tressel. After a few minor spots as an assistant, he joined the KSU staff. I think he worked with Stoops here, because when Stoops got the Oklahoma job in 1999, he invited Mangino to his staff. After Leach left, Mangino took over as OC for Oklahoma’s 2000 championship. He took the Kansas head coaching job for the 2002 season.

What’s to like: He’s 44-40 at Kansas, which is just above their historical 0.509 mark. Kansas hadn’t been to a bowl game since 1995. He had that big 12 win season in 2007 and won a BCS bowl game. He’s 2-1 bowl games.

What’s not to like: Mangino has had some minor, self-reported NCAA infractions while at Kansas. I realize Kansas isn’t all that great at football, but his record really isn’t that impressive excluding 2007. He didn’t have to play Oklahoma or Texas in 2007, either. His record against coaching notables isn’t that great, 0-3 against Stoops, 0-3 against Leach, 0-3 against Mack Brown, 1-0 against Beamer, and 2-3 against Pinkel.

What we don’t know: Could his system work a lot better at a bigger school than Kansas? I’m not sure if he has established himself as a big time recruiter, so it’s difficult to judge his body of work.

http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/watchdog/blog/p1_schiano.jpgGreg Schiano

Why you know him: He made Rutgers good for a few years.

Background: He played linebacker at Bucknell in the late 80s. After graduation he was a grad assistant at Rutgers and took on the same position at PSU. He became a full-time assistant at PSU. He later joined the Chicago Bears as a defensive assistant, until joining Butch Davis’s staff as DC in Miami. In 2001 he took the head coaching job at Rutgers.

What’s to like: He coached Rutgers to an 11 win season and he’s 2-1 in bowl games. Rutgers is a pretty terrible program and Schiano took it to its first bowl since 1978.

What’s not to like: his 44-51 mark is actually beneath the Rutgers 0.502 all time historic average. His record against coaching notables is quite poor and these aren’t exactly elite coaches at elite schools. He is 0-1 against Fulmer, 1-1 against Petrino, 0-6 against Rodriguez at WVU, 0-2 against Beamer, 1-1 against Dantonio at Cincinatti, 0-2 against Kelly at Cincinatti.

What we don’t know: Can he do anything without Ray Rice?

http://www.soarcomm.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/bronco-mendenhall.jpgBronco Mendenhall

Why you know him: He’s the coach at BYU who kept trying to stop our running game in 2005 despite getting shellacked by our passing game.

Background: He played defensive back at Snow College and then Oregon State in the 80s. He served as a graduate assistant and then as a defensive assistant at Oregon State, before taking over as DC for Snow College. He moved to Northern Arizona as an assistant and then DC and then moved back to Oregon State as defensive line coach, then DC. After a year at Louisiana Tech, he moved to New Mexico as DC and coached some guy named Brian Urlacher. He moved to BYU as an assistant head coach and DC and took over as head coach following the resignation of Gary Crowton.

What’s to like: In four years, he has three seasons with ten or more years. His 38-11 (0.776) mark is head and shoulders above BYU’s historic 0.565 mark. He’s young (42).  He’s 2-1 in bowl games. He’s so-so against coaching notables: 2-2 vs. Whittingham, 2-2 vs. Patterson, 1-0 vs. Bellotti, and 0-1 vs. Tedford.

What’s not to like: He’s a Mormon, which might not play well at ND. I could see ND holding its nose on somebody of Leach’s caliber, but I think it might be too much for a guy like Mendenhall. BYU has had some good years, but I’m unfamiliar with coaches leaving and going on to great success.

What we don’t know: Same thing as any MWC coach: can he do it at a big time school and can he compete against elite coaches and schools on a regular basis.

http://www.crimsonclub.utah.edu/images/Whittingham-final-for-web_002.gifKyle Whittingham

Why you know him: He’s the guy who replaced Meyer at Utah.

Background: He played at BYU as a linebacker in the early 80s. He played in the USFL and CFL for a number of years before returning to BYU as a grad assistant. After a few years, he was named the DC at the College of Eastern Utah. After a season, he left to be an assistant at Idaho State. After two seasons there, he joined his father’s defensive staff as a linecoach at Utah. When his dad retired, he became the DC. He held that position for a 11 years and became the head coach after the departure of Urban Meyer for Florida.

What’s to like: I’m sure that many Utah fans felt going undefeated and winning a BCS game was a once in a generation experience. Four years later, Whittingham has replicated Meyer’s feat. There was a drop off from Meyer’s 12-0 season to Whittingham’s first season (7-5). However, Utah has improved each season. He is 36-14 there (0.72) which is a huge bump over Utah’s 0.581 average. Meyer sets the precedent that if you can win big at Utah, you can win big anywhere. His record against coaching notables isn’t bad: 1-0 vs. Rodriguez, 2-2 vs. Mendenhall, 3-1 vs. Patterson, 1-1 vs. Riley, 1-0 vs. Paul Johnson at Navy, 0-1 against Peterson. He’s 3-0 in bowl games.

What’s not to like: He’s a Mormon, which might not play well at ND. I could see ND holding its nose on somebody of Leach’s caliber, but I think it might be too much for a guy like Whittingham. Meyer went 22-2 at Utah (0.917). You could argue that Whittingham took over a program that Meyer built, although I think his steady progress there (7-5 8-5 9-4 12-0) indicates a growing coach who’s built his own program.

What we don’t know: Could a coach like this come in a take advantage of the caliber of player at ND? Can he compete against the true elite coaches and schools?

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/35/358628.jpgTom O’Brien

Why you know him: He coached at BC for a long time and is now at NC State.

Background: He’s a former marine. After nine years of service, he returned as an assistant coach at Navy and followed George Welsh to Virginia, where he was a part of the staff for 15 years. He eventually worked as the OC there until offered the BC job in 1996.

What’s to like: He coached at BC for a long time and beat us a bunch of times. BC is traditionally 0.588. O’Brien’s percentage was 0.594 (85-58). At BC he went 7-1 in Bowl games.

What’s not to like: He’s 60, which seems a bit on the older side. None of his bowl wins at BC were terribly prestigious. He never won an outright title in 10 seasons at BC. His record at NC state (10-13) is weak, although the team is showing signs of improvement. He supposedly doesn’t like to recruit much. Washington picked Ty Willingham over him.

What we don’t know: He’s been coaching for a long time, so I think “what he is” is pretty clear: an average coach that’s looked good because he frequently beat ND and won a bunch of minor bowl games.

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0fM08aHePo6Bj/340x.jpgGary Patterson

Why you know him: He coaches at TCU.

Background: He's spent his entire career coaching on the defensive side of the ball in college, except for a one year stint as the head coach of the Oregon Lightning Bolts of the Professional Spring Football League. His only time at a major BCS school was as a grad assistant at KSU and the DB coach at Navy, if you are inclined to count that.

What's to like: TCU is traditionally 0.521 and Patterson is 71-27 (0.724), which is outstanding. He's had moderate success against good teams. He beat a #21 Colorado State in a bowl game. One time, he beat Bob Stoops (that was a pretty bad team for Stoops, though). Another time, he beat Leach when Texas Tech was #24 in 2006. He beat Harbaugh and Stanford in 2007. TCU consistently features strong defenses, or so they say. Patterson may have taken TCU to its ceiling.

What's to not like: That 71-27 record comes against fairly weak schedules. I have it in my mind that Kyle Whittingham is a rival or comparative barometer of his and he's 1-3 against Whittingham at Utah. He's lost to some of the other decent teams on his schedule like Petrino's Louisville, Hawkin's BSU, Brown's Texas, and Stoops's Oklahoma. He's 4-3 in bowl games. The last coach to come out of TCU was Dennis Franchione.

What we don’t know: How is Patterson regarded as a recruiter? Could he recruit well at ND? He has some nice wins, but also some tough losses.

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/28/283351.jpgBret Bielema

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Wisconsin. He complained about ND getting into a BCS game over his squad one year.

Background: He played guard at Iowa in the early 90s. After playing in the AFL, he returned as an assistant at Iowa, became DC at Kansas State, and then DC at Wisconsin. After Barry Alvarez retired, he became the head coach there.

What’s to like: He’s very young (38). His 28-10 record (0.737) is very good at Wisconsin (0.563), even surpassing Alvarez’s 0.617 mark. He’s 1-1 in bowl games, which isn’t the worst for Wisconsin.

What’s not to like: He rubbed ND fans the wrong way when complaining about not getting into a BCS game. His record has gotten progressively worse each season at Wisconsin (12-1 9-4 7-5). He avoided OSU in his 12 win season. His record against notable coaches isn’t the worst, but doesn’t regularly go up against the really high-end coaches: 0-1 vs. Rodriguez, 0-2 vs. Tressel, 1-2 vs. Paterno, 1-1 vs. Dantonio, 1-1 vs. Ferentz, 1-1 vs. Carr, 1-0 vs. Nutt, 0-1 vs. Fulmer.

What we don’t know: Was his early success the product of what Alvarez built? Will his trajectory rebound?

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/writers/austin_murphy/09/28/usf.wvu/t1_leavitt.jpgJim Leavitt

Why do you know him: He’s the coach at USF.

Background: He played at Missouri in the 70s and following graduation became a grad assistant. He left to become DC at the University of Debuque. He left for Morningside College to become special teams coordinator and after a year also became DC. He dropped out of coaching to pursue a PhD in psychology at Iowa, but left to coach as an assistant at KSU, becoming the DC there. He was hired as the first head coach of USF.

What’s to like: If you want a program builder, this is the guy. He’s literally built a program from the ground up. My advisor tells me stories that his first office was a trailer and he did the team’s laundry himself. USF has bumped around with conference affiliations, first as an independent, then joining CUSA and finally the Big East. In Div-1, USF has gone 40-30 under Leavitt. He’s gone 8-3, 9-2, 7-4, 4-7, 6-6, 9-4, and 9-4 since joining Div 1. His record against notables is so-so: 1-1 vs. Mangino, 0-2 vs. Kelly at Cincinnati, 1-3 vs. Schiano, 2-1 vs. Edsall, 1-0 vs. Tuberville, 2-1 vs. Rodriguez, 0-1 vs. Bellotti, 1-2 vs. Dantonio at Cincinnati, 0-1 vs. Paterno, 1-1 vs. Patterson, 0-1 vs. Stoops, 0-1 vs. Nutt, 1-0 vs. Meyer at Bowling Green.

What’s not to like: He’s 1-2 in bowl games. He hasn’t won a Big East championship. He’s had interest from Alabama and KSU, but has remained at USF.

What we don’t know: I come away feeling like he’s done some good things as the DC at KSU and building USF, but that he really isn’t an elite head coach in hiding.
 
http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2006/1019/ncf_g_hill_195.jpgPat Hill

Why you know him: He’s the coach at Fresno State.

Background: He played Center at UC-Riverside in the 70s. He coached at LA Valley College, before becoming an assistant at Utah. He then had short stints at UNLV and in the CFL and was an assistant at Fresno. He became the OC at Arizona, before coaching with the Cleveland Browns and Ravens. He then took on the job at Fresno.

What’s to like: He’s 85-55 (0.607) at Fresno, which is traditionally 0.597. That’s a small bump, though.
What’s not to like: He’s 4-4 in bowl games. In 11 seasons, he’s only one a single, shared WAC title. His record against coaching notables isn’t very good: 1-0 vs. Schiano, 0-1 vs. Bielma, 0-3 vs. Bellotti, 0-2 vs. Peterson, 0-1 vs. Willingham at Washington, 0-1 vs. Miles, 1-3 vs. Hawkins at BSU, 0-1 vs. Carroll, 1-0 vs. Groh, 0-1 vs. Fulmer, 0-1 vs. Stoops, 1-0 vs. Riley.

What we don’t know: He gets named in a lot of coaching searches because he’s the stereotypical “does a lot with a little” and his teams have reputations for being tough and because he coached under Belicheck in the NFL. I’m not sure what he’d do at a “real program.”

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0204/ncf_i_hawkins_inline_300.jpgDan Hawkins

Why you know him: He said he wanted the ND job after Meyer turned us down. He’s another youtube coach (“This is Division 1 football!”).

Background: He played fullback at UC Davis in the 70s. He was an OC at Siskiyous and DC at Sonoma State. He was the head coach at Williamette and then became an assistant at BSU. When Dirk Koetter left, he became the head coach at BSU.

What's to like: He has a pretty good record at BSU, 53-11 (0.828) above BSU's average and is 2-2 in Bowl Games.

What's not to like: He's been terrible at Colorado, going 12–21. He needs to get things together or he might lose his job there.

What we don’t know: Why do people seriously consider him as a coaching candidate?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1030/ncf_g_edsall_200.jpgRandy Edsall

Why you know him: He’s the coach at UConn

Background: He played quarterback at Syracuse in the 80s. He coached a lot under Coughlin when he was at BC and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then coached at Georgia Tech as the DC. In 1998 he took the head coaching job at UConn, which was Div IAA at the time.

What’s to like: He’s done pretty well at UConn. In his second season, UConn moved to IA. Information on him is a bit tough to gather, but his bio brags about a 6-6 2002 season, then 9-3 in 2004. His overall record is 50-55 which is the third winningest in school history.

What’s not to like: Do we really want to hire a guy under 0.500, no matter where he’s at?
What we don’t know: A lot. He’s a real unknown.