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?
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
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?
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?
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
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
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
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?
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?
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
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?
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
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?
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?
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
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?
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.
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?
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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”?
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.
Why you know him: He made Rutgers good for a few
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
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.
Why you know him: He’s the guy who replaced Meyer at
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
What we don’t know: Was his
early success the
product of what Alvarez built? Will his trajectory rebound?
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.
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
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
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
What we don’t know: Why do
people seriously consider
him as a coaching candidate?
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
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
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.