Shopping for a Football Coach? Plenty of options on Black Friday.
By Bill Roth
CINCINNATI, OH – The holiday shopping season begins today for athletic directors looking for a new football coach, and at the moment, there are some mighty good jobs open from Gainesville to Westwood. As always, there are some deals to be had but the high-end models are going to cost you, With the first-ever early signing date approaching for college football, the urgency to get a deal done is dramatically heightened.
It’s turned into a maddening dash to hire coaches, just like a crazy scramble at Target when the doors swing open. So with that in mind, here’s your 2017 Black Friday Coaches’ Shoppers Guide:
CHIP KELLY: Coach Kelly is the iPhone X of coaches this shopping season. He’s got a lot of great features, runs a fast system, and is high-tech all the way. And, like the iPhone X, he’s going to cost you a lot of cash. (But, you don’t have to worry about that silly notch at the top.) Kelly went 46-7 at Oregon and it would be great to have him back in the college game. Florida and UCLA are the top suitors and expect a decision this weekend.
SCOTT FROST: The UCF head coach is leading the Knights to their greatest season ever which will continue today with a nationally-televised game with USF. Frost is a former Nebraska QB (and Chip Kelly protégé I might add) who has an unbeaten team that’s averaging nearly 50 points per game. Scott is basically the iPhone 8 plus. If it wasn’t for the X (that would be Kelly), he’d be the top story of the year.
KEVIN SUMLIN: This guy is a gem and while Texas A&M apparently has grown tired of 8-5 seasons, Kevin’s going to be a huge-get for someone. Coach Sumlin has gone 51-25 while playing in the SEC west and the dude can recruit as well as any head coach out there. Alexa? Find me a great football coach. This dude is the Echo Plus.
MIKE MACINTYRE: Are you looking for a rebuild? Do you need someone with a proven track record of turning around a program? Coach Mac has done it twice (San Jose and Colorado) and understands the process of how to get it done. I’ve personally had the opportunity to visit with Mike when he was at Duke and Colorado and he has the temperament to handle those tough, dicey rebuilds. Hello Ole Miss?
MANNY DIAZ: In many other years, Manny might be the one of the biggest names on the Black Friday shopping list. He’s a terrific recruiter, the innovator of Miami’s turnover chain, and a solid coordinator.
MIKE BOBO: Colorado State’s head coach has spent three seasons in Ft. Collins and has done well. But, he’s an SEC guy. He’ll come back to the region eventually, and perhaps this is the year for the former UGA quarterback.
THE WILDCARDS: Jimbo Fisher (FSU), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Mike Leach (Washington State), Matt Campbell (Iowa State). There’s a story behind why each might be on the move, but if you’re an AD, they’ll take your call. Also remember Jim Mora is available and Bret Bielema might be.
There will be a ton of movement in the next 72 hours. AD’s are waiting outside in the parking lot, positioning themselves for the moment the doors swing open after this weekend’s games.
NOTE: I'm in Cincinnati where I'll have the call of tomorrow's Cincinnati-Connecticut game. Both of these programs made coaching changes last year, with the Bearcats bringing in Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and UConn re-hiring long time coach Randy Edsall. Former LSU Tiger Brian Kinchen and I will have the game on ESPNews tomorrow at noon ET. Hope you can join us.