We’re nearly to the end of the regular season so, as the Coaching Watch guy at College football America, I’m checking back in with our hot coaching names from our preseason publication to see where they’re at, and adding some names that could see themselves with new head coaching jobs come season’s end. This will be our last hot coaching names article of the season.
From College Football America Yearbook Encyclopedia:
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart: This guy isn’t going to settle for any old opening. Expect it to be in the south somewhere, either SEC or ACC country. The openings may actually be pretty slim in those two conferences this year.
Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson: Morris is off the market. SMU hired him as their head coach on Monday.
Mark Hudspeth, head coach, Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns just finished off their fourth-straight eight win season. He feels like a long-shot for Florida, but if the dominoes start falling if Florida lures an SEC head coach Hudspeth should be right in the running. It’s just a matter of time.
Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator, Alabama: I’ve given this a bit more thought. Kiffin could get a head-coaching job in 2015, depending on the opening and the timing, as it seems he might be busy in January. He’s up for the Bryoles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Doug Nussmeier, offensive coordinator, Michigan: Brady Hoke was fired Tuesday. Nussmeier’s future is in limbo.
Rice head coach David Bailiff: Rice really tailed off at the end of the season. His job isn’t in danger but I wouldn’t expect him to move on, either.
Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford: Tuck his name in your back pocket for 2015. The Longhorns are now bowl eligible and their defense is a big reason why.
Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal: He’ll get interviews. If he gets a job, it’ll be a Group of 5 school. I don’t see him as a candidate for Florida or Michigan.
USC offensive associate head coach Marques Tuiasosopo: A coach to track, unless a Group of 5 school is sold on Tuiasosopo’s ability, even though he hasn’t been a coordinator yet.
Ball State head coach Pete Lembo: Staying put this offseason. The Cardinals will miss out on a bowl game.
Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin: The best FCS coaching candidate for a Group of 5 school looking for an exciting offense. He’s exactly the type of coach that could energize a program like Kansas, too. Baldwin will be busy for a couple of weeks with the FCS playoffs, but it didn’t stop Craig Bohl from nabbing the Wyoming job last year.
Additions after Week 8
Mack Brown, unemployed: Brown told the Associated Press earlier this season that he would not pursue jobs, but would be willing to listen if someone wanted to talk to him. It should be interesting to see if anyone bites.
Ruffin McNeill, head coach, East Carolina: ECU’s late-season collapse ensures that McNeill will stay put.
Doc Holliday, head coach, Marshall: He should get a few interviews after an 11-1 season.
Willie Fritz, head coach, Georgia Southern: An impressive first season in FBS for the Eagles. An impressive first season in FBS for Fritz. It wouldn’t be the first time a first-year FBS head coach moves to another job in Year 2.
Mike Bobo, offensive coordinator, Georgia: Again, here’s a guy that Kansas should talk with. A great offensive mind that can roll with the punches when it comes to injuries and personnel.
Jake Spavital, offensive coordinator, Texas A&M: A name to watch for 2015, unless a Group of 5 really desires him and he wants to leave.
Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State: Like Smart and Morris, he’s an in-demand assistant looking for the right job. He passed on a couple last year. It was probably a wise decision.
Nick Howell, defensive coordinator, BYU: Track him for 2015.
Additions after Week 10
Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, co-offensive coordinator, TCU: Meacham’s overall experience makes him a more likely candidate for 2015. Tuck Cumbie’s name away for 2016.
Randy Sanders, offensive coordinator, Florida State: The Seminoles just seem to find ways to win. Some of that is Jameis Winston. Some of that is Sanders’ scheme. He’s not a big name, so Group of 5 seems more likely.
Jim McElwain, head coach, Colorado State: The season-ending loss won’t put a damper on his job prospects if he’s ready to move on. Rumor has it that McElwain and Florida are talking.
Dave Aranda, defensive coordinator, Wisconsin: Probably a 2015 prospect, but one of the top young coordinators making his way up the food chain.
Additions after Week 12
Justin Fuente, head coach, Memphis: Fuente has done a fantastic turnaround job at Memphis. Now let’s see if it turns into a new job. He’ll be a hot name. Kansas could come calling.
Dan Mullen, head coach, Mississippi State: MSU lost its finale to Ole Miss. They’re not gonna run Mullen out of town. Might Michigan be enticing to him?
Addition after Week 13
Mike Gundy, head coach, Oklahoma State: A guy whose name will be mentioned in connection to the Michigan job, if it comes open.
Additions after Week 14
Scott Frost, offensive coordinator, Oregon: He’s going to get a shot at a job soon. After another tremendously productive season in Eugene, there might be an opening that lures Frost away. With the Nebraska job now open, expect Frost to get an interview after the Pac-12 title game.
Tom Herman, offensive coordinator, Ohio State: The job he’s done with J.T. Barrett has been outstanding. OSU’s success under Urban Meyer means there will be few feelers for Herman’s services as a head coach, if he wants it.
Tracy Claeys, defensive coordinator, Minnesota: Jerry Kill’s assistants are incredibly loyal, so it’s uncertain if Claeys is even looking. But he’s a Broyles Award nominee as assistant coach of the year and he was the coach Kill turned to in order to serve as the team’s leader during his absence. The Mid-American Conference loves to go after Big Ten assistants. Any MAC schools with openings should take a look.
Bill Clark, UAB: Clark did a fantastic job, getting the Blazers to bowl eligibility in his first season. However, the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees fired his athletic director on Sunday and he is now unemployed. Clark would be a great fit for a Group of 5 school looking for a new coach.