It\’s no longer a matter of if but when Brady Hoke will be fired as the head coach of Michigan. As much as I like him as a person and \”Michigan man\”, he is in way over his head with this job. Being the head coach at Michigan is one of the most strenuous, but desired, coaching positions in sports.
People can argue all they want that UofM has taken a step back in terms of national relevance, and in terms of the product on the field, they\’re right. But in terms of popularity, money, and significance, the leader of the Maize and Blue is at the top. That is why University President Schlissel cannot follow in the footsteps his predecessors and hire a 2nd tier, up and coming, bargain brand coach. The Michigan fan base and football program deserve the best. Hell, it\’s in the school\’s fight song.
So, it\’s time for Michigan to follow it\’s own words of wisdom and get the \”best\”. It\’s time to open up the check book and bring in a game changer that will strike fear in every opponent and fan across the country, and give the Michigan fan base reason to truly believe again.
Here are my top 20 Michigan head coaching candidates:
Home Run Hires (Must get guys, IMO)
1a. Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers Head Coach
– The obvious #1 option. Rumor has it that the Regents are willing to make him the highest paid coach in college football history ($8+ million/year with incentives). Even if it\’s only for 3-4 years, I believe he could bring Michigan back to elite levels in no time.
1b. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach
– Always wanted to be a Wolverine, now the Super Bowl champ has his chance. Rumor is the school prefers him over Jim and with the turmoil happening in Baltimore, he may look to leave for a chance to revive the program he grew up around.
3. Les Miles, LSU Head Coach
– Former O-lineman and GA is up there in age but he is an elite recruiter and developer of talent. While some think he\’s past his prime, the big name and elite experience would be huge for the program. And I believe he\’d jump at the opportunity, if offered.
Pipe Dream Hires (Very unlikely, but money talks and they might listen)
4. Nick Saban, Alabama Head Coach
– He\’s hit the peak in Tuscaloosa and seems to be growing more and more frustrated with the media and gig. Maybe the chance to turn around another power house, and make him the greatest college coach ever (hands down), could bring him back to the state.
5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma Head Coach
– It looks like Oklahoma could miss out on the Playoffs this year and he may look for a change of scenery. He was interested in the OSU and ND jobs and if Michigan comes calling, he could at least listen.
6. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach
– Total shot in the dark but if the Steelers miss the playoffs again, he could be out. His enthusiasm and passion would be great in college. Oh, and having that Super Bowl ring wouldn\’t hurt.
7. Sean Peyton, New Orleans Saints Head Coach
– The end of an era looks to be happening. Could a chance to revive a legendary program bring him back to the college game? He was the offensive coordinator at Miami (OH) in \’94-95.
8. Jon Gruden, MNF Analyst/Former NFL Head Coach
– The Super Bowl champion coach said in his college player profile that his dream job after college was to coach the Wolverines.
Very Good Hires (Possible, if offered and paid)
9. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M Head Coach
– Interviewed for the job in 2011 and could jump at the chance to take over a power program.
10. David Shaw, Stanford Head Coach
– Great recruiter and old school coach that has proven he can win with high academic standards.
11. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State Head Coach
– The hottest name available after big wins in the SEC, but I doubt he\’ll leave MSU for anywhere but Florida.
Good Hires (Good coaches who\’d listen)
12. Gary Patterson, TCU Head Coach
– One the best and most underrated coaches in the country would likely jump at the shot to take over the Wolverines.
13. Brett Bielema, Arkansas Head Coach
– The current Razorback and former Wisconsin Badger head coach is an old school, power run coach that may come back to the B1G.
14. Greg Schiano, Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach
– Tough nosed coach that can recruit but is also known to rub people the wrong way.
15. Pat Narduzzi, MSU Defensive Coordinator
– Best defensive coordinator in the country. Would he take a call to take over his team\’s biggest rival? He\’d be dumb not to.
2nd Tier Hires (Swung and missed on every one else)
16. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Head Coach
– Big Ten foe is an energetic players coach that could excel with a bigger program.
17. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Head Coach
– Some think he\’s higher on the list but with the investigation surrounding OSU, I don\’t think he\’s a good fit.
18. Kyle Wittingham, Utah Head Coach
– He was a somewhat popular name in 2011 and has turned Utah into a legit Pac 12 contender.
19. Todd Graham, Arizona State Head Coach
– He\’s turned Arizona State around but I doubt the regents and fan base want Rich Rod 2.0
20. Butch Jones, Tennessee Head Coach
– He\’s killed it on the recruiting trail but is already getting backlash from UT fans for a poor season.
Other Names to Keep an Eye On
- Teryl Austin, Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator
- Jerry Kill, Minnesota Head Coach
- Chuck Martin, Miami (OH) Head Coach
Good Michigan Men but No Thanks
- Lloyd Carr, Former Michigan Head Coach
- Doug Nussmeier, Michigan Offensive Coordinator
- Tyrone Wheatley Sr, Buffalo Bills RB Coach
- Cam Cameron, LSU Offensive Coordinator