Next up we've got a name that has been on everyone's list from the beginning, but it's also a name that has received less attention than most. A lot of that might have to do with where he's at and the type of program and system he is working in, but Troy Calhoun is a solid candidate with a strong background and some recent success at a program in Air Force that can be difficult to win at on a consistent basis.
Calhoun also seems to be a coach that would be in a position to fly pretty under the radar in terms of rumors and leaks which might be what has helped him maintain a low profile in all of this. Either way, he's a name that has been slowly gaining some momentum in the Kansas fan conversation and he's certainly worth a look if indeed he is ready to explore options outside of the Academy.
Calhoun is a native of the State of Oregon and born in 1966. If age is important to you in a coaching search that makes him 45. Plenty of tread left on the tires with Calhoun and that could be viewed as a good thing. Following high school Calhoun was recruited by the Air Force Academy to play quarterback. Calhoun was one of just two freshman to letter on the 1985 12-1 Falcon team and would start at quarterback during the 1986 season.
Following his graduation from the Academy in 1989, Calhoun would enter active duty from 1989 through 1995 while acting as an assistant at Air Force in 1994-1995. This would be where Calhoun would get his start in coaching under Fisher DeBerry who is a bit of a legend at the Air Force Academy.
In 1995 Calhoun would step away from the Academy to further develop his career and join the University of Ohio as the quarterbacks coach where he would serve for two seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 1997. During his time at Ohio the Bobcats would set a school record for offensive yardage per game over the course of the season and the 8-3 team in 1999 represented the best finish by an Ohio team in nearly 30 years.
In 2001 Calhoun would make the jump to the BCS level when he took the offensive coordinator job at Wake Forest. Calhoun would coach for two seasons and during his second season the Demon Deacons would finish first in the ACC in total offense.
At that point Calhoun returned to the State of Colorado and for the first time made the jump to the professional level joining the Denver Broncos. Calhoun served as a defensive assistant, offensive assistant, special teams coach and eventually assistant head coach during his three seasons with Denver and in 2006 Calhoun would follow Gary Kubiak to the Houston Texans where he would serve one season as offensive coordinator before the job at his Alma Mater would open up.
With the opportunity available at Air Force, it was the perfect fit for Calhoun at the time and the perfect fit for Air Force as well. Calhoun would become the first Air Force graduate to lead the program and just the sixth coach all time in the history of Air Force football.
In five seasons with the Falcons, Calhoun has a 41-23 record averaging over eight wins a year. Calhoun has landed Air Force in a bowl game for five straight seasons and finished as a high as second in the MWC during what has been one of the more competitive runs in the conferences history.
I think there will likely be some skeptics when looking at Calhoun's overall resume and experience, but one think you can't argue is the fact that the coach knows how to run a disciplined program. He's been a part of and coached one of the most disciplined programs in the country and he does more with less at Air Force than many.
Calhoun was a hot name a year ago and elected to stay at the Academy so it's hard to say if he's really wanting to leave. He's successful, he has a great situation and he's coaching in a place he loves. It all boils down to whether or not he wants to try to do it at another level or not. One thing is for sure, as long as he keeps producing at Air Force his name will continue to pop up on the coaching radar in during the offseason.