A couple of weeks ago, I began looking at potential head coaches from a list I came up with. I divided it almost equally into three categories: Part 1) Coaches who are sitting coordinators, mostly at P5 schools; Part 2) Coaches who are head coaches, at mostly G5 schools; Part 3) “Veteran Options” who are active or former head coaches over the age of 50.
Today we’ll wrap up this short series with Part 3, once again in alphabetical order.
Bret Bielema, 48, Undefined role, New England Patriots
Bielema happens to be a name a lot of people are associating with new Kansas athletic director Jeff Long. There’s a lot of speculation that Long would look his direction if the time came to fire David Beaty.
Bielema reportedly has zero interest in returning to college. Money talks, but how much would KU have to pay him if he’s happy where he’s at?
If he were interested, he checks all of the boxes. He’s been successful at multiple P5 schools, Wisconsin and Arkansas, with a career record of 97-58. He got canned at Arkansas mostly because he wouldn’t play politics with the Arkansas boosters who think their program is LSU (it’s not).
Craig Bohl, 59, HC, Wyoming
Another defensive coach, Bohl was a DC for Rice, Duke, and Nebraska before taking the head coach position at North Dakota State in 2003. All he did at NDSU was go 104-32 over 11 seasons and win three national titles.
At Wyoming, Bohl turned the Cowboys around in just three years. He’s 22-29 in four seasons, but has had back-to-back 8-win seasons and been to two consecutive bowl games.
He’s currently making $1.4M per year on a contract that runs through 2023. The original buyout in 2017 was $6.5M that decreases annually; I couldn’t find what that figure is for 2018. Regardless, it looks like Bohl would be hard to get from a dollars perspective.
Troy Calhoun, 51, HC, Air Force
Calhoun played quarterback at Air Force in his college days, and has been the head man in Colorado Springs since 2007. So far, he is 82-60 in 11 seasons. The most recent information I can find on his contract situation is from December of 2016; he’s in year three of a five-year deal good through the 2019 season, making $885k per year.
Indications are that Calhoun may be a lifer at Air Force, but if KU offers him $2M or more per year? That would be hard to turn down.
Dave Doeren, 46, HC, NC State
Forget it, guys.
Dave Doeren just signed a new contract in April of 2018 with NC State that pays him approximately $3M per year with a hefty buyout - $6M for 2018.
Under Doeren, the Wolfpack have been to four consecutive bowls and won three or more conference games since his second season there in 2014.
The ghost of Zenger strikes again.
Willie Fritz, 58, HC, Tulane
A Pitt State Gorilla, Fritz has been a head coach at Blinn CC (TX), Central Missouri, Sam Houston State, Georgia Southern, and now Tulane. He has done nothing but win everywhere he’s gone, posting a career 163-84 head coaching record despite being just 9-15 so far at Tulane. If the Green Wave have a big season in 2018, though, Fritz will be a hot name across the country, not just at Kansas.
Fritz currently makes $1.2M at Tulane; I could not find information on the buyout, as Tulane is a private school and does not typically disclose salary information.
Doc Holliday, 61, HC, Marshall
A West Virginia native (and WVU alum), Holliday has been the head man at Marshall since 2010, going 61-42 over those eight seasons with three 10-win campaigns. Prior to Marshall, Holliday was an associate head coach at West Virginia, Florida, and NC State, as well as being a long-time West Virginia assistant coach from 1979-1999.
A side note - in the summer of 2017 there was a political tiff between Holliday and the governor of West Virginia, who apparently tried to oust Holliday as the coach at Marshall and install a friend (and campaign contributor) Bobby Pruett. Weird.
Anyway, Holliday currently pulls in just over $760k per year on a contract that expires in the summer of 2021 with a $725k buyout.
Jim McElwain, 56, WR, Michigan
McElwain appears to check a lot of the boxes a school like Kansas might be looking for. He’s been an offensive coordinator at Montana State, Fresno State, and Alabama, and has been the head coach at Colorado State and Florida. His career record as a head coach is 44-28, and he had two nine-win seasons at Florida, including two SEC East titles.
However, he never seemed to win over the fanbase at Florida, and the PR mishaps in the middle of his third season did him in. (This pulling scholarships stuff that just came out is also a bit of a concern.)
He is currently on a one-year deal at Michigan worth $300k, with the possibility of moving up to a coordinator position.
But after reading up, honestly, I’m not interested.
Les Miles, 64, Unemployed
Miles may be unemployed as a football coach, but apparently has caught the acting bug. At age 64, he’s the oldest candidate on this list. After going 114-34 at LSU, including a national championship, Miles will have been out of coaching for three years by the end of the 2018 season. More and more writers are counting him out. It probably just comes down to, does he REALLY want to coach again, and would a total rebuild job (like Kansas) be something he would consider?
Jeff Monken, 51, HC, Army
Monken has an interesting resume - at least according to Wikipedia, he was never a coordinator before becoming a head coach. A triple-option wizard, Monken has been an assistant at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech, all under Paul Johnson. He was the head coach at GSU from 2010-2013, going 38-16, before becoming the head guy at Army in 2014. While at Army, Monken has a record of just 24-26, but has won 18 games over the past two years, including two bowl games.
According to a 2016 report, Monken makes just over $930K. He signed an extension in September of 2017, but terms were not disclosed.
Greg Schiano, 52, DC, Ohio State
Did Greg Schiano deserve the backlash that he got from the whole Tennessee fiasco? Schiano, for his part, continues to deny the allegation leveled by Mike McQueary that he failed to report sexual assault.
Kansas may be best served by avoiding this completely.
But just for due diligence, Schiano won at Rutgers of all places, with a career 68-67 record and five 8+ win seasons in 11 years in Piscataway. He just got a raise earlier this year at Ohio State that bumped his salary to $1.5M on a one-year deal.
Jeff Tedford, 56, HC, Fresno State
It seems like Tedford has been around forever. He coordinated offenses at Fresno State and Oregon before becoming the head coach at Cal from 2002-2012, where he went 82-57 with six 8+ win seasons in 11 seasons. 2017 was his first year as the head coach at Fresno State; the Bulldogs went 10-4 after winning just one game under their previous coach in 2016.
Tedford is set to begin year two of a contract that pays him $1.58M annually through 2021, not including a whole bunch of incentives. However, the buyout is also $1.5M.
This is actually one of the more interesting names on the list, and I think it’s an affordable number for Kansas should Jeff Long decide he’s interested.
Ed Warriner, 57, OL, Michigan
Famously the offensive coordinator under Mark Mangino at KU, Warriner has just signed a two-year deal with Michigan that pays him $525k per year as the offensive line coach. There’s no buyout if he leaves to be a head coach.
Warriner reportedly interviewed for the KU job in 2014 before the school hired David Beaty. Would he be willing to listen to KU if a new AD with a different vision came calling?