Coaching Hot Board: First Edition

With the imminent dismissal of Dennis Erickson, speculation about ASU's next head football coach has already begun. After talking with numerous sources, DevilsDigest.com has put together an initial list of coaches that currently are being considered candidates for this vacancy. Read on to see who these candidates are and what are some of the hiring factors involved with each and every one of them.

Kevin Sumlin
Current Position:
Head coach at University of Houston
Age:
47
Overall record:
35-16
Salary:
$1.13 million
Buyout:
$600,000
Notable:
In 2007, Sumlin became the first Houston coach to lead his team to a bowl victory in 28 years, and these days the Cougars are sitting at 12-0 entering their conference championship game.
Positives:
Sumlin is arguably the hottest head coach candidate out there and is coveted by several teams. He would come in and run an offense similar to what Arizona State runs now, so this side of the ball could have a smooth transition. Sumlin can successfully recruit Texas and give the Sun Devils a better imprint there. Has ties to current ASU assistants Noel Mazzone and Steve Broussard and retaining one or two of them is another possible measure of a smooth transition (especially Broussard who is ASU's recruiting coordinator and has helped assemble one of he best 2012 recruiting classes in the Pac-12)
Negatives:
No BCS conference head coaching experience or recruiting ties to the West Coast. ASU would be facing stiff competition to land his services depending on what other coaching openings take place.

Larry Fedora
Current Position:
Head coach at Southern Mississippi
Age:
49
Overall record:
32-19
Salary:
$800,000
Buyout:
Estimated at $400,000
Notable:
The Golden Eagles played in a bowl game in each of his first three seasons and are assured that feat again this year with a current 10-2 record.
Positives:
Fedora has been the offensive coordinator at Florida and Oklahoma State. Another coveted candidate all across the country who has a reputation of landing several blue chip recruits at Southern Mississippi .
Negatives:
Does not have any West Coast ties in recruiting nor BCS head coaching experience. Appears more likely to accept a head coaching job in the South or at the very least east of the Mississippi.

Ron English
Current Position: Head coach at Eastern Michigan
N/A
Age:
43
Overall record:
8-27
Salary:
$350,000/year
Buyout:
Not reported
Notable:
Coached under former ASU coaches Bruce Snyder and Dirk Koetter for four years. Was also a graduate assistant with the Sun Devils.
Positives:
Has obvious ASU ties that could ultimately be very appealing due to his familiarity with the program. If ASU is seeking a defensive minded coach he would be one of the better candidates out there. Known as a very good recruiter with ties to the West Coast.
Negatives:
Has a bad track record with the Eagles compiling an 8-27 mark. No BCS conference head coaching experience.

Mark Helfrich
Current Position: Offensive coordinator at Oregon
N/A
Age:
37
Overall record:
N/A
Salary:
$203,000/year
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Coached under former ASU coach Dirk Koetter for four years.
Positives:
Another candidate with strong ASU ties that has guided some of the most prolific offenses in Sun Devil history, and has had some impressive success with the Ducks as well. Runs an offensive scheme that is virtually identical to ASU's. Has been coaching on the West Coast for the last decade and thus has developed recruiting ties in the area. Is extremely familiar with the Pac-12.
Negatives:
No BCS conference head coaching experience. Despite being a successful offensive coordinator for all these years has rarely been mentioned for BCS conference head coach vacancies.

Justin Wilcox
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at Tennessee
Age:
35
Overall record:
N/A
Salary:
$600,000
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Played as a defensive back for the University of Oregon
Positives:
Has had great success as a defensive coordinator at Boise State. Considered a very dynamic individual who has established West Coast recruiting ties and has probably developed some of the same ties now in the Southeast.
Negatives:
No BCS conference head coaching experience. Has been the defensive coordinator at Tennessee for just one season and may not want to pursue a head coaching job at this point .

Kirby Smart
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at Alabama
Age:
36
Overall record:
N/A
Salary:
$850,000/year
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
In 2009 Smart was awarded the Broyles Award for the nation's best assistant coach. He is the first Alabama assistant coach to win the award
Positives:
One of the elite defensive coaches in the country, and another candidate for various vacancies. Under his watch Alabama won a national championship and his defenses have consistently been leading the nation in various categories in recent years .
Negatives:
No BCS conference head coaching experience. May be too entrenched in SEC country to want to venture out West.

Randy Shannon
Current Position:
N/A
Age:
45
Overall record:
28-20 at the University of Miami from 2007-10
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Played under outgoing ASU's head coach Dennis Erickson. Attended many of the Sun Devil practices during Erickson's tenure.
Positives:
While he didn't have a great record at The "U" he didn't exactly drive that program to the ground either. He did improve team's grades and graduation rates and did instill discipline in the team, and in that sense would be apealing to ASU. Being a head coach at a BCS school with strong media attention he could definitely handle what awaits him in Tempe. He's one candidate that would have a chip on his shoulder eager to prove his doubters wrong. .
Negatives:
Last week many of the Sun Devil nation snickered at their archival hiring an unemployed coach and it will be interesting to see if ASU chose to go this route themselves, which could elicit some resistance from boosters and fans. The fact that he can be viewed as the proverbial "Erickson Guy" could be a hindrance. While he was never implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami some serious NCAA infractions did take place under his watch that negate his track record for discipline. Has no West Coast ties and in fact never ventured outside of Miami, Fla. for his entire coaching career.

Note: Candidates will be added/dropped each week as we keep you updated on all the latest developments.

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