Coaching Hot Board: First edition

When Mike Stoops was let go on Monday, speculation about Arizona's next head coach immediately began. After talking with numerous sources, WildcatAuthority.com has put together an initial list of candidates. Read on to see the candidates and why or why not they may be considered.

This is the first installment of the WildcatAuthority.com Coaching Hot Board. Candidates will be added/dropped each week as we keep you updated on all the happenings with the search.



Chris Petersen

About: Petersen has taken Boise State's success to another level, bringing it to two Fiesta Bowl wins. As an offensive coordinator under then head coach Dan Hawkins, Petersen won the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant, twice. In 2007, Petersen guided Boise State to an undefeated season and had legitimate claims for a national championship. Petersen's contract calls for $8 million over the course of the five-year deal, or $1.6 million per year. The contract also includes automatic one-year extensions to the contract each time he wins at least eight regular season games.

Why: Petersen is considered to be one of the best head coaches in the country. With Kellen Moore leaving and the NCAA sniffing around the program, it could be time for a change. Arizona already has talent on its roster and it will allow Petersen to continue his recruiting ties. In addition, Petersen was on Oregon's staff from 1995-2000 and reportedly knows Greg Byrne very well.

Why not: Petersen can coach at Boise State the rest of his life if he wants to. Even though Moore is leaving, he has shown an ability to bring in players that can compete at a high level. Eventually, Boise can make a case to move to a bigger conference and money is not seemingly an issue for Petersen. He reportedly turned down Stanford and can pick his job for the most part, so why Arizona?



Mike Belotti

About: Had a 116–55 record at Oregon, including four ten-win seasons. The Ducks finished second in the nation in 2001 and he led Oregon to a bowl game in 12 of his 14 seasons as head coach. He had the second most victories of any Pac-10 school in his tenure. In 2008, had one of the best rushing attacks in the country and it resonated throughout his career, as Oregon consistently had one of the best offenses in the nation. Belotti currently works at ESPN as an analyst.

Why: Belotti may be wanting to get back in the coaching game after sitting out. Coaching in Arizona would allow him to stay west and enter a situation that is set up for success with new facilities, support, and more. He enters the job as a friend of Byrne, which will allow him to be more comfortable than other possible openings. Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey allow him to come in and run his offense almost immediately.

Why not: Belotti is comfortable at ESPN and there is little reason to leave. He is already 60 years old and could decide to leave any time. Chip Kelley has had as much success as Belotti, which would bring up questions as to how successful he can be. May be connected with UCLA head coaching job if there is a change there.



Kevin Sumlin

About: Sumlin is the current coach at the University of Houston and in his first three years, the Cougar offense has topped 40 points in 22 of 39 games, reached 50 points on nine occasions and registered at least 70 points in a game two times. In 2009, Houston led the nation in passing offense (433.71 ypg), total offense (563.36 ypg) and scoring offense (42.21 ppg). In 2007, Sumlin became the first Houston coach to lead his team to a bowl victory in 28 years. In addition, he led the Cougars to their first road win over a ranked team in 24 years. As an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Sumlin consistently helped the Sooners to numerous top 20 finishes in total offense.

Why: Sumlin is 47 years old and has shown to be successful on the offensive side of the ball. He would come in and run an offense similar to what Arizona runs now, which means the talent would be there for him to succeed. He currently only makes $1.13 million and has a $600,000 buyout. Sumlin has Pac-12 ties, as he was an assistant at Washington State and would also be able to successfully recruit Texas.

Why not: Sumlin has a 29-16 record, which may not be impressive to some. Sumlin will receive $1 million in deferred compensation if he stays through the 2012 season and another $1 million if he stays through the 2015 season. In reality, Sumlin can be at Houston for a long time in a conference in which he can likely win consistently. Byrne may choose to go with a bigger name, as Sumlin may not have the recognition he wants.



Rich Rodriguez

About: In seven seasons at West Virginia, Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to a 60-26 record, four Big East championships, and six straight bowl appearances. From 2005-07, Rodriguez led West Virginia to three consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time in school history. West Virginia had at least eight wins in his final six seasons there and he won 78 percent of his games. In 2007, Rodriguez was named head coach of Michigan and in his first season, The Wolverines finished 3-8, the worst record in school history. Michigan also missed a bowl for the first times in 33 years. Rodriguez wound up with 15-22 record at Michigan. Currently an analyst at CBS.

Why: Rodriguez would represent a complete change in offensive philosophy, as he runs the spread option. He was successful at West Virginia and an argument can be made he was not given enough time to succeed at Michigan. Coached with current UA quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo at Tulane and keeping him would likely help recruiting. Even in bad years, Rodriguez was a good recruiter and it is possible he learned lessons from what happened at Michigan.

Why not: Rodriguez had a messy divorce with West Virginia and Michigan. He had players accuse him of belittling them and numerous players transferred from Michigan under his watch. The NCAA formally accused Michigan of five major rules violations after finding that the team and its coaching staff failed to comply with practice time rules under Rodriguez, and used several graduate assistants in coaching positions illegally.



Al Borges

About: Currently the offensive coordinator at Michigan, Borges has served in the same role at Boise State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, and San Diego State. He is known as a guru of the west coast offense and has had success at the majority of his stops. Borges has never held a head-coaching job, but has had conference-leading offenses, including 2004 and 2005 at Auburn. Reportedly got passed over for the Stanford job in favor of Jim Harbaugh.

Why: Borges was offensive coordinator at Oregon for one year while Byrne was there. Was offensive coordinator at UCLA under Bob Toledo and helped the Bruins average nearly 32 points per game, but also averaged over 40 points in 1997 and 1998. Gets credit for developing quarterbacks at each stop, including Cade McNown at UCLA, Jason Campbell at Auburn, and more. Has already worked at Oregon, Cal, and UCLA, so Pac-12 ties would not be an issue.

Why not: Just arrived at Michigan and has no head coaching experience. He is 56 years old and if Byrne is going to go the coordinator route, he may want to go younger. Has never been anywhere more than four years. Borges runs the west coast offense, which would likely take time to implement, as it is not similar to what Arizona currently runs.



Paul Chryst

About: Has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin for the last six years. The Badgers' offense has averaged 32 points and 408 total yards per game in the last five years and Wisconsin is 49-16 since he took over as offensive coordinator. The offense seems to be getting better every year, as it averaged 41.5 points per game last season and scored 70 points in a game three different times. Wisconsin also finished 12th in total rushing and fell four yards short of having three 1,000 yard rushers, but did finish with a Big-10 record 48 rushing touchdowns. Last season, Wisconsin ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense, pass efficiency, fewest turnovers lost, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, red zone offense, time of possession and fewest penalties per game.

Why: Chryst was the offensive coordinator at Oregon State when Byrne was there and Byrne saw him lead the Beaver offense to the sixth best passing average in the nation and become the first team in NCAA Division I history with a 4,000-yard passer, 1,500-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. Chryst has had plenty of success as a coordinator and may want to become a head coach in a conference in which he has ties.

Why not: Chryst could have a job in mind, as he turned down an offer from Texas to be its defensive coordinator and has a base salary of $405,000, which could mean he expects to be paid quite a bit as a head coach. He is a Wisconsin native and graduate of the school and may view Arizona as a job that is simply not big enough for him. Chryst has coached in the NFL and may look at that as the next step in his career path.



Brent Pease

About: Pease is currently the offensive coordinator at Boise State after being wide receivers coach for five years. In the 1999-2000 season, Pease served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NAU. He then took the same job at Kentucky when Byrne was there as the associate AD for development and fundraising, although it was brief. At UK, Pease took a team that finished 2-9 the previous year and guided it to the 23rd best offense in the country. As receivers coach at Boise, Pease coached Austin Pettis and Titus Young and helped them reach the NFL, breaking numerous school records along the way.

Why: Pease is an up and comer and at 47 years old, would likely be at Arizona for a while if the Wildcats wanted him to. He likely would not command a major salary and has ties to the west. Byrne and Pease know each other from their brief days at Kentucky together. Pease has NFL experience and would likely be able to use that on the recruiting trail.

Why not: Pease is not a big name and does not have a lot of experience as a coordinator at a high level. He chose not to take the Indiana offensive coordinator job and instead returned to Boise after accepting it. Pease has no head coaching experience and there would likely be a learning curve, which is something Byrne may not want to go through.



Manny Diaz

About: Diaz is currently in his first year as the defensive coordinator at the University of Texas. Hired by Byrne at Mississippi State in 2010, Diaz led a defense that ranked 21st in the nation in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), 17th in rushing defense (119.1 ypg) and 17th in tackles for loss (7.0 pg), which was an improvement from the year before he was there in which the defense finished 71st in scoring defense, 62nd in rushing defense and 89th in TFL. From 2006-2009, Diaz was the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State, as the defense led its conference in sacks and tackles for loss twice, and finished no lower than third in the league in either category. In 2009, MTSU finished second nationally in tackles for loss, with more than eight and a half plays per game. Diaz's defense also ranked sixth nationally in sacks that season, posting nearly three per game.

Why: At 36 years old, Diaz is widely considered to be one of the top young coordinators in the nation. Byrne hired him at Mississippi State, so there is obviously some familiarity there. Diaz has had success in each stop and could come in and bring a young, energetic staff. Diaz has a high energy approach in recruiting as well.

Why not: Diaz is in his first year at Texas and makes $625,000. He could command a large salary with the mindset that he will eventually be able to get more job offers with success at Texas. Byrne's may remember how Diaz left after only one year and there could be questions about the relationship between the two.



Mike Leach

About: Widely considered to be one of the brightest offensive minds in football, Leach is considered to be an innovator. Leach won at least seven games in each of his ten seasons at Tech and had an 11-win season in 2008. Leach had a winning record against Texas A&M and leads the program in all-time wins. Leach was fired from Texas Tech in 2009 after an incident with player Adam James, who he reportedly locked in a garage after James sustained a concussion.

Why: Arizona has a similar system in place and Leach would likely be able to come in and succeed offensively almost right away. He would likely retain an offensive coach in some sort of capacity, which would help with recruiting. Hiring Leach would make major noise for Byrne and get Arizona national attention. Leach's biggest success was consistency, which Arizona has been in search of for quite a while.

Why not: Leach's firing and ensuing media attention makes it a big risk to hire him. Leach has connections at Maryland and still could not get the job and has been passed over for numerous others. It could be a bad public relations move for Byrne, who would likely have to justify hiring Leach due to his off the field actions.



Tim Kish

About: Named interim coach on October 10, Kish has been on the Arizona staff since 2004. He has over 30 years of coaching experience, 19 of which is in the Big Ten and Pac-10, and is widely considered to be one of the top recruiters in the conference. Kish has consistently had success with linebackers and has helped turn around Indiana and Illinois from losing programs.

Why: Kish's players love playing for him and it would allow Arizona to have some continuity with its recruiting class. If successful for the remainder of the season, it would give Byrne an idea of what life would be like under Kish. While other parts of the team have been inconsistent, Kish has generally done a good job with the linebackers.

Why not: Byrne chooses to go in a completely different direction and erases any connection with Stoops. Kish has not had head coaching experience and it is possible that he may want to go younger as well. The team does not improve this season and Byrne is left with little choice.



Other names to watch: Bryan Harsin (Texas O.C.), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech HC), Chris Wilson (Mississippi State DC), Chad Morris (Clemson OC), Jim Tressel (Former Ohio State HC), Brent Venables (Oklahoma DC), Frank Cignetti Jr. (Rutgers OC), Jim McElwain (Alabama OC), Tim DeRuyter (Texas A&M DC), Troy Calhoun (Air Force HC), Kirby Smart (Alabama), Greg Mattison (Michigan DC).


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