Coaching Candidates Part 1

The Arizona coaching search is in full swing. There are a lot of rumors floating around with some obvious and not so obvious candidates. Over the next few days we'll take a look at many of the names that are floating around and give our opinions on their chances. We're going in alphabetical order starting with "A".

Duane Akina
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs
Age: 46
Alma Mater: Washington (‘79)

Resume: Has coached at Washington, Hawaii, Arizona and the CFL. Was offensive coordinator for Arizona in the early ‘90's and was named defensive coordinator at Arizona prior to the 2001 season, but left for Texas before spring practice.
Pluses: Has ties to Arizona… Has coached both sides of the ball…An excellent recruiter.
Minuses: May be seen as a "Tomey-guy"… No head coaching experience… Left Arizona under some controversy... took Texas job shortly after being named defensive coordinator… Perception is that he was not a good offensive coordinator for the Wildcats…Mack Brown's staff at Texas could be in trouble.
CHANCES: Slim. He has the backing of some ex-players and alumni, but Akina left the school on less than positives terms and is not the big name hire the Cats would like.

Nick Aliotti
Defensive Coordinator
Alma Mater: UC Davis ('75)

Resume: Served as defensive coordinator at Oregon and UCLA. Was an assistant under Rich Brooks in the NFL.
Pluses: Has experience in the NFL and Pac-10…Has produced great defenses at Oregon…Good West Coast Tries.
Minuses: No head coaching experience…Loyal to Oregon where he has had three stints as a coach…Not a "name" guy.
Chances: Slim to none. Oregon coaches have been very popular of late for jobs, but it is doubtful the Cats would hire him. The Oregon defense has been shaky of late and it is doubtful that the Cats would go in this direction.

Tom Amstutz
Head Coach
Age: 47
Alma Mater: Toledo ('77)

Resume: Assistant at Toledo and Navy…Played at Toledo…Has kept the Rockets as one of the MAC's elite teams.
Pluses: Under Amstutz Toledo is one of the top teams in the MAC…Has knocked off ranked teams like Pitt…Served under former Wildcat assistant Chuck Stobart…22-9 record as head coach, including a MAC title.
Minuses: Is winning with a lot of players who were recruited by Gary Pinkel (now at Missouri)…A native of Toledo and an Alum, may not want another job…No ties to the west.
Chances: Slim to none. Amstutz has done a great job, his team has contended for the MAC title every season and has been there. However, he is a Toledo native and he currently has his dream job.

Steve Axman
Offensive Coordinator
Age: 1948
Alma Mater: C.W. Post ('69)

Resume: Head coach at NAU…Coaching stints with UCLA, Washington , Maryland, Arizona and the USFL among others.
Pluses: Great offensive mind…Has coached several future NFL quarterbacks including Troy Aikman, Neil O'Donnell and Scott Zolak…Head Coaching experience…Has ties to Tucson…Has expressed interest in the job.
Minuses: Had a rocky tenure at NAU…Has bounced around quite a bit…Was not seriously considered in 2001.
Chances: Fair. It is doubtful that Axman will be the top name for the job, but he will likely be considered. Axman wanted the job in 2001 and has reportedly expressed interest. His tenure at NAU may keep him from being a top candidate.

Terry Bowden
Football Analyst
ABC Television
Age: 48
Alma Mater: West Virginia (78)

Resume: One of the youngest coaches when he took over at Salem College at age 26…Has won over 68% of his games…Rebuilt programs at Salem, Samford and Auburn.
Pluses: Has won everywhere he has gone…Head coaching experience at a major program…Has great visibility as part of ABC's College Football Studio Show.
Minuses: Was fired at Auburn…Has not coached since 1998 and has expressed no interest in getting back to coaching…No ties to the West and does not speak highly of the Pac-10.

Gregg Brandon
Head Coach
Bowling Green
Age: 48
Northern Colorado ('78)

Resume: First year head coach at Bowling Green…Team upset Purdue and almost beat Ohio State…Was The Sporting News' top MAC coordinator last season.
Pluses: Has had immediate success at BGSU…Has run an amazing offense the past few seasons…Was born and spent much of his youth in Tucson…Coached with Gary Barnett at Northwestern and Colorado.
Minuses: His success comes from the players Urban Meyer recruited to Bowling Green…Has been a head coach for less than one season…Not a "name".
Chances: Slim. Despite ties to Tucson and the West, Brandon is a long shot. He has had a great first season at Bowling Green, but has not really made a name for himself.

Norm Chow
Offensive Coordinator
Age: 57
Alma Mater: Utah (67)

Resume: Has one numerous coordinator of the year awards…Coached Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer last season…Coached Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Nielsen, Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco during his 27 years at BYU.
Pluses: One of the best offensive minds in all of college football…Has coached two Heisman Trophy winners and five Davey O'Brien Trophy winners…Has extensive ties to the West.
Minuses: No head coaching experience…Has been seemingly content to be a coordinator…Does not like to actively hit the recruiting trails…At 57, may be older than the school wants.
Chances: Fair. If Chow is interested he automatically becomes a contender. The big question is whether or not he actually wants to be a head coach or if he'd rather handle the Trojan's offense?

Rob Chudzinski
Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach
Miami, Fla.
Age: 36
Alma Mater: Miami (90)

Resume: Played for two Miami national championship teams…His 2002 offense broke the school scoring record…Has spent his entire coaching career at Miami.
Pluses: Has set school records as offensive coordinator…Coached Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow Jr.…Very young and a great recruiter.
Minuses: He is a Miami guy and will likely be a top candidate to someday succeed Larry Coker…May actually be too young to be seriously considered…Has no ties to the west.
Chances:Slim. Chudzinski is on the fast track to being a head coach, but it probably won't be at Arizona.

All photos are courtesy of the respective Universities, except for the Terry Bowden photo which is a publicity shot.

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