Coaching Candidates Part 2

In our second look at the potential coaches we get to two top candidates, a few dark horses and a few we pulled out of left field. These candidates are ones that we are speculating on and have not been confirmed as actual candidates. We continue our alphabetical look, picking up with the letter "C".

John Cooper
Former Head Coach
Currently out of coaching
Age: 67
Alma Mater: Iowa State ('62)

Resume: Coached at Ohio State, Arizona State and Tulsa…Second winnignest coach in Buckeye History…Produced over 20 All-Americans and 15 First round draft picks at Ohio State alone.
Pluses: Has won everywhere he has coached…Great recruiter…Has coached in the Rose Bowl…ties to West.
Minuses: Coached at ASU…67 years old…Notorious for not being able to win rivalry games…His replacement at Ohio State won a national championship in just his second season.
Chances: Slim. Throwing Cooper's name into the mix was only partially a joke. Cooper may very well be the best college coach not coaching. His age and affiliation with ASU likely rule him out, and from all indications Cooper does not want to return to coaching.

Tom Coughlin
Former Head Coach
Jacksonville Jaguars
Age: 58
Alma Mater: Syracuse ('67)

Resume: Head coach for Jacksonville of the NFL…Led the Jags to the AFC Title game…Head Coach of Boston College…Assistant coach at Syracuse, Boston College and the NFL.
Pluses: Great offensive mind…Has won at every stop…Coached Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie…Coached the Jaguars from their inception.
Minuses: No ties to the west…Was fired from the Jaguars…May want to be an NFL coach again…Disciplinarian who is not a "players' coach".
Chances: Slim to none. There is no indication that Coughlin is interested or even wants to return to the college ranks. There is no denying that he's a great football mind, but this does not look like a good fit.

Jim Donnan
College football analyst
Age: 58
Alma Mater:

Resume: Former head coach at Marshall and Georgia…Currently a football analyst for ESPN.
Pluses: Has a winning record at every stop…Won over 60% of his games at Georgia and led them to four bowl games…Fourth winningest D-I coach in the 90's… Won a national championship and had three runner-ups at Marshall.
Minuses: Could never get Georgia over the hump…6-14 against Georgia Tech, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida…Has been out of coaching for two seasons…Has no ties to the west.
Chances:Poor to fair. If Donnan is truly interested he warrants some attention. He was a finalist for the Kentucky job last year. One knock is that his background (bring fired at Georgia, working for ESPN) is similar to that of John Mackovic's.

Rich Ellerson
Head Coach
Cal Poly-San Louis Obispo
Alma Mater: Hawaii ('76)

Resume: Assistant coach at Hawaii and Arizona…Head Coach at Cal Poly SLO and Southern Utah…Architect of the ‘Desert Swarm' Defense.
Pluses: Had immediate improvements at each head coaching job he took over…Coached the best defenses in Arizona history…Also coached Groza Award winner Steve McLaughlin…Graduated from Salpointe High School…Took SLO to the Paradise Bowl.
Minuses: Is a definite "Tomey-guy"…Has a losing record overall as a head coach…Has no D-I coaching experience…Is not a big enough name.
Chances: Slim. Ellerson has the ties to the program and community, but that may be a detriment in his chances. His ties to Tomey could be a problem, but his overall losing record is probably his biggest detriment.

Walt Harris
Head Coach
Age: 58
Alma Mater: Pacific (‘58)

Resume: Assistant coach at Illinois, Ohio State, NY Jets, Tennessee, Air Force, Cal and Michigan State.
Pluses: Turned around a Pitt program that had been down for some time…Is a great developer of QB's, getting high praise from the likes of Boomer Essiason and Kirk Herbstreit…Played for Buddy Ryan and coached with Bill Parcels, Johnny Majors, John Cooper and others…Has ties to California and the West.
Minuses: May not want to leave Pitt and if he does he may have his eyes on a bigger job…Has never gotten the Panthers to a BCS Bowl.
Chances: Fair. Harris may be looking to leave Pitt. The Big East is in trouble thanks to the defection of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College and Harris may see any shot at big time success disappearing. He has pursued other jobs, but has always pulled his name from consideration. If he is interested, the Cats should give him a long look.

Dan Hawkins
Head Coach
Boise State
Alma Mater: UC Davis ('84)

Resume: Head Coach of Boise State and Willamette…Has led the Broncos to two bowl games in his two years as the head man in Boise…Led the nation's top offense a year ago.
Pluses: Has won over 78% of his games as a head coach…Young and has ties to the west…Great offensive mind.
Minuses: Took over for ASU's Dirk Koetter just two years ago…May be seen as riding the coattails of Koetter's success…Does not have top tier coaching experience.
Chances: Good. Hawkins' biggest knock is where he is coaching now. It could be a PR nightmare to hire the guy who got the job because ASU hired Koetter. That being said, Hawkins is one of the top young coaches in the game today and one of the best offensive minds in college football. He should be seriously considered.

Mike Heimerdinger
Offensive Coordinator
Tennessee Titans
Age: 52
Alma Mater: Eastern Illinois ('75)

Resume: Offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans…Coordinator Duke, Rice, CS-Fullerton…Assistant for the Denver Broncos, Florida, North Texas State and Air Force.
Pluses: Has coached a successful offense in Tennessee…Coached in three Super Bowls…Has a background at top academic institutions.
Minuses: No head coaching experience…Few ties to the west…May want to stay in NFL.
Chances: Slim. A dark horse candidate who has apparently been championed by Chuck Cecil. Heimerdinger has been an underrated offensive coach, improving the Titans offense every year he has been there. He isn't a big time name, but if he is interested as Internet rumors have reported, he is certainly an intriguing possibility.

Pat Hill
Head Coach
Fresno State
Age: 52
Alma Mater: UC Riverside ('73)

Resume: Head Coach at Fresno State…NFL assistant with Cleveland and Baltimore…Offensive coordinator Arizona…Assistant UNLV, Fresno State, Utah and LA Valley College.
Pluses: Has great ties to Tucson…His mother is a Wildcat season ticket holder…Has had unprecedented success at Fresno…Coach NFL top overall pick David Carr…Four straight bowl appearances.
Minuses: May be using Arizona job as leverage for getting better facilities built at Fresno…Coached under Dick Tomey…Has had several good season, but just one great season at Fresno…Fresno has won with partial qualifiers, players Arizona can't admit.
Chances: Good. He could be a great candidate, but reports have surfaced that Fresno may announce plans for a facilities overhaul. Hill has hinted in the media that he loves the Arizona job and he is definitely a candidate the committee will look at if they have not already contacted Hill or his people. One big knock on Hill has been his use of partial qualifiers, but the team GPA has climbed since his arrival at the school.

Talk about this on the Cats' Lair MESSAGE BOARD

All photos are courtesy of the colleges the individual coaches are at currently or were last at. The pictures for Mike Heimerdinger and Tom Coughlin are courtesy of their NFL teams, while the Jim Donnan picture is courtesy of ESPN.

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