Coaching Candidates, part 3

The Cats are still looking for a new head coach. According to the University there is no shortage of interested candidates. Here is our third look at some of the parties who may be considered for the job.

Mike Hankwitz
Interim Head Coach
University of Arizona
Age: 55
Alma Mater: Michigan ('70)

Resume: Was named head coach of the Wildcats when John Mackovic was dismissed in September…Has been a successful defensive coordinator at Arizona, Texas A&M and Colorado…Coached at Arizona under Jim Young in the ‘70's.
Pluses: Great defensive mind…Has coached over 20 NFL players…Has ties to Arizona from his Jim Young days…The Wildcats have played much better since he took over.
Minuses: To date he has not won since taking over the team…No other head coaching experience…School may want to separate itself from the Mackovic era.
Chances: Good. There is no doubt that Hankwitz is a good coach and has the Wildcats playing at a higher level. This is essentially an audition for the job and if Hankwitz can get a few big wins under his belt he could jump to the front of the line for the job.

Terry Hoeppner
Head Coach
Miami, OH
Age: 56
Alma Mater: Franklin College (1969)

Resume: Current Head Coach at Miami (OH)…Was an assistant there for 13 years…Coached at the high school and small college level prior to that…As Miami's defensive coordinator he had the Redhawks as the top rated defense in the MAC.
Pluses: Has had Miami at or near the top of the MAC since becoming head coach…Has led the team to some big upsets over major conference foes…Has won 60% of his games as head coach.
Minuses: Has never worked for another D-I staff and may be seen as ‘sheltered'…The team has been very good under him, but has not been the dominant team in the conference.
Chances: Slim to none. If the Cats dip into the ‘mid-major' ranks, expect them to go after a younger, hotter coach. Hoeppner is certainly a good football mind, but he isn't a big enough name for the Wildcats.

Ricky Hunley
Linebackers Coach
Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 43
Alma Mater: Arizona ('83)

Resume: Linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins and Bengals…Coached collegiately with USC, Missouri and Florida…Named to College Hall of Fame for his outstanding career with the Wildcats.
Pluses: Is a true Arizona guy…Has worked with Larry Smith, Steve Spurrier and now Marvin Lewis…Former NFL player…Known as a great recruiter.
Minuses: No head coaching experience…Has never been a coordinator.
Chances: Very Good. Arguably the best player in school history, Hunley has made his desire for the job very apparent. The knock seems to be his lack of head coaching experience and whether he is ready at this time to be a head coach. He will almost certainly be a finalist.

Mike Leach
Head Coach
Texas Tech
Alma Mater: BYU ('83)

Resume: Head coach at Texas Tech for the last three years…Offensive Coordinator at Oklahoma, Kentucky and Valdosta State.
Pluses: One of the best offensive minds in all of college footballs…Was the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma's national championship team…Has shattered offensive records at Texas Tech…At the time of this story he was 28-18 as head coach.
Minuses: His defenses have never been stellar…May not want to leave Texas Tech…Success has never led to a BCS bowl game.
Chances:Good. If Leach is interested he could very well be a top contender. A move from Tech to Arizona may be a lateral move, but there could be a better opportunity to succeed in the wide-open Pac-10.

Andy Ludwig
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach
Age: 39
Alma Mater: Portland State ('86)

Resume: Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon and Fresno State…A 2001 finalist for the Broyles Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate assistant coach…Coached David Carr at Fresno State.
Pluses: His offenses have ranked among the nation's best…Great ties to the west…Oregon offensive have faired well as Pac-10 head coaches.
Minuses: Very young, may need more seasoning…Offenses at Oregon have been a bit inconsistent. Chances: Poor. Ludwig may be a top candidate for a smaller job, but the jump to a BCS conference job may be too much to ask. Could take a route to a big job that Dirk Koetter did.

Glenn Mason
Head Coach
Age: 54
Alma Mater: Ohio State ('72)

Resume: Head coach at Minnesota and Kansas…Assistant at several schools including Illinois, Iowa State and Ohio State.
Pluses: Turned around doormat programs at both Kansas and Minnesota…Winningest coach in Jayhawk history…Had the Gophers within a field goal of the '99 Rose Bowl…Has been both Big 10 and Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Minuses: Overall losing record as a head coach (87-90-1 as of this week)…No ties to the west…Took his name out of consideration for the UCLA job several years back…Has never won a conference championship. Chances: Good. If Mason is interested he should be a top contender. He has turned around two terrible programs with a lot less success than Arizona. His lack of a conference championship is a concern, but there is no doubt he is an excellent coach.

Urban Meyer
Head Coach
Age: 40
Alma Mater: Cincinnati ('88)

Resume: Head coach at Utah and Bowling Green…Assistant coach at Colorado State and Notre Dame…Grad assistant at Ohio State.
Pluses: Has a 23-7 record as a head coach in just three seasons…Has won immediately at each of his two stops…Has coached for some great programs and great coaches…Innovative offense that has been dubbed the "spoption".
Minuses: In his first year as coach of the Utes, with three young children he may not be ready to move so soon…Has never been a head coach in a bowl game.
Chances: Fair to poor. If Meyer wasn't in his first year with Utah he may be a top candidate for the job. A good, young coach, the Cats should at least see if he'd be interested in the job. If he is he should be one of the top candidates.

Rick Neuheisel
Assistant Coach
Rainier Beach High School
Age: 43
Alma Mater: UCLA ('83)

Resume: Head coach at Washington and Colorado…Assistant coach at UCLA and Colorado...Played QB in the NFL and USFL.
Pluses: Has been a successful coach at both Washington and Colorado...Solid recruiter…Ties to the west and Arizona…Great offensive mind.
Minuses: Fired for gambling on NCAA tournament...Has flirted with NCAA violations at every stop…Lied about interest in other coaching jobs..
Chances: Slim to none. Neuheisel has been a winner at every stop, but has also left two programs in bad shape with NCAA violations. His problems with the NCAA will prevent Arizona from taking a serious look at him. His best bet is the NFL.

Tyrone Nix
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Southern Mississippi
Age: 31
Alma Mater: Southern Miss ('95)

Resume: Youngest coordinator in the nation...Has spent his entire coaching career at Southern Miss.
Pluses: Young, up and comer…Has risen to the top of the profession at a very young age…Has done a solid job with the Golden Eagles Defense
Minuses: Has only been a coordinator for two seasons…Only experience is at USM…Has no ties to the west…May be in line to take over the USM program in a few years.
Chances: Slim to none. Nix is one of the hottest young assistants in college football, but he's not ready to take over a program yet. The fact that he's at his alma matter and only a coordinator at a Conference USA school will further hurt his chances. A bright name in years to come, just not here, not now.

P>Talk about this on the Cats' Lair MESSAGE BOARD

Wildcat Authority Top Stories