The Coordinator Search is On

More than a week after the dismissal of Mike O'Cain, is the search for an offensive coordinator yielding positive results? takes a look at all the candidates, and reveals all known information, in this report. <BR>

1) Candidate: Rob Spence
With Larry Fedora likely moving on to Illinois to continue to work under Ron Zook, Toledo offensive coordinator Rob Spence appears to be one of the leading candidates in the search for an offensive coordinator.

The Spence profile has been already been well documented. He runs the spread offense and runs it well. He likes using one back sets. He also likes to be in total control of what he does.

This season, his offense was one of the main reasons the Rockets won the MAC Championship. Toledo finished the regular season ranked seventh out of 117 teams in the nation in total offense at 474.08 yards per game. Toledo also averaged 35.17 points per game, which ranked 13th in the nation.

On paper, it looks like a good fit.

Consider also that Spence is a guy that takes his fitness seriously. By some reports, he runs six miles a day. He's also one that seems to be close to his faith.

Sound familiar? It should.

Tommy Bowden also enjoys running to stay and shape, sometimes running as many as eight miles a day, and has always put his faith at the forefront of his daily life.

Bowden is ready to give up control of the offense. He's ready to try something different.

And while Bowden will not comment about potential candidates for the offensive coordinator position, reliable sources indicate that Spence may be emerging as one of the front-runners.

In fact, the two have reportedly been in contact this week, and could be meeting again before the week ends.

2) Possible Candidate: Gary Crowton
Former BYU head coach Gary Crowton has also reportedly shown interest in the offensive coordinator's position, however, has not yet confirmed that interest is mutual.

It was reported in a Utah newspaper however that Crowton has placed a call to Tommy Bowden within the last week.

Crowton has a background that includes success at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was a former offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and previous head coach at Louisiana Tech. He also was brought in as the 13th head coach at BYU in December of 2000.

With the Bears, his offense ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage during the 1999 season. As the head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1996-98, he ked the Bulldogs to a 21-13 (.618) record over three seasons, including a 9-2 mark in 1997.

His offense with Louisiana Tech, which was designed by Crowton himself, scored 50-or-more points against eight different opponents, including games of 60-or-more points in five different games. His offense also was ranked third in the nation in passing and total offense. The Bulldogs racked up 12,746 yards passing in three years, an average of 4,249 yards per season.

On paper, Gary Crowton also looks like a strong candidate, but his interest in Clemson, and Clemson's interest in him has yet to be confirmed.

3) Possible Candidate: Jimbo Fisher
Fisher, the current offensive coordinator at LSU, is another name rumored to be a candidate. Again, has not confirmed that officials from Clemson have contacted Fisher, or that Fisher would be interested in the job.

Fisher, who just finished his sixth season at LSU, had one of the most productive units in school history in 2003. The Tigers averaged 34 points per game on their way to scoring a school-record 475 points while also setting the school standard for total yards (5,857), first downs (298), completed passes (255) and passing touchdowns (30).

Prior to joining the Tigers, Fisher was the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati, where he led of the nation's top ranked offenses in 1999. Cincinnati finished the year ranked No. 16 in the nation in total offense with an average of 424.4 yards a contest (172.2 rushing, 252.2 passing).

Before joining the Cincinnati staff in 1999, Fisher served as the quarterbacks coach at Auburn under Terry Bowden from 1993-98.

The connection with Tommy Bowden and Fisher is obvious as both coaches were at Auburn at the same time. Fisher coached there for five years starting in 1993, and Bowden coached there for five years starting in 1991.

What's Next?
Make no mistake; Tommy Bowden is in no hurry to name a new offensive coordinator. In fact, an official announcement may be several weeks away.

At the same time, Bowden has identified his top candidates, and appears to be pursuing those candidates when given the opportunity.

As reported last week by, Bowden contacted Florida offensive coordinator Larry Fedora about the position. As reported 36 hours ago by, Bowden has also contacted Rob Spence.

Other names could certainly be on the table, but from all the information gathered that can be confirmed, these two coaches appear to be at the top of Bowden's wish list.

And with Fedora now likely out of the mix, one must wonder if Spence now has assumed the leading candidate position. Top Stories