Ron Zook - Former Florida Head Coach
There are rumors flying around Ron Zook and his candidacy for the Illinois job. Inside Tennessee claims he will interview for the Illinois position on Tuesday November 30. A forum post on Gator Country claims Zook will be named Illinois' next head coach.
The San Diego Chargers assistant coach has been a name thrown about on the IlliniBoard.com Message Boards time after time. The Case for Tim Brewster has already been written by uofi1998, so I don't think I need to add any more, but I will. From his time at North Carolina and Texas under Mack Brown, Tim Brewster has been known as a dynamic recruiter, something Ron Guenther noted was a key down fall in why the previous coaching staff was not retained. Besides being a player under Mike White, Tim has learned the game under some great football minds including current San Diego Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Why would he come to Illinois? He has said it is his dream job. Simple enough. If offered, I have a feeling Brewster would crawl from San Diego to Champaign if he needed to.
- The Case for Tim Brewster: http://illinois.scout.com/2/321990.html
- Biography: http://www.chargers.com/team/coachbio_brewster.cfm
- Interview from June 2004: http://www.profootballcentral.com/archives/timbrewster_player.htm
Sean Payton already has ties to the University of Illinois and Ron Guenther. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Fighting Illini in 1996, Lou Tepper's last season as Illinois head coach. Prior to his time at Illinois he also had stints at San Diego State, Indiana State, and Miami of Ohio. In his second stint at San Diego State Sean worked directly with the Aztecs running backs, including a name very familiar to football fans, Marshall Faulk. Sean has been the Assistant Head Coach for the Dallas Cowboys for the last two seasons, and before that he was the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.
Last season it was rumored that Payton was going to be named the Oakland Raiders head coach, but that job eventually went to Norv Turner. If Payton has NFL head coaching aspirations, would he decide to come to Illinois?
What are Payton's other ties to Illinois? Payton was raised in Naperville, IL and he graduated from Eastern Illinois University.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch has mentioned that Illinois has already contacted Mike Leach about the position. The Chicago Tribune also reported in their Friday paper that Leach has jumped to the top of the Illini's list, and he is going to be interviewed by Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther.
Chuck Long - Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Oklahoma
The name of Chuck Long has been tossed around in the Chicago media for a while, but they seem to be the only people talking about him. I wonder if Chuck is using them to get his name out as being an interested candidate in the opening. I just don't see him taking the job, nor staying at Illinois if he is successful. Anyways, there is a better choice on the Oklahoma staff, Brent Venables.
Walt Harris - Head Coach Pitt
Walt Harris was the second choice of Ron Guenther when he hired Ron Turner in 1996, and it is widely reported that the Pitt coach is on the outs with his Athletic Director. Would he leave Pitt after what will most likely be an appearance in the BCS?
Dan Hawkins - Head Coach Boise State University
The Boise State head coach has been in Boise for three seasons, and he has been the most successful coach ever at the University. His name has already been tossed out there for the Illinois job and the Washington job. He is an up and comer that is primed to move up to a major Division I-A school. Hawkins is a west coast guy who graduated from Cal Davis, and went to high school in Sacramento.
Odds: 25-1 There are ties between Ron Guenther and Jack Bicknell, Sr. which has gotten Bicknell, Jr. mentioned as a possible replacement for Ron Turner at Illinois. The Louisiana Tech head coach would have probably been a better option last year, but his team has struggled this season.
Terry Hoeppner - Head Coach Miami of Ohio
The Miami of Ohio head coach has a 40-20 record in his five seasons as head coach of the Redhawks of Miami of Ohio. He is known as a developer of quarterback talent, and for further proof all you need to do is look to the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback sensation Ben Roethlisberger.
Brad Childress - Offensive Coordinator Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator has become a hot name across coaching circles for his work in putting together an impressive offense with the arm of Donovan McNabb and the hands of Terrell Owens. Childress' coaching career started with a seven year stint at Illinois where he was coach as David Williams set a Big Ten record for receptions (101 in 1984). Illini fans, especially younger fans, will probably remember Childress most for his time under Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin. He spent eight years at Wisconsin where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1992-1998.
The question mark on Brad Childress is he might have aspirations to be a head coach in the NFL. If that is the case, why would he come back to college to be the head coach of the University of Illinois.
Does Childress have any ties to Illinois? He was born in Aurora, IL. He coached at Illinois, and he graduated from Eastern Illinois University.
The Boston College Head Coach is a name that has been mentioned by the Champaign News Gazette as a viable candidate for the Illinois head coaching position. He has been the head coach at Boston College since 1997, and this year his team can clinch the program's first appearance in the Bowl Championship series with a win over Syracuse this weekend marking the Golden Eagles' sixth straight bowl game under O'Brien's leadership.
The question with O'Brien has less to do with his credentials, and more to do with whether or not he would leave Boston College to come to Illinois.
Why would he come to Illinois? One reason would be after this season Boston College will be a new member in the ACC. Will a move to a new conference give him a different outlook on the Boston College program and allow him to look towards Champaign?
Why would he stay at Boston College? He has proven he can win the Big East, and now he wants a new challenge to do so in the ACC. He feels loyal to the school that gave him his first head coaching opportunity.
Paul Johnson - Head Coach Naval Academy
Paul Johnson has had a successful stint at the US Naval Academy where he has engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in Division I-A football. His Naval Academy team was the second most improved team in the country last season (from 2-10 to 8-5). Here is what CBS SportsLine has to say about him:
Johnson is 47, part good-old boy, part acerbic tongue, part genius. He is one of only five I-A coaches not to play football beyond high school. In his down time Johnson likes to play the ponies and dabble in the stock market.Johnson just signed a contract extension with the Naval Academy, so his loyalty to the Naval Academy may keep him there if Ron Guenther comes calling.
The academy loves him, though, because he's legit on the field. Navy was the second-most improved team in the country last year (2-10 to 8-5). The Middies won their first Commander in Chief trophy in 22 years. A second consecutive meeting with the president is assured if Navy can beat Army on Dec. 4.
- Johnson Rights Navy's Ship: http://cbs.sportsline.com/collegefootball/story/7793172/1
Schiano knows what it takes to rebuild a program that is at or near the bottom of a major conference. In his time at Rutgers he has worked to rebuild the Scarlet Knights into a respectable program. I don't think he would want to leave his East Coast roots for the Midwest, though.
Tyrone Willingham - Head Coach Notre Dame
He was just fired by Notre Dame. Would Ron Guenther even add his name to the coaching search at this juncture? Were his problems at Notre Dame crazy expectations, or was it his doing? These are all questions that need to be answered by someone considering Ty Willingham to be their next head football coach.
Brent Venables - Associate Head Coach / Co-Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Oklahoma
Venables name has not been thrown around much for the Illinois job, but he does have ties to the Midwest as he grew up in Kansas, and has been coaching in the Big XII for his entire career.
Gregg Brandon - Head Coach Bowling Green State University
Brandon took over for current Utah head coach (and extreme long shot for the Illinois job) Urban Meyer at Bowling Green. In his first season at Bowling Green he lead the team to a 11-3 mark with a MAC Western Division title and a win over Northwestern in the Motor City Bowl.
Randy Shannon - Defensive Coordinator Miami
The Miami defensive coordinator has been a name that has been thrown around for a few head coaching positions. He might be waiting out for a more opportune job to open up in the south, though.
Butch Davis - Former Head Coach Cleveland Browns
Would the coach who rebuilt Miami after the Dennis Erickson saga be up for building up another program? It looks like Florida will be a more likely destination, but he would probably be worth a call.
Mike Price - Head Coach UTEP
The Silver Bullet would be pushing hard for Price to be the next Illinois head coach as they know their business would stay at a high level, but he just does not seem to be a fit with what Ron Guenther would be looking for.
Rick Neuheisel - Former Washington Head Coach
There are no NCAA pools for Neuheisel to enter in Champaign, I don't think he would be interested, and neither would Ron Guenther.
Dave Wannstedt - Former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins Head Coach
Despite having his name already linked to the Pitt head coaching job, perhaps Wanny would like to return to the Midwest. Aaaaaaaaaaaaap!
Mike Ditka - Former Chicago Bears Head Coach
With the Cialis money running dry, Ditka needs something else to keep him up at night.
Matt Abbatocola - Producer for the Boers & Bernstein Show
Captain Morgan has already set sail for Kam's with his trusty side kick Larry Horse.
Marlen Garcia - Chicago Tribune Illinois Beat Reporter
Her questioning of Ron Guenther, Bruce Weber, and Ron Turner could have ulterior motives.
Jeff Van Gundy - Houston Rockets Head Coach
Having already attained a mastery of basketball greater than Jordan, Russell, and John Wooden combined, perhaps Van Gundy will turn to a new challenge. As the old saying goes, "All roads lead to Van Gundy..."