Short List of Candidates

Petrino, Linehan, Kruczek head early list of candidates.

Short list of potential candidates

Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich sounded very confident about finding a new head coach for the Cardinals early in Thursday's press conference when he stated that, "we will do everything in our power to hire us the best and brightest coach that is a perfect fit for this university."

Here's a list of potential candidates:

Bob Petrino, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Auburn University

As will be the case with many on the list, Bob Petrino is a familiar name to Louisville fans. Petrino served as offensive coordinator during John L. Smith's first season at Louisville. While the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals, Louisville led the nation in total offense and rewrote most offensive categories in the UofL record book. Prior to Louisville, he served with Smith at Idaho and Utah State. He has also coached at Weber State, Carroll College, Arizona State, Nevada and Auburn. He left Louisville to become the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was eventually promoted to become the Jaguars offensive coordinator. Auburn finished 38th in total offense in his first season with the Tigers.

Mike Kruczek, head coach University of Central Florida

Kruczek has been with Central Florida since 1985, serving as their offensive coordinator for 13 seasons before becoming the Knights head coach in 1998. During his tenure, UCF has ranked among the nations best in offensive output, including 6th in 2002 in passing offense and 13th in total offense. He also played a pivitol role in developing current NFL QB Dante Culpepper. Through five seasons, Kruczek has complied a career record of 33-23.

Art Valero, tight ends coach Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Valero served with John L. Smith for 11 years, including four years at Louisville as assistant head coach/offensive line coach. He was the offensive coordinator at Idaho in 1994, when they finished first in the league in total offense, scoring offense and rushing offense. Valero left the Louisville staff following the 2001 season to become the tight ends coach for John Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has also served on the coaching staffs at Boise State, Iowa State, Long Beach State and New Mexico, as well as stints with the NFL's Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

Gary Nord, head coach UTEP

Nord is very familiar to Louisville and the UofL football program. Nord grew up in Louisville and played tight end for the Cardinals. Prior to accepting the head coach position at UTEP, Nord served under head coach Howard Schnellenberger from 1981-1994. He began his coaching career as the Cardinals tight end coach, eventually becoming offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 1989. He was apart of the staff that helped guide the Cardinals to victories in the Fiesta and Liberty Bowls. Nord became the offensive coordinator in 1995 and then served as wide receivers coach at Pittsburgh in 1996. He joined the staff at UTEP in 1997, where he served as offensive coordinator until he became the Miners head coach in 2000. He was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2000, while leading UTEP to its first league title and a bowl appearance.

Tim Lappano, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Oregon State University

Lappano is someone that has worked with John L. Smith at Idaho and may have a friendship with Tom Jurich. He began is college coaching career at Idaho (82-85) as runningbacks coach under Dennis Erickson. John L. Smith served as Idaho's defensive coordinator during the same period. Lappano has served as an assistant coach at Wyoming (86, 96), Washington State (87-92), California (92-95) and Purdue (97). He served as runningbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks during the 1998 season before rejoining Erickson at Oregon State in 1999.

Oregon State finished the 2002 season ranked 18th in total offense.

Scott Linehan, offensive coordinator Minnesota Vikings

Linehan is another former Louisville staff member, having served as the Cardinals offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 1999-2001. Prior to coaching at Louisville, Linehan had coaching stints at Washington (94-98), where he served as wide receivers coach, quarterback coach and eventually offensive coordinator. He has also coached at Idaho (88-90, 92-93) and UNLV (91). While at Louisville, the Cardinals went to three bowl games, had three consecutive C-USA Offensive Player of the Year award (Redman, Ragone) and ranked among the nations best in offensive output.

Linehan told the Pioneer Press that he would consider the opportunity if asked.

"...I have a lot of friends there, and it would be something I would consider. You'd be even honored to be mentioned. I think it's one of the better jobs in the country because they have everything you need to win."

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