The best direction for Memphis to go is after a proven winner. Not a guy that lost his job for losing. Not a guy without head coaching experience.
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth fits that bill perfectly.
Hudspeth is in his first season with the Ragin' Cajuns, but it's certainly not his first go-around as a head man. He was a proven winner at D2 North Alabama for seven seasons, compiling a 66-21 record. He joined Dan Mullen and Mississippi State in 2009 as wide receivers and passing game coordinator, so he's got legitimate experience at a high level.
This past season, he led the Ragin' Cajuns to an 8-3 record and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl. Hudspeth is reportedly on the Ole Miss coaching search short list, but Memphis should also express heavy interest in the up-and-coming coach.
"My journey has prepared me for where I am," Hudspeth told the Columbus Dispatch earlier this month. "In all of those roles in high school and on the Division II level, I learned a lot about what it takes to have a successful football program. At those levels you have your hands in everything, all the way from field preparation to equipment to making sure everybody is where they are supposed to be. You learn how to do everything, so you know what it takes to do it right."
Why Hudspeth would be a good move: Memphis needs an energetic coach to propel its football program to the next level. With Houston, SMU, and UCF leaving for the Big East next summer, C-USA will lose most of its best programs and Memphis could have room to make a run for the No. 1 spot. Hudspeth would help get them there.
Why it wouldn't work: Conference USA isn't the Sun Belt, and Memphis isn't an easy to win. Hudspeth would have to overcome attendance stigmas and, with just one year of FBS head coaching experience, may not be equipped to do so. Memphis may also opt to go after someone with more experience, as the last time they hired someone without little or no head coaching experience, it resulted in a firing.