5 early names: OSU's head coaching search

WITH MIKE RILEY shaking up the college football head coaching landscape, the discussion has swiftly turned to who will be the next Oregon State head coach. Here, in no particular order, are five early names to keep an eye on ...

1. Robin Pflugrad
A native of Oregon, he's coached 14 years in Pac-12, and has roughly 20 years experience as a recruiting coordinator in his 29-year coaching career. He's won a conference championship at just about every stop and he's helped take two programs to the Rose Bowl, and just missed on a third in Oregon during his time in Eugene. His father was a basketball player at Oregon State, his wife was a gymnast at OSU. He also has head coaching experience at Montana, where was named Big Sky coach of the year and an FCS national coach of the year finalist.

2. Rick Neuheisel
We'll have a separate article a little later on the possibility of Neuheisel as the next Beavers' coach but in brief: he's studied the Pac-12 top-to-bottom the past two seasons as an analyst on the Pac-12 Networks, has a combined 12 years of head coaching experience at UCLA, Washington and Colorado, served as an NFL assistant for three seasons, including a stint as offensive coordinator and has a reputation for bringing in a highly-ranked recruiting class in his first full season to recruit.

3. Dennis Erickson
Served as Oregon State's head coach from 1999-2002 and went 31-17 over the stretch that, along with Mike Riley, resurrected a downtrodden program. The capper was the 11-1 season in 2000 with a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame and a No. 4 ranking in the final AP poll. He has two national titles from his time at Miami. His age (69) and recent years that have seen his stock diminished (let go at ASU, demoted as an assistant at Utah) would be negatives but it's hard to think he wouldn't be clamoring for the chance to take one last ride and add to his 179–96–1 college coaching record.

4. Mike Stoops
Served as Arizona's head coach from 2004-11, having spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator on his brother Bob's Oklahoma staff. While his behavior and antics on the sidelines are ones many fans find hard to stomach, it's possible he would be a much better head coach the second time around in the Pac-12 if he learned from the first go-around. He's held assistant coaching positions at Iowa, Kansas State, and twice at Oklahoma. He compiled a 41–50 record at Arizona.

5. Beau Baldwin (pictured above)
The biggest surprise on Baldwin is that no one from the FBS ranks has hired him yet. He is 66-24 in seven seasons and has won 10 or more games four of the past five seasons, including the 49-46 win over Oregon State in 2013. He's won three straight Big Sky Conference titles -- and won the FCS national championship in 2010. He has said he will not entertain the open Montana job, nor any other FCS job, but Oregon State would be hard to pass up. He is regarded as one of the brighter offensive coaching minds and his team is currently ranked No. 4 in FCS poll.

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