One name being prominently mentioned is long time Penn State assistant Tom Bradley. Bradley has been at Penn State since 1979, and just completed his 11th season as defensive coordinator. He is regarded as an excellent recruiter, and it is believed that he may bring some Penn State assistants with him.
Bradley was once considered a top candidate to replace Joe Paterno upon retirement, but with his name surfacing in coaching searches and Paterno endorsing him, it appears that's no longer an option.
UConn is reportedly high on Bradley, but the Huskies might have some competition for him. Pitt, whose coaching search spiraled out of control last week when they fired head coach Mike Haywood just 16 days after hiring him, due a domestic violence arrest, may also be in the mix for Bradley.
Milford, Connecticut native Ken O'Keefe, who has served as Kirk Ferentz's offensive coordinator at Iowa for the last 12 seasons, is also rumored to be a candidate. He's also the Hawkeye's quarterbacks coach, and is responsible for Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania recruiting.
O'Keefe recruited standout quarterback Ricky Stanzi to Iowa, as well as former Xavier High School (Middletown, CT) star Amari Spievey, who notched 51 tackles for the Detroit Lions this season. He is also the lead recruiter for Massachusetts wide receiver commit Marcus Grant, whom the Huskies were hot on the trail of.
Former Boston College Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski's name has come up as well. Jagodzinski spent this past season coaching the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL. He led BC to an 11-3 season in 2007, a year in which he inherited senior quarterback Matt Ryan. The following season the Eagles finished 8-5 and Jagodzinski was fired by Boston College for interviewing for an NFL job without permission, just two years into a five year contract.
I have serious reservations about whether Jagodzinski would be interested in hanging around for very long.
Another name to keep an eye on is Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Foster has been on the Va Tech staff since 1987 and has held the defensive coordinator position since 1996. Although the Hokies' defense had a tough year in 2010, Foster's defenses are usually at the top of the ACC's rankings year in and year out.
In 2006 Foster was awarded the Frank Broyles award, which is given to the top assistant coach in college football each year. Other recent winners are Gene Chizik (Auburn 2004), Norm Chow (USC 2002), Kirby Smart (Alabama 2009) and Guz Malzahn (Auburn 2010). Foster would bring recruiting ties to some very fertile recruiting areas in Virginia, notably the Hampton Roads area.
Foster did express interest in the 2007 coaching vacancy at West Virginia, as well as at Clemson in 2008, so it's clear he'd depart Virginia Tech for the right situation.
University of Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler's name has also been mentioned. Keeler, who is a Pennsylvania native, is an intriguing candidate. He's been wildly successful at Delaware, and before that he was very successful at Division III Rowan, where he compiled an 88-21-1 record and played for five D-III titles.
His record at Delaware is 74-41, and he has the Hens on the cusp of winning their second FCS title under him. Delaware will take on Eastern Washington on January 7th for the title. His career record as a head coach is 162-62-1 (.723).
Mark Whipple is another intriguing candidate whose name has been mentioned. Whipple has been a head coach at three different schools and was successful in each stint. He amassed a 48-17 record at the University if New Haven, a 24-16 record at Brown and a 49-26 record at UMass, where he won an FCS Championship in 1998. His head coaching career record is 121-59.
Whipple also spent time as the quarterbacks coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he helped develop Ben Roethlisberger. He spent the last two seasons as the University of Miami offensive coordinator, but was not retained by new head coach Al Golden.
A new name surfacing is Boston College defensive coordinator Bill McGovern. McGovern has been on the BC staff for 11 years and has spent the last two as defensive coordinator. McGovern is a New Jersey native, and has done a good job bring New Jersey recruits to BC.
In his first season as defensive coordinator, BC ranked third in scoring defense, allowing just 19.8 ppg, and fourth in yards allowed with 327.6. This season BC sits atop the ACC in both categories, with 19.5 ppg allowed and 310 yards allowed.
There are whispers that fired Browns head coach and Hartford native Eric Mangini may be in the mix, as well as other Connecticut natives Kevin Gilbride Tony Sparano. At this point it looks like these rumors are unfounded. It's easy to play connect the dots, but I don't think UConn will look in that direction.
In the early going UConn has done quite well in limiting the damage from their head coach's departure. Only long time running back coach Terry Richardson has left the staff thus far. Richardson is a big loss for UConn, but he was offered the same position at the University of Miami and he's a South Florida native, so it's a great move for him.
On the recruiting front, for the time being it looks like only safety commit Adrian Amos (Baltimore) has opened it up. UConn received good news yesterday when their quarterback commit Michael Nebrich stayed solid, as did defensive end and Connecticut native Kenton Adeyemi. Marquise Vann, who committed to the Huskies because of a coaching change at Minnesota, is also staying put for now.
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