From early in the season, first after the losses to Louisville and Western Kentucky then more so after the blanking by Florida then the beat downs from rest of our opponents the conversation concerning replacing Joker went from a loud whisper to a clamor. As part of that conversation different names have popped up as possible replacements and I kept track of the many names. While a majority of the names have cropped up relative to the Kentucky position, I have also culled a few names from the Tennessee and Arkansas fans eager to replace their coaches.
Due to the large number of names (63 so far) this section will look only at those with Head Coach experience. There is a mix of FBS, FCS and NFL experience, some realistic, some not. I have broken it down into different categories, purely judgmental and you're likely to disagree with where some coaches were grouped. No problem, let me know where you rank those given below or throw out some more names, just make sure they have Head Coaching experience.
You can click on the name to get the google search page for that name. This will give you the resources to find out about these potential leaders of the BBN football program - age, coaching experience, ties to UK, offensive/defensive expertise, other coaches they have worked with, etc.
Not Possible - This includes coaches that are currently in their first year, out of reach due to much closer ties to another possible opening and Petrino ;-).
John Gruden - Tennessee if anywhere, but not UK.
Mike Leach - in first year of multiyear contract at Washington State
Gus Malzahn - same as Leach (Arkansas State)
Phil Fulmer - likely next Tennessee AD
Houston Nutt - personally put in this group due to personal dislike
Sean Payton - can’t see him making the downward jump
Jim Tressel - Glenn has pointed out show cause problem
Charlie Strong - Mitch would never do it
Willie Taggart - Mitch wouldn’t do it, Willie would likely pass
Bobby Petrino - whatever
A Plus - These are some of the more common Head Coach names being bandied about. Some are “Big Names”, some aren’t
Sonny Dykes - if you haven’t heard of him, study up
Chris Petersen - was going to put on Not Possible but Mitch may swing for the fences
Tommy Tuberville - proven in SEC, old?
David Cutliffe - reportedly not interested
MIke MacIntyre - only included since he starts as first official flavor of the week in the search, looks good on the surface
B Level - This includes many coaches that were mentioned quite a bit earlier in the year but who have lost some buzz
Mark Hudspeth - started the year hot on everyone’s tongue
Todd Berry - same story as Hudspeth
Frank Solich - very popular choice a few weeks ago
Butch Jones - personally I’d put him on the A list
Butch Davis - as if Sandy Bell doesn’t have enough to do.
Big Program Names - Coaches of programs in Big 6 conference schools that have been mentioned somewhere
Gary Patterson - rock solid experience
Dana Holgorsen - the man knows offense
Steve Sarkisian - I have no idea why he was mentioned
Skip Holtz - squeaky’s son?
Art Briles - payback from Mitch for Guy Morriss?
Small Program Names - Coaches not in above group whose names keep appearing. Could be viable, could be because of relatives in the press
Dave Doeren - a major up and comer, he will coach major program some day.
Joey Jones - actually rates closer to “Extra Phone Numbers” category
Chris Hatcher - meh
Larry Coker - definitely has major experience, too old?
Extra Phone Numbers - If Mitch has run out of people to contact these are some names that appeared maybe once or twice or are far below the others listed above, or both.
Garrick McGee - would be more popular at Arkansas
Kyle Whittingham - not sure who brought up his name
Tim DeRuyter - some hack mentioned him today
Rick Stockstill - okay, he was mentioned
Paul Pasqualoni - might have been mentioned once, for some reason
Odds and Ends - Candidates that really don’t fit anywhere else.
Bob Stitt - dark horse candidate with creative coaching philosophy. Has no chance but I like him a lot.
Rex Ryan - a little local flavor (not mine), doubt he’s up for it
Brian Billick - do we want ex-NFL? a certain recruiting bump
Okay, that’s a list to get you started, now start studying. Of course, this doesn’t include next weeks flavors or current coaches that might move on - Brown, Gundy, Saban, etc. The rumors run rampant this time of year.
In Part 2, I'll try to do the same thing for the offensive/defensive coordinators, assistant coaches and others that don't fit in the Head Coaching experienced group above.