In the Hot Coaching Names portion of our College Football America 2017 Yearbook I pointed out coaches, both head coach and assistant coach, that may have a shot at a head coaching job somewhere else in 2018. For instance, Lincoln Riley was on our list at press time before Bob Stoops went and retired at Oklahoma. So things can change quickly for some of the coaches we have listed here.
Below are the Hot Coaching Names from the Yearbook, with an update. After that I have some coaches that have worked their way into a position for a head-coaching job in 2018, or perhaps beyond.
Out-of-Work head coaches
Les Miles: Yep, he’s doing the TV career rehab thing this year. But my guess is he’ll be coaching somewhere in 2018, hopefully somewhere with a tasty grass field. Any SEC job would be in play. So would the Big 12 or the Big Ten, where he has previous ties.
Tommy Tuberville: The former Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati coach is in the booth for ESPN this year. Let’s see if a year away from the game gives him — and a potential job opening — the chance to come back. It depends on how picky he is about where he goes — and the landscape of former coaches available.
Sonny Dykes: He’s working with the TCU staff as an analyst. I thought his firing at Cal was a bit premature. If you like offense, he’s your guy. If Kliff Kingsbury falters again at Texas Tech, given Dykes’ family roots at the program (his father was former Red Raiders head coach Spike Dykes), hiring him is a possibility. However, right now, Kingsbury’s job security looks better than it did a month ago.
Current head coaches
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: He’s going to start getting more looks. What he’s done at Navy is remarkable. The question is what program will want his brand of football? The triple option looks great at Navy, but it takes time to implement and it’s not exactly everyone’s favorite offense.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State: Yes, Boise is his alma mater. But more success means more opportunities. Just look how it worked out for his predecessor, Washington’s Chris Petersen.
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State: He has the Mountaineers in contention in the Sun Belt and coming off a bowl win. When will a struggling Power 5 school come calling? Perhaps as soon as this off-season.
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech: He runs the show in Ruston and his Bulldogs are one of the best teams in Conference USA. How long before a Power 5 team takes a run at him? And if they do, is he ready to leave?
Chuck Martin, Miami (OH): Martin has the Redhawks turned around after reaching a bowl game in 2016. Now the question is whether he can sustain it. If he can, Power 5 schools looking for a boost may come calling.
Jason Candle, Toledo: One of the bright young minds in the MAC. He went to Mount Union, worked his way up as an offensive coach and took the Rockets to a bowl game his first year, just like his predecessor — Matt Campbell, now at Iowa State.
Craig Bohl, Wyoming: He’s on the radar now that the Cowboys are back to bowling and have one of the college game’s best quarterback prospects in Josh Allen. Sustaining success is key to any job ambitions the former three-time FCS champion head coach might have.
Coordinators and assistant coaches
Tim Beck, Texas offensive coordinator: It hasn’t been a stellar start for the Longhorn offense, and that will put a ceiling on Beck’s potential job fortunes in 2018. But he’s still a name to follow, thanks to his Ohio State pedigree and the Longhorns’ high profile.
Doug Meachem, Kansas offensive coordinator: The offensive numbers are better, but if the idea of leaving TCU was to prove that he could have similar results somewhere else, well the early returns aren’t that great when you consider Kansas’ record. He interviewed for the North Texas job a couple of years ago, so running his own program must be on his mind.
Beau Baldwin, Cal offensive coordinator: The former Eastern Washington boss is probably angling for a head-coaching job in 2019 or 2020. But he’s been on my radar for a few years because his brand of offense is exciting and productive, and it produced a great wide receiver in Rams rookie Cooper Kupp.
Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: He should get a head-coaching job one day. He’s paid his dues, done good things at two different programs and coordinated a national champion defense. He’d be a perfect fit for a struggling Power 5 outfit, especially one in the ACC that could use his recruiting chops. He was the 2016 Broyles Award winner as the nation’s top assistant coach. Since 2008 only one winner, LSU’s John Chavis, has failed to become a head coach within a couple of years of winning the award.
Frank Wilson, UTSA head coach. How non-descript is Frank Wilson? I had to Google him to jog my memory on who the coach was at UT-San Antonio. But there is nothing non-descript about what he’s doing in San Antonio. In his first year at UTSA he guided the Roadrunners to a bowl game. I was in the Alamodome when UTSA pushed Arizona State to a near-upset last year and thought to myself, “Hey, maybe this guy can coach.” Now the Roadrunners are 3-0 and have a win over Baylor. Power 5 schools that are down on their luck may make Wilson, a former LSU assistant, a priority soon.
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest head coach. Things started slow for Dave Clawson at Wake Forest when he arrived in 2014. But the same was true when he arrived at Bowling Green in 2009. By the time he left the Falcons, he had led them to seasons of 8-5 in 2012 and 10-3 in 2013 before he took the job with the Demon Deacons. After back-to-back 3-9 seasons Clawson led Wake Forest to a 7-6 record and a bowl win last year. Now, the Demon Deacons are 4-1 entering the bulk of ACC play. They’re not going to win the Atlantic Division. But, aside from Clemson, there isn’t a single team remaining on Wake Forest’s schedule it can’t be competitive with (and, yes, that includes Florida State, which it lost to Saturday but only by a touchdown). Wake Forest gives Clawson Power 5 access, but no one is going to confuse the Demon Deacons with a national title contender. But if he can find success at one of college football’s hardest jobs, teams with national title aspirations will notice.
Joe Moorhead, Penn State, offensive coordinator: The better Saquon Barkley looks in his pursuit of a Heisman, the better Moorhead’s chances of getting back in the head-coaching ranks (he was Fordham’s boss from 2012-15 before joining James Franklin at Penn State).
— Matthew Postins
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