In the Hot Coaching Names portion of our College Football America 2017 Yearbook I pointed out coaches, both head coach and assistant, 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. Finally, at the bottom you’ll find a short list of current head-coaching openings for 2018.
Out-of-Work head coaches
Les Miles: Saw him on Fox last night doing the TCU-Kansas game with Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman. I could see this being a short gig for him. Ole Miss is looking. Tennessee may be looking soon, too, and Miles’ SEC ties will be hard to ignore. Expect him to start getting interviews soon.
Tommy Tuberville: Like Miles, Tuberville’s SEC ties means that the athletic director for any SEC program with an opening will kick the tires on the former Auburn (and Texas Tech and Cincinnati) boss.
Sonny Dykes: Dykes is on staff at TCU this year but not doing any actual coaching (he’s an offensive analyst). But TCU’s success will keep him on the minds of programs looking for a new head coach. I suspect at least one or two Group of 5 schools will be interested. After all he was 22-15 at LA Tech before moving on to Cal.
Current head coaches
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: No rumors of anyone interested in him, but Niumatalolo’s track record is clear — 82-44 in 11-plus seasons at Navy. You just have to live with the triple option, and no one coaches it better, except perhaps his mentor, Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State: Last year rumors flew about Harsin moving to Oregon. It didn’t happen. It’s easy to see why teams are interested. He’s 46-16 in four-plus seasons as a head coach and has never had a non-bowl season. He’s also won two conference titles. Due to his proximity to the West Coast, expect any Pac-12 opening to have his name attached. After all, his predecessor, Chris Petersen, is in Washington and he’s doing pretty well. Interesting factor — he’s from Boise, Idaho, so prying him from home may be tough.
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State: He has a contract extension through 2021. His head-coaching record of 37-20 through four-plus seasons has a footnote — it started in FCS in 2013 and continued through the Mountaineers’ transition to FBS, where they’ve been to two bowl games (they won both), won a Sun Belt title and went 14-2 in league play. They’re in contention to do it again this year. Like Harsin, Satterfield is a local product and, based on reports from last spring, seems committed to Appy State.
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech: Holtz has bounced around Group of 5 schools as a head coach since 1994 (UConn, East Carolina, USF and LA Tech). With a career record of 122-97, he can clearly coach. But if the 53-year old wants a Power 5 job, now may be the time to strike, as he is coming off three straight 9-win seasons.
Chuck Martin, Miami (OH): He may be slinging hash at Miami (OH) in 2018. His program needed to show growth record-wise this season and the Redhawks are 3-5 (2-2 in MAC play) as of this writing. Still, Martin is growing this program and he’ll remain a name to watch in the 2018 season.
Jason Candle, Toledo: Jason Candle is a Matt Campbell starter kit — played at Mount Union, coached at Mount Union, coached at Toledo under Campbell (like Campbell did under Tim Beckman) and took over at a precocious young age when his boss left for another job (in this case when Campbell left for Iowa State). Candle has made the job his own, just like Campbell did, as he is 16-5 in two-plus seasons with a 1-1 bowl record. Struggling Power 5 schools have him on a short list.
Craig Bohl, Wyoming: The 59-year old head coach’s overall record is gaudy (122-58). Much of that was at FCS North Dakota State. But in four years at Wyoming the Cowboys are 18-26, and while that doesn’t sound great, he’s staring at a second winning season. He may need another year to build up the FBS credibility, but with his incredible success at NDSU to lean on, he’ll get looks soon enough.
Coordinators and assistant coaches
Tim Beck, Texas offensive coordinator: He’ll be at Texas in 2018. Head coach Tom Herman expressed confidence in Beck’s ability to turn around the shaky Longhorn offense. That won’t get Beck a job next season.
Doug Meachem, Kansas offensive coordinator: During the Fox broadcast Tim Brando remarked that TCU head coach Gary Patterson told him that part of the reason Meachem left for Kansas was to prove himself as a solo play-caller so he could become a head coach. In the short term it hasn’t been a good move, as the Jayhawks are 1-6 overall and managed 21 net yards against TCU Saturday night.
Beau Baldwin, Cal offensive coordinator: It’s going to take the former Eastern Washington coach some time to build up credibility at the FBS level. But that shocking home win over Washington State surely helped a bit. I think Baldwin becomes a serious job candidate in 2019 or 2020. This move was all about setting himself up to do just that.
Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: It’s time for this guy to get a chance. But he’s been an assistant so long what is he waiting for (besides an offer, of course)? Perhaps it’s the perfect job. Remember — Kirby Smart waited for years at Alabama and ultimately bolted for his alma mater, Georgia, when the job came open. Venables’ alma mater? Kansas State. Plus he worked under Bill Snyder as an assistant.
Jeff Monken, Army head coach: The Black Knights are bowl-eligible for the second straight season (they’ve already accepted the invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas). Army hasn’t had back-to-back bowl games since 1984-85. Monken can flat out coach. Will anyone take notice?
Doc Holliday, Marshall head coach: He’s been on my list off and on for years because all he does is win — 59-38 in eight-plus seasons at Marshall. The Thundering Herd are undefeated in Conference USA and 6-1 overall this season. This might be the time for the 60-year old Hurricane, West Virginia, native to pound on a job offer, if it comes. Then again, maybe this is the job he wanted all along. We’ll see.
Sonny Cumbie, TCU co-offensive coordinator: Cumbie is calling the plays by himself at TCU and he’s clearly mind-melded with quarterback Kenny Hill in a way the two-headed monster of Cumbie and Meachem didn’t. Plus, Cumbie’s commitment to running the ball has made TCU a better team overall. There may not be a job for him this year, but he’s clearly building the resume.
Mike Norvell, Memphis head coach: Time to take the 36-year old seriously. He’s maintained the standard set by Justin Fuente. The Tigers are 14-6 in two-plus seasons under Norvell and in the thick of the American Athletic Conference race. He’s been a Todd Graham guy his entire coaching career, so it’s hard to see where his roots are. Athletic directors in both the ACC and the Pac-12 know his work.
Lane Kiffin, FAU head coach: I can’t believe I’m even writing this. But the Owls are 3-0 in Conference USA and just obliterated UNT, 69-31. But the hard part is coming — games with Western Kentucky, Marshall and LA Tech all in a row.
Neal Brown, Troy head coach: You cannot follow up the biggest win of your program’s existence against LSU with a loss to South Alabama. That said, the Trojans are still in Sun Belt contention and they don’t have to play Appalachian State. He’ll stay on the radar.
Scott Frost, UCF head coach: The second-year Knights coach is getting massive publicity with his Knights nationally-ranked, undefeated and coming off a win over Navy. The Knights could be undefeated when they face USF in their I-4 showdown in November. The natives are getting restless in Lincoln, Nebraska, over Mike Riley and that’s Frost’s alma mater, where he won them a national title as a quarterback. The mind wanders to a homecoming scenario in 2018.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach: I thought the Cyclones were safe for 2017, but dang it if Campbell isn’t trying to coach his way out of Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones are 5-2 overall, have a huge win over Oklahoma to their credit and just went into Lubbock, Texas, and ruined Texas Tech’s homecoming. They host TCU this weekend. So, let’s see what happens there. But Campbell wouldn’t be the last ISU coach to leave after just two seasons for a bigger job (Gene Chizik).
Mike Bobo, Colorado State head coach: He has SEC roots, so don’t forget that as he keeps the Rams undefeated in Mountain West play as of this writing. He’s been a winner since he arrived in 2015. But he’s taking the Rams to a new level this year.
Frank Wilson, UTSA head coach. He could have UTSA headed for a bowl game for the second straight year. I saw him against UNT a couple of weeks ago. He can flat out coach and flat out build a program. It took Wilson a while to get his first shot. It probably won’t take nearly as long to get a promotion.
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest head coach. So, ACC play hasn’t been so kind (1-3 at this point). But if the Demon Deacons can make a bowl game that would be two in a row and that could make Clawson an attractive candidate the next hiring cycle.
Joe Moorhead, Penn State, offensive coordinator: Saquon Barkley’s back after his huge game against Michigan. That can only help Moorhead down the line.
— Matthew Postins
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