So the pundits want to project Lane Kiffin or Greg Schiano ending up as the next University of South Florida head coach, hmmm. Both intriguing and dumb ideas. Well maybe not Kiffin, but would you really want a guy who’s personified a pouting 5-year old, as the head coach of your program?
If it wasn’t for Nick “Big Daddy” Saban smacking him around a couple of times, Kiffin would’ve soiled his comeback shot as Alabama’s Offensive Coordinator. But I do like the idea of an offensive minded guy taking over for Willie Taggart’s “Gulf Coast Offense.”
Well, it looks like the Houston Cougars are going to hire him on Thursday, anyway.
Then there is Schiano, the guy who micromanaged the Bucs to his own futility. This guy was such a joke as a head coach, he couldn’t even handle public relations opportunities. He was obsessed with having the thermostat set at a particular degree and the infamous “toes on the line” with the Bucs at practice. (And if I had to hear this guy say “Ham and Egger” one more time, I’d deliver a case of Dr. Seuss books to him just so he could pick out a different phrase.)
Yes, they both are have great current mentors (Kiffin with Saban, Schiano with Urban Meyer) in elite programs, but both seem to be missing a screw. If that sounds familiar USF fan, SEE SKIP HOLTZ.
Here’s three names I think warrant the strong sell by USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan.
PJ FLECK: (Western Michigan, Head Coach)
He may not get a shot at a Power 5 opening, but I’ve been big on this guy since he left the Bucs Wide Receivers coaching position to take over at Western Michigan.
A proven home area lock down recruiter, a motivator and a guy who can flat out coach. He’s the next big gun in college coaching. USF may want to think of itself as a “destination job”, but don’t kid yourself. It’s a stop on the way. Think of it this way, when you’re a ten-year old dreaming of going away to college one day, you don’t say “I want to go to USF.” Coaches have the same thought process when it comes to destination jobs.
Fleck just turned 36-years old and can talk on the same wave length as the kids he’s recruiting. He turned Western Michigan in to a champion in just three seasons, going undefeated, winning the MAC title this year and will now play Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.
He has familiarity in Tampa Bay (Albeit brief – spending one season with the Bucs). Fleck will have offensive weapons in place to be able to run his offense. He is everything USF is looking for right now. Plus, with all the water around Tampa he’ll be able to live out his “Row The Boat” mantra.
DOUG NUSSMEIER (Florida, Offensive Coordinator)
Nussmeier has been an Offensive Coordinator at Alabama, Michigan and Florida over the past four seasons. He knows the state when it comes to recruiting and he runs a pro-style offense.
He’s another coach from the Nick Saban’s coaching tree, which has faired pretty well (Jimbo Fisher, Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart just to name a few).
Nussmeier played and coached in the NFL, giving him the capability to use his resume in recruiting.
Charlie Strong (Former Texas Head Coach)
Strong is a defensive minded coach which would change the trajectory of how the program was being built under Taggart. That idea may not sit well for fans that like big numbers on the scoreboard. But Strong could give USF a coach who will stick around for a while.
Strong unceremoniously was escorted to the exit door in Austin with his 16-21 record. But he is still a recruiting dynamo in Florida, especially in South Florida where Taggart was making hay. Strong won a National Championship as the Defensive Coordinator at Florida. And he won two conference titles as the head coach at Louisville, two more titles than Taggart won. Also add in to the mix, his players love him.
And while in today’s society this should not be an issue, Strong would succeed Taggart as the only African-American head coach in Florida at a big state school.
Those are my three picks, sure they have local ties and aren’t completely outside the box. But maybe USF warrants a coach with a bigger name this time around. The program is as strong as it’s ever been, which couldn’t be said when Taggart took over.
No Bull, this is an important hire for USF. They need a coach with charisma, they need a coach who can invoke confidence, they need a coach who can win, and they need a coach who can finally bring home a conference title.
There are no shortage of candidates who can bring them all four.