I’ve been fortunate to cover a few of these head coaching searches and I’m not necessarily nimble in the sense that there are days that I’m just not able to post something, but I am diligent and I can at the very least promise to post whatever it is that I find in the morning. Depending on the day, I may or may not have time to put together a Morning Stake. It just depends on what I’m able to get done. These sorts of things are very time consuming. These coaching search rumors come from various sources, but I should mention that a lot of them this time come from A-J Media’s Don Williams. I’ll link to sources when I can. The head coaching search is maybe a coaching search that’s built into tiers. The list under each tier is not in any particular order.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen: Why would he do this? Well, coaches don’t like to stay in one place for a long time and Holgorsen has been at West Virginia since 2011. For some reason, I remember that Holgorsen essentially had to coach on a one-year deal, the athletic director at the time didn’t want to give Holgorsen an extension and so he was coaching for his job. Holgorsen was an assistant coach when our Double Eagle guys were there, Cody Campbell and John Sellers. And if I had to bet, I’d think that Holgorsen either gets a hefty raise or a new job with Texas Tech and in my opinion, if Holgo arrives in Lubbock, this is a home run hire.
Out of work former head coach Todd Graham: I’m guessing that Graham would absolutely jump at the chance to be a head coach again, but I do not like this option even a little bit. Graham was the head coach at Arizona State before being replaced by Herm Freaking Edwards. Graham started out 8-5, 10-4, and 10-3, but then went 6-7, 5-7, and then 7-6. Graham is just sort of hanging out during his year off. Graham has Texas ties coaching at Rice for a year and as the head coach at Allen for a handful of years.
Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt: Leavitt, 61, is the current defensive coordinator for the 8-4 Oregon Ducks and currently sits with the 69th best defense according to S&P+. Leavitt was the head coach at South Florida, was their only head coach and basically started that program, but he was dismissed after allegedly slapping a player during halftime and then lying about it. At South Florida he was 95-27, so he essentially started a program and won 8 or 9 games pretty much the entire time he was at South Florida. Leavitt had a couple of NFL stops and then turned around the Colorado defense before moving to Oregon. Leavitt has no Texas ties that I know of and I mentioned his age of 61 seems problematic, but this seems to be where the Tier 1 guys are at. Leavitt was Hocutt’s position coach at Kansas State.
Out of work former head coach Bob Stoops: I know what you’re thinking, this is crazy, but Hocutt and Stoops have a relationship and Stoops is only 58. Truthfully, he has a lot of coaching years in front of him and if I had to guess, Bob didn’t want to be around when his brother Mike was eventually fired (which happened this year). Some guy named Vic Vinegar tweeted out that Stoops was a possibility. I don’t know who Vinegar is and he only has 40 follows. Regardless, this has been out there for almost a week, so he’s not exactly breaking the news, from what I’ve been told this was posted behind the paywall at RedRaiderSports 4 or 5 days ago so if you want to give anyone credit, the guys there deserve it, it’s just that it is behind a paywall (they’ve got to get paid too). I normally do not post things that are behind the paywall because that’s proprietary, but if it’s out in the public I like to give credit to the first source if at all possible, which is the RRS folks. In any event, Stoops checks all of the boxes, experienced head coach who wins, 190-48 overall. Stoops has only coached as the head coach at Oklahoma, so he’s had certain advantages that he wouldn’t have at Texas Tech.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach: Williams reported that there is interest in Mike Leach and I absolutely believe this. There was a lot of interest last year, but I don’t know how realistic that would be given the history between Leach and Texas Tech. I do believe that Mike Leach will coach wherever he is paid the most money, which is why he literally took the Tennessee job last year only to have the AD that hired him to then be fired, which means that Leach went back to Washington State and then went 10-2 this year. There’s no doubting Leach’s coaching chops, I just don’t know how all of the baggage plays out at Texas Tech. And the same guys that want Holgorsen probably are also putting out feelers to Leach as well. I think it’s basically the same guys.
Memphis head coach Mike Norvell: Norvell is originally from Texas, born in Irving and I think coached high school here. And speaking of Arizona State, Norvell was the offensive coordinator for Arizona State in 2012-13 and then added assistant head coach in 2014 and 2015. For reference purposes that was Graham’s first 4 years and he was basically the offensive coordinator. Memphis is currently 8-4 and they’ve got the 19th best team in the nation according to S&P+ with the 10th best offensive S&P+ and 67th best defensive S&P+. Memphis has 11 players from Texas on their current roster.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables: Venables is very excitable and very good at his job, which is just coordinating defenses. Venables has the best defense for the undefeated Clemson Tigers according to defensive S&P+. Venables was Kirby Hocutt’s roommate at Kansas State. Venables was also the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and you don’t have to take my word for it, but Venables had an elite defense while he was at Oklahoma, top 10 every year and then Bob Stoops hired Mike Stoops, Venables left for Clemson and you see the Oklahoma defense where it is today.
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin: Harsin was mentioned last week, but like Matt Wells below, he’s home right where he is. Harsin is a Boise State alum, he’s from Idaho, he’s home. Harsin is 52-14 at Boise State, so I don’t think there’s any doubt that he can coach, I just don’t know if he’d leave Boise State to go to Texas Tech. Harsin would have options to stay on the West Coast if he wanted to do that, and he’s been mentioned for the Colorado position. And Harsin was the offensive coordinator at Texas for a couple of years, 2011-12. I’d guess that this is not very likely given some of the names thrown out yesterday, where Harsin wasn’t mentioned at all. I originally had Harsin as a Tier I guy, but it appears that the Tier I guys are head coaches who are in their 50’s and 60’s, more veteran type of coaches.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells: Wells is an alum of Utah State, so he may be where he wants to be. Wells is 44-34 at Utah State, was 10-2 this year and won 10 games in 2014 as well, but he was 6-7 in 2015, 3-9 in 2016 (that may have been an absolutely injury-plagued year, but I’m not sure), 6-7 last year and then the 10 wins this year. I don’t know anything about Wells other than he played and coached at Utah State and doesn’t have any ties to Texas or Texas Tech that I know of, which isn’t a prerequisite, just nothing it. And the same thing that applies to Harsin applies to Wells, would maybe be a Tier I guy, but doesn’t appear to fit the profile.
Troy head coach Neal Brown and North Texas head coach Seth Littrell: I don’t know why these two have fallen from where they were last year. Neal Brown has a 9-win Troy team that just lost to Appalachain State, another very good program. Brown was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech when Tuberville was here and I always felt like he got a bad rap, but he was also essentially replacing Mike Leach. Brown is a good guy and I bet he’s going to be a pretty successful head coach at Kentucky or Louisville or something like that. Littrell is the former fullback for Oklahoma who was the running backs coach for Texas Tech back in Leach’s heyday. North Texas has been very good, they won 9 games this year, but have losses to a stinker of a program in Old Dominion and also a loss to Louisiana Tech.
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield: Satterfield played for Appalachian State and this is home for him, much like Wells. Satterfield has a record of 50-24 and has been outstanding since he took over for the Mountaineers, starting 4-8, then 7-5, 11-2, 10-3, 9-4, and 9-2. They’re currently the 17th best team according to S&P+, 47th in offense and 12th in defense. Satterfield has been mentioned by some as an option, but I don’t really hear any traction with Satterfield. I think he’s a heck of a coach, probably the most Chris Beard-like option on any of the lists.
If you’re looking for other options, then maybe a guy like Jason Candle, the Toledo head coach who has gone 28-12 as Toledo’s head coach. Arkansas State’s head coach Blake Anderson played at Baylor, but graduated from Sam Houston State, where he played receiver. At Arkansas State, Anderson has a 39-24 record and is 8-4 this year. Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel has a list, but it also includes Major Applewhite and I’d think that there’s no upgrade from there, Applewhite is trash (IMO because anyone that hires a Briles makes terrible decisions) and I’d be happy to just not field a football team if he’s hired. Also mentioned is LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and he also had a cup of coffee through Texas Tech, but I haven’t seen Aranda’s name anywhere else. SMU head coach Sonny Dykes is mentioned, but he just took the SMU job and I’d guess that the buyout is probably pretty hefty. Texas DC Todd Orlando is probably not an option because I think that Hocutt wants to stay away from the “no head coaching experience” option because that’s just where the list seems to be trending. Eric Morris is the final name and I just don’t see that happening and I don’t have a great reason other than Morris was let go for the most part and I just don’t see it right now.