Re-updated as of 3:00pm Thursday... changes since 3:40pm Tuesday in bold
Before we begin this process, a note:
We are of the considered opinion that Doug Woolard already has his coach. The lack of use of a search firm and the rather decisive manner in which this decision was made all seem to point to the admin having a candidate identified and ready to launch. I would be surprised if we don't know who it is by the end of Tuesday. Our reading of the tea leaves is this won't take long. But in the interim...
Adding this: Bret Bielema to Arkansas means Paul Chryst of Pitt will absolutely be a candidate for the job in Madison. The Pitt job is better than the USF job, and this might slow the search down a little if Woolard really is doing a full search and didn't have his guy lined up before he fired Skip. Dig in, folks, this might take a while.
And now it's Thursday and we don't seem any closer. Guess he didn't have his guy. So who knows how long this will take.
LET'S GET READY TO GAMBOOOLLLLL!!!
Willie Taggart: Opened 3-2: Now 5-2
Head coach, Western Kentucky University.
Only because he seems the most repeated name on the board, and Josh Newberg at Bulls247.com says he's interested. Obviously he can recruit Florida (check out the Hilltoppers roster), but he got his offensive chops from Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, so it's not exactly a dynamic or exciting system he's running. And USF just failed with a previously successful mid-major head coach making the jump up a level. But he's a grad of Manatee High School, understands Florida, and has been moderately successful in a place where it's impossible to be moderately successful.
Has a Little Caesars Bowl game to coach in Detroit on December 26th. So if he takes the USF job and starts immediately, he won't have to spend Christmas in Detroit. That should drop his asking price at least $100,000 per year, right??
If he was the chalk guy... why hasn't this happened yet? Every day he's still not hired it makes it look less likely that he's the choice, and he'll probably drop a smidge on our board. Then it gets curiouser and curiouser when Brett McMurphy tweeted Taggart has had no contact with USF yet, but then took it down almost immediately. Hmmm...
So, again, why hasn't this happened already? He's holding out for Wisconsin?? A Florida guy wants that job?? Sorry, not buying it. Every day he's not somewhere else, the pressure ratchets up on USF to get him.
Mike MacIntyre: Opens 7-2
Steven Godfrey of The Mothership reports he's getting an interview. We've heard so few hard names in this search that we have to figure this is pretty legit, and looks like he could be a big get. Father was a DC at the University of Tampa when they still played football, and he was born in Miami so there are Florida ties. Took the Spartans from 1-12 two years ago to 10-2 and the Military Bowl this year.
Sonny Dykes: Opened 5-2 Now: Not Happening
This blog's man-crush is heading to Cal. Oh well, it's better to have loved and lost...
Tommy Bowden: Opened 9-2 Now 6-1
Former head coach, Clemson University
He's available. He's got BCS experience. He knows Florida. And Jamie will douse himself in gasoline and run through a kiln if this happens. Hasn't been a head coach since 2008, and I doubt he picks himself back up at USF. But he's a name, and if everything else doesn't fall into place, he's not the WORST default candidate you could get.
Still could be default, but not a peep out of him or from USF. Doesn't seem like a match at this point, but that could change.
James Coley: 8-1 Now 12-1
Offensive coordinator, Florida State University
A respected name, understands Florida recruiting, and has a good track record. The question is 1. would he take this job and 2. do we want him anyway? It's not like FSU's offense is lighting the world on fire... it's the defense that just won them an ACC title. Plus he might be thinking about a bigger job up the totem pole.
Doesn't seem to be in any discussions, which is surprising for a local guy.
Gus Malzahan: Then 18-1... Now off the board
Head coach, War Eagle
Houston Nutt: Opened 12-1 Now 20-1
Former head coach, University of Mississippi
Giggity!! Probably wants the job, and gets the South, but was 1-15 in his last two years with the Rebels (though that's a damn tough place to win). He's a name, but hasn't won much since leaving Arkansas where they ran him off. By all accounts he can be a beast in recruiting.
Even if this meeting did happen, Woolard HATES leaks. And Nutt or his agent putting it out there that there was a meeting today will turn off our administration. Doesn't look like it'll happen, but if everyone else turns this job down... who knows?
Chad Morris: 30-1 Now 29-1
Offensive coordinator, Clemson University
Already making $1.3 million, he's going to want a significant pay bump at his first head coaching gig. Would be a huge get, but USF most likely isn't going to spend the dollars it takes to make this happen. And he has no ties to Florida anyway, so... If they can't land Taggart, USF might now be forced to really open the purse strings. If they do, this would be the reach candidate.
Calvin Magee: Opened 35-1 Now 20-1
Offensive coordinator, University of Arizona
Former USF assistant coach has learned not only at the hand of Jim Leavitt, but Rich Rodriguez at WVU, Michigan, and Arizona. But we're not sure that this administration would want any ties to Leavitt at all.
Magee still has some pull around USF apparently, and is respected by everyone on campus. When I stuck this out yesterday, someone texted me and said "don't be so sure." So maybe this could happen?? He's can recruit Florida, and some alumni would push hard for him... so maybe??
Update: Ron Zook: 40-1 Now 80-1
There's retreads, and then there are re-retreads. Zook can recruit like no other, and coach like your cat. Our fans burning down the Selmon Center and UF grads laughing and pointing at us if we did this should be enough of a deterrent.
Still not a peep either way, so highly unlikely this happens.
Butch Davis: 50-1 Now 18-1
Former head coach, University of North Carolina
More NCAA baggage than a fully loaded 787. Doug and Judy tend not to make those kinds of hires. But he's won before, so maybe they'll take a huge gamble on a guy that's currently an advisor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers??
He turned down FIU and Colorado, so maybe he really likes Tampa? And he's holding out for the hometown job?? Either way, seems like he's still got a better shot than Nutt.
Bobby Petrino: 75-1
Former head coach, University of Arkansas
And you thought Davis had baggage. He would be awesome for our pageviews, our .gif making department, and probably on the field as well. But he's a dirtbag, and (thank God) we tend not to hire dirtbags. And he'd leave as soon as he won anything here.
Mario Cristobal: Opened 100-1 Now 500-1
Head coach, Florida Interational University
Let's just say that for a bunch of reasons, we are intimately familiar with the inner workings of both the Bulls and the Panthers. And let's just say that we have it on very good information that this would never, ever happen. Just... no. I feel bad for Mario though, as he should have jumped ship last year when his stock was higher. When you point to coaches that get chastised by fans for "not being loyal," look what happens when they are like Cristobal: One bad season where he got hit by the injury bug pretty hard after consistently winning, and now he's screwed.
You don't replace a just-extended-then-fired coach that went 3-9 this year with a just-extended-then-fired coach that went 3-9 this year. Also, a little birdie re-confirmed what I already knew... that this would never, ever happen.
Jon Gruden/Tony Dungy/Steve Duemig's drinking buddy Rich Bisaccia: 49,212-1
Look, message board idiots: Just stop. Please. You're making all USF fans look dumber, and wasting precious oxygen that could be used to fix rain forests that those of us with fully functional frontal lobes need to keep this planet going. And to the mouthbreather that suggested the head coach at Plant High School (Robert Weiner), allow me to respond in language you can understand: "U IZ UH MORAN."
Field: Opened 3-1, Now 5-2
There's a lot of names we haven't covered, but I think these are most of the favorites. But it's still very likely that we go off the board and pick up a coordinator somewhere, or maybe even a name that hasn't been floated somewhere. USF is playing this very close to the vest, so their thoughts could be nowhere close to what ours might be.
If it's not Taggart, very possible USF goes off the board here.