Sunday, January 02, 2011

Who'll be the next UConn head coach?

The process has probably already begun. UConn must move quickly to replace Randy Edsall or risk losing more incoming recruits (and there are bound to be some) and possible transfers. The best way to minimize that stuff is to hire within the program, and Hank Hughes would be at the top of that list. Of course, athletic director Jeff Hathaway must do what's best and if that means an external hire too good to pass up, so be it. Experience, salary, ties to the area and recruiting experience are among the many areas crucial to the position.

Here are a few names I'll toss out there that Hathaway may consider.

Hank Hughes, UConn assistant head coach for defense: A 10-year veteran of the Huskies staff, Hughes has been second in command to Edsall the past few years. He should be considered the top candidate for an internal hire. Hughes and his family (he has four young children) are also firmly rooted in Connecticut.

Joe Moorhead, UConn offensive coordinator: Hand-picked by Edsall to run the Husky offense, will be a head coach somewhere someday. But with only four years as a college offensive coordinator, may lack the experience for consideration. It will be interesting to see what happens with Joe. I expect Edsall will take him to Maryland with him, but Hathaway may do what he needs to do to keep him here.

Ken O'Keefe, Iowa offensive coordinator: O'Keefe grew up in Milford, played for Ray Tellier and Tom Marcucci at Notre Dame of West Haven and his first coaching job was as an assistant at the U. of New Haven. He also has strong ties to the area with family still in Milford, while his wife has family on the Connecticut shoreline. But his relationship with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, also a UConn grad, dates back some 34 years. O'Keefe gave Ferentz his first paid job at Worcester (Mass.) Academy, and O'Keefe, the OC at Iowa since 1999, has been fiercely loyal to Ferentz.

Mark Whipple, U. of Miami assistant head coach and offensive coordinator: Whipple’s success at New Haven, his first head coaching job, led to bigger and better things. Won a national title at UMass and coached in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl as an assistant with the Steelers. Is not being retained at Miami by new coach Al Golden.

Kevin Gilbride, New York Giants offensive coordinator: North Haven native has impressive resume but a long shot to leave his current position. Of course, his future depends on what the Giants decide to do with Tom Coughlin.

There are other names with state ties too. Dick Jauron, who is close with Edsall, Chris Palmer, even Skip Holtz. Tony Sparano is still employed as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, but is a New Haven native with family in-state. He's also on shaky footing with the Dolphins. Anything can happen. I know Mike Leach is getting some love from UConn fans right now. He's an offensive wizard, but the baggage cost him the Maryland job.

Any other suggestions out there?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should hire Randy Shannon. I know he didnt do well at Miami but he could bring big time recruits with him and open up a new window in florida. If not him I'd say Leach for the fans and to fix the horrible offense of uconns

January 02, 2011 10:50 PM 
Anonymous Jonathan said...

I believe Randy Shannon should be the next coach at UCONN. He is a good recruiter, players love him evidenced by the fact players were crying when told he would be no longer their coach, and he graduates his players. Or if we want a dynamic hire go Mike Leach.

January 02, 2011 11:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coach Foley the o-line coach would really have the support of the players and has previous head coach experience at Colgate

January 03, 2011 12:39 AM 
Anonymous Syndic said...

Previous commenters had some good suggestions. I hadn't thought of Randy Shannon. He would be a good hire and I think his "failure" at Miami has been exaggerated. Art Briles has done wonders at Baylor, but he's a Texas guy, not a Connecticut guy. You've got to think Mario Cristobal, June Jones, and Brady Hoke are all on the short list. An unconventional prospects would be former Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis. A truly ironic hire would be Mark Stoops, the current defensive coordinator at Florida State. Again, not Connecticut guys, but more big-time, national names. Sometimes that's what you need. Chip Kelly has been recruiting the entire country. Look how often he shows up on lists of kids' on the Rivals Top 100: For example, LaMichael James is from the Houston area. You may not have heard of him yet, but you will; Lache Seastrunk was one of the top recruits in Texas recently and Chip Kelly landed him. If you want to recruit all over, Mike Leach is a great hire. But you can't expect him to be someone he's not. He's quirky, eccentric, maybe even a little crazy, but he's a mad scientist and he's got lots of connections in college football. Trust me, you wouldn't lose any recruits with him at the helm. Remember, you'll be going up against Dana Holgorsen and Gary Patterson soon. Gotta step your game up. And you don't have much time to do it.

January 03, 2011 6:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also like Randy Shannon but unless the baggage is too severe I think Mike Leach would be a great hire.

I've seen a bunch of Mike Leach's teams in person and the one thing I can say is it will drive the Big East insane. No one in the Big East runs an offense similar to Leach's and I think he may have more success at UConn than he did at Tech.

A final though is... Josh McDaniel. I don't know if he has any interest in the college game but he is young and will be successful given the "right" opportunity.

January 03, 2011 9:58 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it will be Eric Mangini or Rich Rod when he gets fired from Michigan this week.

January 03, 2011 12:18 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would go for Ken O Keefe...He should know how to be a Head Coach by now working under Coach Ferentz all these years.

January 03, 2011 12:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ferentz worked as O'keefe's assistany first . O'keefe has had success everywhere he has gone . Bring him aboard and he will thrive . Loyalty to Ferentz is one thing , but quadruple his $$$ and he would be dumb not to take the job . He will recruit great around here .

January 03, 2011 5:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCONN needs to step up fast! Letter day is in less then a month and even though there is an interim head coach the program needs a BIG Name coach to come in. This will help the program continue with growth. There are great players here in the northeast but we need to also be able to get the penetration in the southern states. A big name would do that. Hiring a Big Name like Leach would also spark what UCONN has been missing "A complete Offense" not just a running game which has been fantastic. The Fiesta Bowl put UCONN on the National stage and they need to stay there. Come on UCONN make the right decision and Fast!!

January 06, 2011 4:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

**First off Leach is not the guy you want. He's a Texas guy. First chance he got he would bolt. But 1st he would completely change the offence to the spread. Which we currently don't have the personal for. Then when he left in 3 yrs either find another "Spread" guy, or wait 3 yrs of recruiting guys for a new system.
**Phillip Fulmer is a name i've heard lately. Hands down one of the best recruiters of all-time. But again i feel he may head to the SEC or ACC if he had a chance to go.
**Lets face it Edsall created an image for Uconn as "RB U"or smash mouth football with the recent sucsess of Jordan Todman, Andre Dixon, Donald Brown, Deon Anderson,& Terry Caully. I for one kinda like that image. So a new coach should embodie that style. But don't be as bland and lifeless as Edsall was.
**With that said I like Tony Sparono. Soon to be former NFL head coach. Which is always good for recruiting. Maybe he'll be able to keep some of CT's best recruits at home. Plenty of CT roots. Sucsessfull in college at the U. of New Haven. Heck he brought the "Wildcat" to the NFL.
**If not Tony, then i say go after Rich Rod. I know hes a "spread guy". But I think hes learned his lesson. He'll shy away from those "Big Programs" jobs for awhile. Not to mention after the Michigan fiasco the "Big Programs" may not want him. Listen he knows Big East Football, its his comfort zone. Hes a big name, great recruiter, and i think he be around at least 6-7 yrs, which in college football is an eternity.

January 06, 2011 8:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all great coaches...but none of them will end up at uconn. Given the state's budget deficit and the short term thinking at uconn, no doubt they will hire the defensive coordinator or a noname. This perpetuates the recruiting problem that Edsall had. I really wish they would hire a big name coach, but they are too conservative.

January 07, 2011 8:31 PM 

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