Hocutt's Circle of Trust | I don't think that Hocutt will hire a coaching firm, but that's because he pretty much knows one personally. I'd imagine that setting in Hocutt's circle of trust is former interim Big 12 Commissioner, Chuck Neinas, who was running a coaching search firm prior to the interim job for the Big 12. Neinas and Hocutt are good friends and I'd imagine that as a favor to Hocutt, they'll be able to talk openly about possible candidates. Having Neinas as a friend is incredibly important in these types of situations. I'd also add Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione. Castiglione has been around for a while and probably knows a lot of the candidates that are listed below.
Last, but not least, I'd imagine that Hocutt calls up his former coach, Bill Snyder, to run some things past him. The reason I'm so comfortable with Hocutt making this decision is because he's as plugged in as you could want an athletic director to be.
I've also left off some notable names, like Baylor's Art Briles, OC Neal Brown and DC Art Kaufman. I honestly don't believe that Briles would leave Baylor unless he was absolutely money-whipped. Even then, I have my doubts and just don't think it's realistic. As far as Brown and Kaufman, I think Brown is on his way to Kentucky as soon as possible or Southern Mississippi. I do hope he takes advantage of coaching this team in the bowl game as I think he'd make an excellent choice. I'd like that opportunity for him. Kaufman is a good guy and I think the players really like playing for him, but I don't think that Hocutt will lean this direction if he has other opportunities.
Kliff Kingsbury | Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach Texas A&M | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: I don't think I really need to go relay all of this, but why not. Kingsbury was born in San Antonio, played at New Braunfels and his dad was the head coach. Kingsbury played at Texas Tech from 1998 through 2002 and was eventually a 6th round draft pick. Kingsbury bounced around the NFL from 2003 through 2006 and eventually ended up playing for a couple of CFL teams before hanging up the cleats after 2007. Kingsbury then started coaching at Houston and started when Holgorsen was also at Houston. I think that Kingsbury started to call plays for Houston in 2010, partly withand then full-time in 2011. Kingsbury followed Sumlin from Houston to Texas A&M where he is today.
Georgraphic Considerations: This is pretty easy. Played at Texas Tech and has been around the scene for
Why He Should Get The Job: Kingsbury called the plays for the 3rd best offense in the country, both scoring and yards. TAMU is 13th in the country in rushing and 14th in passing. TAMU is a very balanced offense and you might be surprised to know that the Aggies average over 235 yards a game rushing. I would like Kingsbury to being like Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald in that Fitzgerald was incredibly green and had very little coaching experience before being named Northwestern's head coach in 2006. Fitzgerald will most likely be at NU as long as they will have him and I think Kingsbury would be the same way. As an aside, Fitzgerald was never a coordinator prior to being named the head coach. Just a linebacker coach at a handful of stops.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: Kingsbury strikes me as a smart guy and he has to know if he's ready to be a head coach or not. As linked below, it's a big jump. Take me for example, if someone were to ask me if I was ready to quit my job and start a firm of my own, I'd probably struggle very much at first, but would most likely eventually settle down. I'd need time, but I'd eventually figure it out. Kingsbury might not feel that he's ready to be the full-time guy. The key for him would be if he had enough money to surround himself with quality coaches.
Chad Morris | Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach Clemson | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: Morris is from Edgewood, which is only 20 minutes from where I live. Small world. Anyway, Morris truly worked up the ranks of the coaching profession, from Eustace HS to Tulsa in a decade. Morris was the head coach at Lake Travis when Michael Brewer was there. Morris also apparently coached at Stephenville HS in 2004-2007 and I'd guess that he was there when Cody Davis was there. Morris was the offensive coordinator Tulsa under Todd Graham for one year after leaving Lake Travis and is now the offensive coordinator at Clemson.
Georgraphic Considerations: Morris being from Texas is a huge plus and the fact that he coached Brewer is something to consider. Morris did graduate from Texas A&M, but I don't know that I care all too much about that. It's a business and coaches want to win. Morris obviously knows Texas as well as someone could, although being out of the loop for a few year in Texas may be a problem.
Why He Should Get The Job: Clemson has been terrific offensively as long as Morris has been in charge. Overall, 6th in the country in scoring, 9th in yards, 33rd in rushing and 13th in passing. That's not a bad 2012. In Morris' first year, it was a bit uneven as he was 29th in yards, 27th in scoring, 61st in rushing and 21st in passing. In one year at Tulsa, Morris was 5th in yards, 15th in rushing, 16th in passing and 10th in scoring offense. Not bad for a one year stint, but I do believe that he took over for Mahlzan.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: Lack of experience, plain and simple. He hasn't had any head coaching experience except at the high school level. He's obviously been pretty good as a coordinator, but he only has been coaching at the college level for two years. That's hardly any time at all.
Brent Venables | Defensive Coordinator Clemson | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: A Kansas guy that ended up playing football with Kirby Hocutt. Venables went the JUCO route, but he played with Bill Snyder and Hocutt back in 1991-1992. I'd imagine they are close. Venables immediately went into coaching and was coaching the linebackers pretty much right after graduation. Venables then moved on to Oklahoma where he was the co-defensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Georgraphic Considerations: Venables knows the Big 12, so that shouldn't be an issue. He spent most of his career either playing in the Big 8 or coaching in the Big 12. He knows this conference probably better than most.
Why He Should Get The Job: I suppose you have to consider the full body of work. Venables defense at Clemson is just okay, 74th in the nation in total defense and is giving up a ton of yards, over 400. However, the Clemson defense is 47th in scoring, which is significantly better. Don't discount the close relationship with Hocutt. There are a lot of ties there for there not to be a connection.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: Some of the lustre of Venables started to wear on Oklahoma fans. They were impatient with his perforamnce as defensive coordinator. The Sooners were 55th in total defense in 2011, 53rd in 2010 and 8th in 2009. Venables can coach a heck of a defense, but I just wonder how much is about what talent he had.
Todd Monken | Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach Oklahoma St. | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: For some reason, I thought that Monken was mainly an NFL guy and that's not accurate at all. Monken has only spent two years in the NFL, immediately preceeding his tenure at Oklahoma St. Monken was a quarterback at Knox College and All-American and he started his coaching career almost immediately and started to work his way up the ladder. Stints at Eastern Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma St. and then at LSU. He was then hired to the the WR/QB coach for Jacksonville and in 2009 he began his run as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma St.
Georgraphic Considerations: Nothing that I can tell other than he has been at Oklahoma St. twice, so he must like Stillwater.
Why He Should Get The Job: Oklahoma st. has been just terrific offensively since Monken was brought on board. He has the 22nd best rushing team and the 7th best passing team for the 5th best offensive team in the nation this year. This is pretty standard. It's not just the statistics, but Monken coached three different quarterbacks this year so this isn't a situation where he had one quarterback. Much credit needs to go to OSU's offensive line coach who has been there a long time. Still, I think Monken is actively looking for a job as he recently talked with Football Scoop about the transition from coordinator to head coach.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: No head coaching experience. Plus, Monken is a quote-machine, but he's also prone to say whatever is on his mind.
Mike MacIntyre | Head Coach San Jose St. | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: Played football at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. Worked his way up the ladder and is primarily a defensive coordinator. MacIntyre has professional experience as well, coaching with Bill Parcells at the Jets and in Dallas.
Georgraphic Considerations: MacIntyre was born in Miami, played in the Southeast and coached there early. Doesn't have any connection with California other than the job at San Jose St.
Why He Should Get The Job: San Jose St. was awful and in MacIntyre's first year, he finished 1-12. This year, he finished 2nd in the WAC (yep, Dykes finished 3rd) with a 10-2 record. MacIntyre coached up the 28th best defense this year, but he's also found success offensively as well with the 11th best passing attack and the 30th best offense in the nation. MacIntyre's recent success was called a miracle and there's no doubt that he has a definite plan of attack.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: I actually think that MacIntyre is a really good candidate. I can't think of a reason as to why he should not get the job other than he's not at all familiar with West Texas or Texas coaching in general.
Lincoln Riley | Offensive Coordinator East Carolina | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: If Kingsbury can be a candidate, then I don't know why Riley shouldn't be a candidate either. Riley was at Texas Tech for 7 years in some coaching capacity after graduating from Texas Tech. He's been the offensive coordinator at East Carolina for the past three years.
Georgraphic Considerations: From Texas Tech and Muleshoe. Not more West Texas than that.
Why He Should Get The Job: Riley's offense has been a little off and not as productive as you might think He was 58th in total yards, 46th in scoring, 91st in rushing and 35th in passing. Riley had the tall task of completely revamping the offense when he arrived as I don't think that ECU was a spread team before his arrival.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: He has more experience at the college level than either Morris or Kingsbury, but he doesn't have the name as being a high flying offensive coordinator. He's just been pretty good. Of course, Clemson and Texas A&M are better schools with better opportunities.
Jim Leavitt | Linebackers Coach, San Francisco 49ers
Background: I'm not real comfortable with this candidate, especially given his history. Leavitt was actually a damn fine football coach, with an overall record of 95-57. I don't care where you are, that's not bad. I'd also add that Leavitt was a coach at Kansas St. and the coordinator when Hocutt was at Kansas St. That's why Leavitt is a consideration.
Georgraphic Considerations: Nothing that I can tell other than he was at Kansas St. from 1990 through 1995 before moving on to South Florida from 1997 through 2009.
Why He Should Get The Job: Leavitt built South Florida from a Division I-AA program to a very good Big East program. Never won any championships, but he was very good. In 13 seasons at South Florida, he had a losing record only 1 time, in 2004.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: Leavitt's departure from South Florida was the result of allegedly striking a player after a game and interfering with the investigation. That's obviously a huge red flag and for this reason alone, I don't think he's a serious candidate.
Gary Andersen | Head Coach Utah St. | 2012 NCAA Profile
Background: Has only beena head coach for five years, but he's turned Utah St. from a perenial loser to the best team in the WAC, beating Sonny Dykes' La. Tech team late to win the WAC title. This year was his best work yet as Utah St. went 10-2 on the year. Andersen is the guy behind the offense as he's been a coordinator leading up to the job at Utah St.
Georgraphic Considerations: Andersen is born and bred in Utah. He went to Utah as an undergrad and he traveled around the country as an offensive coordinator and things like that, but he got back to Utah as soon as he could. Even taking a high school job at one point.
Why He Should Get The Job: If we're focused on coaches that turn around programs, not that Texas Tech needs a lot of turning around, Andersen is really good. And he had a fantastic season this year as the Aggies are bowling for the first time since 1997. Utah St. is about as well-rounded as you can get. 37th in the nation in rushing, 37th in passing, 26th in total offense. They are also 12th in rushing defense, 36th in pass defense and 15th in total defense.
Why He Should Not Get The Job: I don't think he leaves Utah for Texas.