College football coaching search candidates: What we’re hearing at Auburn, Nebraska, Arizona State and beyond

Sunday has all of the indications of being a coaching free for all. There are presently eight openings now that the primary has been crammed with Charlotte hiring Michigan assistant Biff Poggi, however extra modifications are forward.

Although pink slips have been restricted over the previous couple of weeks, groups seeking to make modifications are seemingly ready till the common season concludes. That means a handful of firings are seemingly forward this Sunday — and there could even be some applications able to make hires now that their prime candidates have moved on to postseason play.

Our last Hot Seat Rankings replace earlier this month coated most of the jobs that would nonetheless come open this cycle. As such, it is time to take one final look at a few of these applications earlier than asking who may fill the positions already vacant.

Potential future openings

  • West Virginia: In Year 4, Neal Brown is headed for his worst season with the Mountaineers — 4-8 in the event that they lose to Oklahoma State. Does the administration even wait to rent a brand new athletic director?
  • Navy: It will seemingly be Ken Niumatalolo’s name after 16 seasons. The Midshipmen have not had a profitable marketing campaign since 2019.
  • New Mexico: Danny Gonzales is in the midst of his worst season with the Lobos (2-9, 7-23 total).
  • Texas State: Jake Spavital, Johnny Manziel’s former offensive coordinator, is 13-34 in Year 4.
  • Texas A&M: No, not Jimbo Fisher. But he’ll probably be satisfied to rent a play-calling offensive coordinator.

Last 12 months, there have been a file 31 job modifications. It will not be wherever close to that carousel. Maybe ADs have gotten extra affected person. Maybe there aren’t that many roles to fill. Going into this season, there had been 72 job modifications throughout the final three years.

What we’re hearing


Lane Kiffin goes to receives a commission both by Auburn as its No. 1 goal or by Ole Miss in a retention play. Kiffin has gained 18 video games and counting in two seasons, two shy of the college file (20). Given his agent (Jimmy Sexton) and the present market, Kiffin may as properly search for a complete bundle within the excessive eight figures over 10 seasons. He’s already the Eleventh-highest paid coach at $7.25 million per 12 months. Sexton will leverage Ole Miss and Auburn towards one another to make sure Kiffin will get paid, and reviews that Kiffin has shot down already are solely serving to to that finish.

That’s just like 2017 when Gus Malzahn received the very same provide from each Auburn and Arkansas (six years, $42 million). He selected Auburn and lasted 4 extra seasons. If Kiffin does transfer to the Tigers, he ought to make it a situation of his employment that the meddlers do not meddle. Why is it a greater job than Ole Miss? No matter what, Auburn appears to compete for a nationwide championship each 5 years or so. That could be the deciding issue. As all the time, Kiffin is extremely self-aware. “Maybe in the event that they watched the primary [half of a 15-point loss to Arkansas], I would not be No. 1 anymore,” he advised reporters Saturday evening.

If Kiffin stays, Liberty’s Hugh Freeze will get an extended look.


Did Matt Rhule flip down the Cornhuskers this weekend? That was the phrase from a number of sources. Rhule had been the No. 1 candidate to exchange Scott Frost. If Rhule has certainly taken his identify out of consideration, that is not essentially an announcement in regards to the high quality of the job. It’s nonetheless a heavy carry for whoever takes Nebraska, however for Rhule, it could be an additional indicator that he intends to take a seat out 2023 to relaxation and retrench. Rhule is at a degree in his profession the place he can have his decide of jobs and not need to settle. His first two school jobs had been bottom-of-the-barrel, last-place sorts (Temple, Baylor), however he made his repute with worst-to-first success tales.

If Rhule is not out there, does Nebraska flip its consideration to Kansas’ Lance Leipold? The 58-year-old coach has deep roots within the state of Nebraska as a former analyst at Nebraska-Omaha and assistant below Frank Solich with the Huskers. Has the shine worn off, although? The Jayhawks began 5-0 and had been ranked however will end 6-6 in the event that they lose to Kansas State this week. Another identify to observe at Nebraska: Washington first-year coach Kalen DeBoer.


A Saturday evening report mentioned interim coach Jim Leonhard is in line to get the everlasting gig. Leonhard had been the Badgers defensive coordinator since 2017 earlier than entering into the massive chair. He is extraordinarily widespread with the Wisconsin trustworthy and has lengthy been anticipated to be an eventual head coaching candidate for the Badgers. Wisconsin is 4-2 since he changed Paul Chryst on Oct. 2.

Arizona State

Watch for Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham to get look. ASU could fall into among the best hires of the cycle. The proficient Dillingham appears to be the chief within the clubhouse, however you by no means know with an administration that removed Herm Edwards then retained the AD who employed him (Ray Anderson). Dillingham, 32, is a confirmed commodity regardless of his relative youth. His quarterback, Bo Nix, could get a Heisman Trophy invite. Dillingham can be given every kind of sources to show across the Sun Devils. In the brand new Pac-12 (with out USC and UCLA), why cannot ASU compete for a playoff spot yearly?

Los Angeles Rams working backs coach Thomas Brown is claimed to have an interest. Jackson State’s Deion Sanders has already taken his identify out of the working saying he’d by no means go “West.”

Georgia Tech

Interim coach Brent Key could have taken an enormous step after upsetting North Carolina. GT could even get to a bowl sport. That would imply beating Georgia this week. If not, look ahead to Bulldogs working backs coach Del McGee, Tulane coach Willie Fritz and former Houston/Texas A&M/Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin. Sanders additionally should be thought of given the Atlanta connection.


Northwestern defensive coordinator Ryan Walters is basically thought of the favourite. Walters performed security for the Buffaloes from 2004-08. If he in some way would not get the job, there’s a lengthy line of worthy contenders. Departed Auburn coach Bryan Harsin is , as is former Texas coach Tom Herman, former Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall and Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor. Texas analyst and former TCU coach Gary Patterson can also be taken with getting again someplace.

South Florida

AD Mike Kelly is claimed to be conserving an open thoughts on any variety of completely different instructions he might head after the Jeff Scott catastrophe. Don’t be shocked if the identify of at least one NFL assistant surfaces. Here’s a suggestion: Three years after leaving Missouri, Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom is able to be a head coach once more. Sanders is one other identify who could possibly be attention-grabbing right here as Kelly is casting a large web.


Former coach Bill Clark has healed properly from the again that prompted him to resign earlier than the season. However, do not search for him to return to this system he constructed from scratch. We’re hearing former Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente or veterans like Sumlin, Brown (if West Virginia makes a transfer), Skip Holtz and Larry Fedora.

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