As alumnus of the University of South Florida and someone who has covered college football for over 40 years, I would like to make a few suggestions (unsolicited) to replace Jeff Scott as the next head football coach of the Bulls. Look Athletic Director Mike Kelly is a savvy guy who has a list of contacts second to none so I am sure that he may even have these three names I am bout to suggest on his list.
My first call would be to Tom Herman who is doing a good job as a college football analyst for CBS would be the perfect fit for the USF job. He built a winning program at Houston where he had a 22-4 record with the Cougars that include a New Year’s Eve Peach Bowl showing and an American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year win.
His most recent job was replacing Charlie Strong (yeah I know that hire from Texas didn’t work out.) at Texas where he took the Longhorns to three straight bowl games, His overall record in Austin was 32-18 in three years there and posted three AP Top 25 season ending rankings.
At 47 he has plenty left in the tank and he is an outstanding recruiter with ties to Texas and Florida. So, resume wise to me
Herman is the man.
My next choice would be ESPN analyst and former Gator and Mississippi head coach Dan Mullen. At Florida Mullen got caught up in the booster’s expectation mess and despite an impressive resume his way of recruiting didn’t fit what the “Bull Gators,” wanted.
At Mississippi State he was an impressive 69-46 putting him at number three on the all-time winning list in Starkville add to that taking the Bulldogs to three straight bowl games and finish with a 2014 SEC Coach of the Year honor, not bad for school that is considered second tier in the conference. Then he left MSU for Florida and what he thought would be his dream job.
With the Gators he was 34-15 in his four years as the Gators head coach. His teams made three trips to New Years Six bowl games and a 2020 SEC East title that included an epic battle with Alabama that ended 52-46. So, in 2021 a funny thing happened most of his stars on the 2020 team graduated to the pros including quarterback Kyle Trask, superstar tight end Kyle Pitts, star wide receiver Kadarius Toney, defensive back Marco Wilson, place kicker Evan McPherson who put the Bengals in the Super Bowl, ballhawk defensive back, Shawn Davis to name a few stars lost from that title team.
So, like Herman at Texas, Mullen at Florida didn’t suddenly forget how to coach he had to make up for talent lost on both sides of the ball. The Gator boosters didn’t think Mullen was landing enough top four- and five-star recruits which has never been his style he is more of system man, so he was gone.
Last on my short list is another guy with a deep resume who got the boot and that is Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst. He came to Madison from Pitt where he had great success his overall record is an impressive 86-45 with a 7-2 mark in bowl games. He led the Badgers to three Big Ten Western Division titles, was named Big Ten Coach of the Year twice.
In his nearly seven years at Wisconsin, he posted a 67-26 record, with a 43-18 mark in Big Ten. His impressive mark in bowls was 6-1 and that included two New Year’s Six wins.
Are there others out there of course Scott Frost who had big issues at Nebraska after being a star at UCF, Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons, Howard head coach, Larry Scott, Indiana head coach Tom Allen and Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell.
Chadwell is the hot young coach and is he a possible target for the Bulls and he might be a good fit. But I am still thinking that my trio of established program builders anyone of them is a good fit.
I wish whoever the next head coach is at USF that they can turn this program around. There will be more conference realignment to come, and the Bulls need to be ready the next time invites come, until that winning the AAC is very important.