By: Dooley’s Cane
Fired? Retained? Retired? Whatever Mack Brown’s status at Texas is, it certainly doesn’t look positive for the Longhorns HC. New athletic director Steve Patterson has been on the job in Austin nearly a month and, per multiple reports, still hasn’t spoken with the head football coach. At a football school. In Texas. Something about that just doesn’t seem positive. Rumors went flying early Tuesday afternoon that Brown was stepping down after 16 seasons at the helm. Then… he wasn’t. Apparently Brown was unaware that he was retiring. Of course, these rumors weren’t just started by any yahoo off the street; they were started by Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, the same man that reported former AD DeLoss Dodds was stepping down a few days before he did. The writing’s on the wall for Brown, and if Texas is indeed searching for a new lifeline to revitalize the ‘Horns blood, here’s a few names Patterson should look to:
1. Nick Saban
Undoubtedly the top coach of the past decade, Texas is, quite frankly, the only school with enough money that could lure Saban from Alabama. Alabama can negotiate a $7 million per year deal with Saban, but Texas could dwarf that if it wanted to, because black means more than crimson. And by black, I mean oil. Texas could feasibly become the first university to give a football coach $10+ million a year. But will it? For the chance to be back on top of the college football landscape? It should.
2. Art Briles
Gus Malzahn will most certainly be bandied about as a possible replacement, and why wouldn’t he? The guy transformed Auburn in just one season, leading them from 0-8 in the conference, to another BCS Championship appearance. But Briles made Baylor relevant IN FOOTBALL. Not only relevant, but the best football team in the state. Briles is a Texas guy, through and through, so this hire makes the most sense here.
3. Kevin Sumlin
Sumlin is every bit as good a coach as Briles, but is he willing to leave the SEC after just two years? He may, if Johnny Manziel does the predictable and leaves for the NFL. His name will probably never be hotter than it is right now, so if he wants a big time job, he should make the jump. Then again, Texas A&M has become bigger than Texas, and that’s mostly due to he and JF. Maybe the pride of keeping his own creation rolling is enough to keep him in College Station.
4. James Franklin
People will argue that Franklin is a “better coach” than Briles and Sumlin because he “wins at Vanderbilt.” Yes, he has notches in the win column, but let’s not act like those Ws have come against the top-notch SEC talent that usually comes the names attached. Georgia, Florida, Tennessee… those teams weren’t just utterly decimated, they were shells of their former selves, so it’s not really fair to give him credit for being an extraordinary coach when he hasn’t quite proved that. And there’s still the whole rape case going on that could easily prevent him from getting the job.
5. Mark Dantonio
Michigan State’s head coach doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves: he went undefeated in the Big 10, toppled Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship, led Sparty to a Rose Bowl, and always seems to have a dominant defense with coordinator Pat Narduzzi. If I’m Texas and I go this route, I tell Dantonio to bring Narduzzi, no matter the price. Narduzzi’s sure to get some head coaching offers this offseason, but this has to be a package deal. It’s a little off-the-radar, but if Texas strikes out in the first three options and steers clear of a coach with legal entanglements, there’d be reason to celebrate hiring Dantonio.
Coaches I Doubt Would Leave:
1. David Shaw, Stanford
2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
3. Les Miles, LSU
4. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
5. Any Harbaugh or Gruden
Coaches That Would Love It, But Won’t Get Offered
1. Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky
2. Lane Kiffin, formerly USC
3. Jim Tressel, formerly Ohio State
4. Phil Fulmer, formerly Tennessee
5. Will Muschamp, Florida (He’s still coach-in-waiting, right? RIGHT?!)