Texas coach Mack Brown resigned Saturday after winning 158 games, two
Big 12 titles and one national championship during 16 years with the
Longhorns. Brown's resignation opens one of the premier jobs in college
football to a number of elite coaching candidates.
TEXAS VACANCY: The pros and cons
can offer the sort of resources unmatched on the Football Bowl
Subdivision level. The university has enormous financial resources, for
one, meaning the coach can expect a hefty pay raise. In terms of
supporting its football program, UT's facilities, prestige and
recruiting bed could help lead to a very quick turnaround.
MACK BROWN: Coach steps down
COACHING CAROUSEL: Latest changes
all, this could be the most intriguing coach search to hit the FBS in
years. Who could fit the bill as Mack Brown's replacement? Here are five
coaches to consider:
1. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. Gundy
is attractive for several reasons. Most of all, he's made Oklahoma State
into one of the most consistent - and successful - programs in the Big
12. He's also familiar with the area, is known to the state's high
school coaches and has indicated a willingness to listen to other
offers, as shown by his discussions with Tennessee following last
2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State. Can't get Saban?
Then try for the next-closest thing: Fisher is very much a Saban clone,
befitting his time under Saban at LSU, and has followed his blueprint
for turning Florida State into the best team in college football. Like
Saban, Fisher excels at both identifying recruiting talent and
developing players in his system. Few coaches handle the 365-day grind
of being a coach - the CEO aspects of the job - quite like Fisher.
3. Gus Malzahn, Auburn.
Malzahn would be a coup for Texas. But like Fisher, Malzahn received a
hefty contract extension after leading the Tigers to the BCS National
Championship Game. (It should be said, however, that when it comes to
buyouts and contracts, money is no object to Texas.) Here's what makes
Malzahn so appealing: his offense. The idea of teaming the Longhorns'
athletes and the type of recruits in Texas with Malzahn's up-tempo
system is exciting, to put it lightly.
4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State. This is a dark horse to
consider. (And only in this search would Dantonio be considered a dark
horse.) Dantonio has led Michigan State to 11 wins in three of the past
four years - and to the Big Ten title in 2013 - with a never-fail,
old-as-football-itself system: run the football, protect the football,
makes plays downfield, hit the quarterback, jam up receivers, tackle,
convert on special teams. If not as big-time as Saban, not as trendy as
Fisher, not as local as Gundy or as explosive as Malzahn, Dantonio would
put the bread and butter back in Texas football.
5. Charlie Strong, Louisville.
Strong is another accomplished coach with a sizable buyout: UT would
owe Louisville $5 million if it hired Strong in 2013 - and $4.375
million if the school waited until 2014, in case you were wondering.
Beyond the money, Texas would also have to convince Strong to leave a
very comfortable and successful position at Louisville, which leaves the
American Athletic Conference to join the ACC after this season. But
what makes Strong an appealing candidate? He has big-school experience -
as at Florida, where he helped win a pair of national titles. He has 11
wins in each of the last two seasons at Louisville, including a Sugar
Bowl win against the Gators last January. Strong would have an enormous
impact on the Longhorns' defensive production, obviously. UT would want
to hear his thoughts on an offensive staff before advancing past a
preliminary stage, but Strong is a logical second-tier candidate for the