Who is the flavor of the month?
A couple years ago, it was
Kendall Turner Gill. The
former Nebraska quarterback made a name for himself at Buffalo and
was hired by the Kansas Jayhawks. Two years later, Gill’s gone, one
of 14 college coaches that has been fired.
Washington State’s Paul Wulff became No. 14 on Tuesday when athletic director Bill Moos finally pulled the plug on the former Cougar lineman.
This list might be expanding as I’m typing this, but here’s the coaches who lost their jobs:
Ron Zook: Illinois
Neil Callaway: Alabama-Birmingham
Dennis Erickson: Arizona State
Rick Neuheisel: UCLA
Luke Fickell: Ohio State (Fickell was the interim guy who has been replaced by Urban Meyer)
Turner Gill: Kansas
Rob Ianello: Akron
Mike Locksley: New Mexico (Bob Davie has been hired as a replacement)
Larry Porter: Memphis
Mike Stoops: Arizona (Rich Rodriguez is already in place in Tucson)
Joe Paterno: Penn State
Howard Schnellenberger: Fla. International University
Houston Nutt: Mississippi
Will any of those out-of-work coaches became a candidate at WSU? I’d say it’s doubtful, although Gill is an intriguing possibility who probably deserved at least one more year at Kansas. How do you judge someone after two years?
There’s been a lot of talk about Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach, coming to Pullman, but it seems to be there’s better options out there for Leach. He’s already been linked to the Kansas job.
Here’s some other names to consider:
Houston’s Kevin Sumlin was a candidate the last time around when WSU hired Wulff. Sumlin might be the most sought-after guy out there after coaching Houston to a 12-0 record and possible BCS at-large bowl. It’ll take more money than WSU has historically been able to come up with to lure Sumlin, or someone like him, to Pullman.
Mike Bellotti. It’s probably a longshot but the former Oregon coach worked under Bill Moos, the current WSU AD. Bellotti was mentioned as a possible candidate at Arizona before the Wildcats hired Rodriguez, although Bellotti denied it. And his name is coming up again as a possible candiate for the Arizona State job.
Robb Akey. The former WSU defensive coordinator’s the head man at nearby Idaho. He’s a popular guy in the Palouse and the price would be right. But considering his 19-42 record in five years with the Vandals, it would be tough to consider him a serious contender.
The name of California offensive coordinator/offensive line coach and WSU alum Jim Michalczik, a former Port Angeles star, will certainly come up. Michalczik’s getting a lot of credit for getting the Bears’ power running game going again after returning to Cal following a stint with the Raiders. He was originally hired by Steve Sarkisian in 2008 to be Washington’s offensive coordinator/o-line coach, but never made it to Seattle and wound up in the NFL.
And it just might be the right time to throw Kasey Dunn’s hat in the ring. Dunn’s the former North Kitsap star who is now coaching at Oklahoma State. His paid his dues (I think he’s in his 17th season as a college assistant), including a stint at Washington State, where he coached five years (from 1998-2002), serving as the assistant head coach the last two under Mike Price. Dunn also spent a couple seasons working as the running backs coach under Mike Holmgren with the Seahawks.
Larry Fedora is a guy Dunn coached under at Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 10-2 this season and 32-19 overall in Fedora’s four years. Fedora, 48, was a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and also coached at Florida.
Alabama offensive coordinator and QB coach Jim McElwain is another name to keep in mind. The former Eastern Washington quarterback from Missoula, Mont., coached nine years as an assistant at Eastern before moving to Montana State. His career was tied to John L. Smith, the former Idaho, Louisville and Michigan State coach, for a time. McElwain coached receivers at Louisville and Michigan State, and was later a successful offensive coordinator at Fresno State before spending a year in the NFL with the Raiders.