South Carolina Head Coaching Candidates: The Wish List

    Five (plus one) head coaching candidates who should be on South Carolina's wish list - ranging from the ridiculous to real.

    October 13, 2015

    With the stunning and swift retirement of Steve Spurrier, what head coaching candidates should be on South Carolina’s wish list?


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    Chip Kelly is going to be on top of everyone’s list of top coaching candidates at USC – and the other USC – and any head coach having any sort of success right now will be in the social media discussion, but I’m going for the right fit. Here are my top five choices – ranging from the ridiculous to the obvious – for what my wish list would be if I was South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner – (and I someday plan to be.

    South Carolina Head Coaching Candidate Wish List

    5. Charlie Strong

    Strong is coming off what might be a life-changing win over Oklahoma, and it’ll be a fun two weeks to bask in the glow, but what if the seasons ends with a thud? What if the Longhorns lose to Kansas State, and clunk against West Virginia, Texas Tech and Baylor? Strong is all in, and there’s no way he’s going to leave, but …

    Considering Strong was a loss to Oklahoma away from possibly being on the flaming hottest of hot seats, Tanner wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least inquire into just how much Texas really likes Strong – and vice versa.

    Of course, the former Gamecock defensive coordinator isn’t really an option, but he’d be the perfect guy for the gig.

    4. Will Muschamp or Lane Kiffin

    I’m lumping these two into the Land of Misfit SEC Assistant Coaches. If I could do it, I’d combine the two into one supercoach – half brilliant D coordinator, half brash offensive mind.

    Yes, I’m looking into hiring Wane Muffin.

    It’s too soon for Muschamp, and his Auburn D isn’t exactly setting the world on fire at the moment, but he’s going to be a big-time head coaching candidate again in three-to-five years. Unfortunately for him, this isn’t 2010, or he’d be a done deal to Columbia.

    Lane Kiffin is also going to be a head coach at a top gig against someday soon. Alabama is one national championship away, and maybe one Miami Dolphin bygones-be-bygones call away, from Kiffin maybe being a prime candidate to take over for The Emperor. Again, though, this isn’t 2010, or Kiffin would be a dream candidate.

    Neither one will be on any sort of South Carolina short list, but they each know the conference, they each have something to prove, and they can each do one thing at the highest of levels – recruit. That’s 86% of the battle.

    Okay, enough of that. Now to step into the land of reality of coaches who’d really be on my little notepad to interview …

    3. Jon Chavis

    The concern is that he’s never been a full-time head coach, and he’s turning 59 this football season, but there’s a reason LSU and Texas A&M both fought over him. Would the messy way he left LSU matter? Not really, and if South Carolina wants to once again crank up the defense, he’d be the guy to turn to as one of the legendary and revolutionary defensive minds in college football. However, it would take another big payday to get the right offensive coordinator. In a perfect world he’d get a stepping-stone job before taking on a gig like South Carolina, but he knows the conference and he’d be a strong fill-in from Day One.

    2. Kyle Whittingham

    The Utah head man is likely a bigger candidate for the other USC, but he’d be the right fit at the right time for a South Carolina program in needs of a proven winner whose teams are built on toughness. The big key is his ability to win without the four-and-five-star talents, mainly because his system doesn’t necessarily require the elite prospects. Line up, blast away with an efficient running game, find athletic pass rushers with motors that go to a whole other level, and turn it all loose. Turning 56 this year, and in his 11th season at Utah, this is his chance to strike while his team is hot.

    1. Bobby Petrino

    You want the hire who’d freak the freak out of the rest of the SEC East?

    A $10 million buyout is pocket change at this point for the right head coach.

    He’s only 54 and is well past the issues of four years ago that booted him out of Arkansas, and while he said he’s finally at the right spot, he’s destined for something bigger. Louisville is a nice gig, and the last thing he wants to do is generate more negativity considering his name is a punchline in the NFL after bailing on the Atlanta Falcons, but the ACC isn’t the SEC, and South Carolina is a step up.

    Steve Spurrier is a legend among college football coaching legends, and there’s no denying what he brought to the game as an offensive mind, but let’s be honest – his offenses didn’t get the job done over the last few years. Petrino would ramp up the attack, and more than anything else, he’d step in and punch his weight with all the other top head coaches in the recruiting wars as well as on Saturdays.

    MORE: Arby’s Is Ready To Throw Down For Steve Spurrier’s Retirement Party

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