Yes, we understand that this is likely a Minnesota-esque pipe dream, but I’m telling ya we’ve been waiting for this guy to come on somebody’s radar for a job at the collegiate level so we could use that headline.
And trust me, this guy is on somebody’s radar. Well, at least for a minute he is.
It’s been just eight hours or so since Dan Hawkins was officially relieved of his duties as Colorado’s head coach, and already lists of potential replacements have begun cropping up. According to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera, Troy Calhoun, Brent Venables, Mike Bellotti, Les Miles, Bill McCartney and, yes, that guy Jon Gruden are a few of the names known to be on Colorado’s radar.
Of course, it’s one thing to have a wish list of potential head-coaching replacements. It’s another matter entirely to have a realistic list of candidates to work from. And, based the words of the athletic department’s boss at the press conference announcing Hawkins’ firing, you can already cross a couple of names off the Daily Camera‘s initial offering based on financial considerations alone.
According to athletic director Mike Bohn, Colorado is “not a $4 million institution… I would be surprised [if] we are in a $2 million-plus marketplace” as a salary for the next head coach. With that as a baseline, the Buffs can all but forget about Miles, Bellotti and, yes, Gruden.
Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Oklahoma defensive coordinator/associate head coach Brent Venables, on the other hand, would seem to fall in CU’s price range, although it’s always possible a well-heeled supporter or supporters of the football program could step up and toss their checkbooks into the financial mix for a school whose athletic department has seen its fair share of monetary struggles the past couple of years.
And then there’s Bill McCartney. The 70-year-old former CU head coach is the school’s all-time leader in wins, but has not been involved in the game at any significant level since 1994. He’s been rumored the past couple of months to be a potential option — at least for the short-term — for the school, and Bohn confirmed Tuesday that McCartney “is a viable candidate for us to consider.”
McCartney himself said shortly after Hawkins’ firing became official that he has an interest in the job.
“If Colorado was interested in me, I would definitely be interested in returning,” the former coach told the Denver Post.
For what it’s worth, we’ve been told that Houston’s Kevin Sumlin is the favorite amongst several people associated with the athletic department, although whether those individuals have enough pull with the higher-ups who will actually pull the trigger on a hiring remains to be seen.
Another name to remember is Mark Mangino. The former Kansas coach has been connected to the Gophers opening — we’ve been told he’s already spoken to the search firm conducting Minnesota’s search — and will no doubt get at least a look from Colorado’s search committee.