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Poll: who should be Ohio State’s next head coach?

Luke Fickell

Even as it’s already been announced that Luke Fickell (pictured) will coach the Ohio State Buckeyes throughout the whole of the 2011 season, with a national search commencing shortly thereafter, that still hasn’t stopped the speculation as to just who will be the permanent successor to Jim Tressel at the school.

Obviously, Urban Meyer‘s name has been dropped squarely into the mix, and there’s little doubt that OSU officials will at least place a call gauging his interest this December, if not earlier.  Meyer wrote in one of his books that Ohio State is one of three jobs — with Notre Dame and Michigan being the others — that his wife holds no veto power over, so it may just be a matter of whether the former Florida head coach wants to jump back into the coaching game just a year after temporarily stepping away.

Additionally, and as noted by PFT full-timer/CFT part-timer Mike Florio, Jon Gruden has already surfaced as a rumored possibility.  The current ESPN NFL analyst is from the state of Ohio, and was rumored to be of interest to the Cleveland Browns after their firing of Eric Mangini, so the rumor mill spitting out his name at this very early stage makes sense.  What wouldn’t actually make much sense, however, would be for tOSU to pull the trigger and actually hire a man whose most recent collegiate coaching experience was way back in 1989.

Bruce Feldman of has compiled a very early list of potential permanent replacements for Tressel, and six of the seven he names — Meyer, Gruden, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Florida State’s Mark Stoops and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel — have extensive ties to either the state or the university.  Feldman also throws in TCU’s Gary Patterson for good measure.

Also as expected, Bob Stoops‘ name has already been mentioned as well, although it would be surprising — hell, shocking — if the Ohio native would even consider leaving his plush Oklahoma position to inherit what could be an NCAA mess in Columbus let alone being a realistic candidate.  That said, his Youngstown, Oh., roots combined with a successful — and clean — Sooners program will have his name in the midst of the speculation until the position’s officially filled.

One intriguing name we had forgotten about and with a connection to the school was mentioned by Tom Dienhart of Lovie Smith.  The current head coach of the Chicago Bears was the defensive backs coach at Ohio State in 1995, although his name being realistically in the mix would be just as stunning as Gruden’s or Stoops’.

And then there’s Fickell.  The former Ohio State player will be in charge of the football team from now until the end of the season and will certainly be given the opportunity to state his case that the “interim” tag should be stripped from his current title.  Some have already begun to dismiss the possibility that Fickell could be a long-term, permanent fix on the sidelines; I haven’t, and I won’t.  Fickell is a helluva football coach and will be leading a major Div. 1-A football program at some point in the next five years.  Hopefully, he’ll be given serious consideration by those who will ultimately make the decision.

We would also be remiss in not mentioning Darrell Hazell.  Currently the first-year head coach at Kent State, Hazell spent the past seven seasons as a valued member of Tressel’s and had been rumored to be a potential, eventual successor before moving on to the Golden Flashes.

So what say ye?  Who should be the next head football coach of the the Ohio State Buckeyes?  If it helps any before casting your vote, Bodog has released its initial odds on the next coach at Ohio State:

Urban Meyer 3/2
Mark Stoops 5/2
Jon Gruden 3/1
Bo Pelini 10/1
Mark Dantonio 12/1

With all of that said, fire away, both in the poll and in the comments section below…


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42 Responses to “Poll: who should be Ohio State’s next head coach?”
  1. imsmartandyouarenot says: May 30, 2011 4:48 PM

    George Washington

    For he could not tell a lie

  2. imsmartandyouarenot says: May 30, 2011 4:50 PM

    That said, his Youngstown, Oh., roots combined with a successful — and clean — Sooners program will have his name in the midst of the speculation until the position’s officially filled.


    No way Stoops leaves the best program in college football for a crooked program.
    OU is a CLEAN program unlike THEE OSU

  3. imsmartandyouarenot says: May 30, 2011 4:52 PM

    Why isn’t Mike Leach on the list?

    Perfect fit

  4. jaggedmark says: May 30, 2011 4:54 PM

    Rich Rodriguez!

  5. jaggedmark says: May 30, 2011 4:56 PM

    Urban Meyer is a horrible fit for OSU. He’s not shady enough for the Buckeyes.

  6. bamasucks says: May 30, 2011 5:00 PM

    Earle Bruce

  7. mrcowpatty says: May 30, 2011 5:22 PM

    Anyone that works for ESPN that talks about college football.
    Because they are the smartest people on the planet.

  8. bender4700 says: May 30, 2011 5:31 PM

    Doubt OSU fans want the D-Coordinator who’s defense stomped them out for the National Title. Pelini is too much of a loose cannon, and getting him away from Nebraska right now would be pretty tough. Bo has the program where he wants it.

    Bobby Stoops may be the guy, mostly because Oklahoma is in a state of hold over. Texas has too much power. Stoops would also enjoy battling his old buddy in the Big Ten, (Bo Pelini), and he doesn’t have to worry about seeing his brother in the Pac-12(16).

    Urban, I think he was really shaken up by the health scare, and I actually could see him staying at ESPN, where he’ll be treated like a king, no matter his performance. (see Lou Holtz).

    Gruden, does OSU want to go from one of the more classy guys, at least on the surface, to Gruden?! I can’t help but notice it’s mostly Gruden and media friends bringing him up for the jobs.

    Mike Stoops, naw. Not likely.

    I would bet on Bobby Stoops. No run ins with the NCAA, has ties to the area of course, and he’s proven he can be consistent even with a hated rival in the conference.

  9. stairwayto7 says: May 30, 2011 5:33 PM

    No one will go there until the sanctions and penalties are released! I expect a no name coach from a small school to be coach. Gruden, Stoops nor Myers will go to a program with cut scholarships, no bowls and limited tv!

  10. deathmonkey41 says: May 30, 2011 5:50 PM

    I voted for your mother.

  11. realfootballfan says: May 30, 2011 6:09 PM

    Naturally, Lane Kiffin should interject his name into the mix soon as he goes through another 7-5 season and sees his inevitable firing on the way.

  12. billmead1976 says: May 30, 2011 6:52 PM

    I vote for duo co-head coach team of Florio and Taylor.

  13. imsmartandyouarenot says: May 30, 2011 7:01 PM

    I nominate Buttermaker!
    If that drunk can take the Bad News Bears to within a bang bang play of winning a championship, imagine what he could do with “pro” players

  14. chawkfreek says: May 30, 2011 7:47 PM

    Other…Mike Bellotti

  15. treydogg97 says: May 30, 2011 8:07 PM

    Tim Brewster please!

  16. halo81 says: May 30, 2011 9:23 PM

    No love for Dan Mullen?

  17. burntorangehorn says: May 30, 2011 9:49 PM

    That said, his Youngstown, Oh., roots combined with a successful — and clean — Sooners program will have his name in the midst of the speculation until the position’s officially filled.

  18. dryzzt23 says: May 31, 2011 7:43 AM

    Hazell? Really?

    What, do people think he could be another Mike Tomlin or Raheem Morris? So if a coach is black then it doesnt matter about how much experience he has but if he’s white then he had better have been an HC for years and have a clean track record.

    What the “elite” sports media is forgetting is that OSU is a DESTINATION coaching job, it’s not a stepping stone program.

    I think that OSU will get whomever they want. Start looking at the buyouts for the best coaches in the NCAA b/c OSU will come calling to find the best

  19. rowbear says: May 31, 2011 2:36 PM

    I agree somewhat with @dryzzt23. It is a destination job AND it’s a place where you stick around for awhile. Ohio State will want someone that will be there for at least 10 years. That rules out Meyer and Gruden. This is a good thing. Neither one of them would be a good fit. Dantonio is an interesting choice if you didn’t already have Fickell there.

    None of the Stoops clan is coming either. I think OSU will give Fickell a few games and if he shows he can lead the team long term, the job will be his.

  20. gatorprof says: May 31, 2011 10:00 PM

    It isn’t a very good situation to inherit. The next coach is staring at something similar to, if not worse than, USC’s situation. Yes, historically it is considered a top program, but it is a top program that is currently a cesspool, a very public cesspool.

    Why would Meyer want that job? It would be a down grade from the job that he just quit.

    Why would Stoops want that job? He is beloved at OU and OSU is not a better job.

    Gruden would be an awful college coach.

    That being said, everyone down here “in the know” is pretty convinced that it will be Meyer.

  21. gatorprof says: May 31, 2011 10:45 PM

    Put another way, OSU is used to winning (at least when they aren’t playing SEC teams) as a dirty program.

    Will the fan base accept a house cleaning coach that doesn’t dominate UM right away?

    The answer is….NO.

    You guys knew the Vest was dirty from his YSU days. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  22. Deb says: May 31, 2011 10:47 PM

    See what Fickell can do under these circumstances. If he can keep the team together and competitive, he’s earned the job. If not and they want to bring in a “name,” I’d say Meyer’s the frontrunner.

    I don’t think Pelini, Pinkel, or either Stoops will give up their current positions. I’d be surprised if Gruden would seriously consider the college ranks, even for OSU. And that hire would be a mistake for a school trying to recapture a squeaky-clean image. Not all of Gruden’s former players hold him in high regard. In addition to his potty mouth, he’s known for telling them one thing and doing another. I don’t think duplicity is a quality Ohio State wants in a new coach.

    Just don’t know about Mangini. Think he is perhaps a better coach than his experiences for the Jets and Browns suggest. But there’s a world of difference between pro and college ball, and who knows what kind of recruiter he’d be.

    Urban is a great recruiter. His biggest problem would be the high number of arrests among his Florida players. If OSU can get past that, I think they’d offer him the job. And I think he’d only turn it down if sanctions put the program into a deep dark hole … or if his wife pitched a really scary hissy fit.

  23. ezwriter69 says: May 31, 2011 10:48 PM

    I think it should be “Al Groden”, how about it smartandyouarenot? lol, at you dude, not with you…

  24. burntorangehorn says: May 31, 2011 11:02 PM

    Yeah, Urban Meyer would be a terrific act to follow up Tressel. There’s nothing like finding the biggest non-disciplinarian out there to replace a disgraced coach.

  25. ernestbynershands says: Jun 1, 2011 3:35 AM

    What about Mangini. He wouldnt have to move far.

  26. ernestbynershands says: Jun 1, 2011 3:38 AM

    Or better yet, follow the blueprint of another Ohio D-I powerhouse, And hire a Notre Dame firee, Charlie Weis

  27. Spencer says: Jun 1, 2011 7:06 AM

    Urban Meyer = National Championships

  28. edgy says: Jun 1, 2011 11:01 AM

    The question and it’s a legitimate one: if Meyer leaves a situation in Florida for reasons of health and family, what makes tOSU fans believe that he will stick around any longer in Columbus, given the kind of pressure that he’d be under THERE? Also, while it’s not an indictment on him running a clean program, the way that his players got into so much trouble might not be something that the school wants to deal with, especially when you consider how more off-the-field incidents could end up bubbling to the surface now that Tressel isn’t there to squash them.

    Fickell could be a good fit BUT would he end up getting caught in the Pryor investigation? Seriously, does anyone believe that ONLY Pryor know about those cars and that no one on the coaching staff raised an eyebrow when they saw what he was driving? The stench of that fall out could kill his chances, even if he went 13-0 and won the big one.

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt BUT I would take a chance on Mark Stoops and pray that he’s as clean as Bob but a better coach than Mike. I know it would be a first time coach taking over a big time program but then again, Bob didn’t have any experience when he took over at Oklahoma and there’s no guarantee that a previously successful coach continues to be successful: Hawkins, RichRod, any of these names ring a bell?

  29. myballsmyrules says: Jun 1, 2011 12:01 PM

    I would nominate Barry Switzer. But he has too much class to have anything to do with a corrupt school. And unlike many of today’s coaches, he is loyal and doesn’t jump from school to school to school.

    He just wins MULTIPLE championships at one school, and to prove his genius, he will go coach one year and win a championship in the pros.

  30. Deb says: Jun 1, 2011 12:57 PM

    @myballsmyrules …

    So you’re an Oklahoma fan? Sorry I didn’t cop onto that, um, sooner, but they’ve been off my radar lately. Oh, but I really enjoyed the Mizzou game. 😉 And you actually had the nerve to talk about Alabama’s championships being tainted just because Switzer could never match the Bear?


    Baby, ain’t nobody ever gonna match the legend that was Bear.

    Switzer was a great college coach–I’ll give you that. But he was a dirty SOB. (Did you see the 30 on 30 documentary on Marcus Dupree?) I’m no fan of Jimmy Johnson, but Switzer can thank him for putting together one of the best pro teams ever to take the turf and Aikman for keeping them together long enough to pull in that third championship. And he owed O’Donnell a six pack. But I wouldn’t say Switzer was a genuine success in the pros.

  31. centexhorn says: Jun 1, 2011 1:33 PM

    Paul Rhoads.

  32. myballsmyrules says: Jun 1, 2011 1:45 PM


    Yes, my alma mater.

    I did see 30 on 30 and nowhere did I see Barry admit to giving Marcus anything, and I certainly didn’t see anybody admit to giving his momma a trailer.

    But, thank Jimmy? PUHLEASE
    Barry had that overrated Steelers team’s umber and he knew how to keep that team from feeling content. Hell, O’Donnell owed Mr. Switzer a 12 pack just for the honor of meeting him.
    He only needed one season to prove his genius, and then he told Jerry to kiss his backside and rode off into retirement like a legend.
    Better put them back on your radar, cause they are gonna roll to the championship game this year. Question is, who wants to be the fool to step in the way of the Boomer Schooner in the title game?

  33. myballsmyrules says: Jun 1, 2011 2:05 PM

    Question is, who wants to be the fool to step in the way of the Boomer Schooner in the title game?


    Well, we know it won’t be THEE OSU. LMAO

    Sorry, couldn’t resist

  34. dutchman1350 says: Jun 1, 2011 2:15 PM

    Sgt. Schultz, or Mister Magoo

  35. edgy says: Jun 1, 2011 2:16 PM

    myballsmyrules says:


    Have to agree with Deb because with the exception of Mr. Sweaty Palms, that was Jimmy’s team and they probably would have won 4 in a row because he wouldn’t have put up with the crap the eventually tore the team apart.

  36. Deb says: Jun 1, 2011 3:01 PM

    @myballsmyrules …

    I’m a Mizzou grad, which is why I enjoyed our last meeting :)

    edgy’s right about the ‘boys. Have always thought that team could have gone four in a row if not for Jerry’s spat with Jimmy. (edgy, who is Mr. Sweaty Palms?) Switzer just ran too loose a ship.

    The Steelers were underdogs but would have won that game if not for those two INTs. It wasn’t as simple as O’Donnell throwing into empty space (though he did) or Brown being opportunistic (though he was). We had a player injured and the substitute receiver ran the wrong route. But still, it’s the QB’s responsibility to assess the field before letting go of the ball. And Brown did a great job of reading the play.

    Switzer was one of the colorful figures in college ball, but Oklahoma was not a clean program under his leadership. I haven’t heard Barry or the school issue any denials regarding that 30 on 30 about Dupree … have you?

    BTW … has Barry been waving any guns in airports lately? :)

  37. myballsmyrules says: Jun 1, 2011 3:20 PM

    You don’t waste your time denying something that never happened.

    I contend the Sooner program WAS clean.
    Tell me, What penalties were handed down by the NCAA during Mr. Switzer’s time as head coach at OU?

    Anybody care to share?

    Now, Deb, you know how agressive those TSA screeners “pat” people down.
    Barry just got tired of being “violated” at the airport by Longhorn male screeners and needed protection.

    It’s called self defense hun.

    Now if you keep making excuses for your Steelers losing that Super Bowl, it’s going to be very difficult for me to not ask you to just sit back and look pretty, and let me handle this discussion

  38. Deb says: Jun 2, 2011 12:06 AM

    I’m not trying to make excuses for losing that Super Bowl. The Cowboys were the better team going into that game. Didn’t I just say they were one of the finest squads ever to take the turf? I just don’t believe Barry Switzer gets much of the credit for that. In fact, most of the time I forget he even coached that game. However, I have said he’s one of the finest college coaches in history … though a very crafty one.

    I once lived in an area where body searches were the norm, but thanks to my angelic face, it’s not an issue for me with TSA screeners. Barry doesn’t have an angelic face. Barry has the face of a guy who could probably throw a woman a good line … but she’d be a fool to believe it.

  39. edgy says: Jun 2, 2011 2:15 AM

    Deb, that was their center, Donaldson, who took over after Stepo left via free agency for the Oilers. Donaldson was famous for drenching the ball with his sweat. He retired after he got his Super Bowl ring but he made an impression.

    BTW, Oklahoma did get probation courtesy of Mr. Switzer and it’s why he resigned. Thought you might want to let him know that. :)

    SI article on the “clean” program that Switzer ran at Oklahoma.

  40. Deb says: Jun 2, 2011 10:17 AM

    Oooh, thanks edgy!!!

  41. waynefontes says: Jun 3, 2011 10:52 AM

    As long as OSU isn’t crushed like SMU by the NCAA, Urban Meyer will be the coach of the Buckeyes in the not so distant future.

    And while I’m not an Oklahoma Sooner or Dallas Cowboy fan, I’ve always admired Barry Switzer.

  42. shemmy2011 says: Jun 6, 2011 11:56 PM

    Obviously Rich Rodriquez. Think about it, He has a proven record of making Michigan lose and frankly that is all they really care about in Buckeyeland. Besides, he may have been a little dirty, but not enough to get caught. And what Ohio needs is someone who wont get caught.

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