The upstart Alliance of American Football is putting together its teams and Steve Spurrier and Neuheisel are the two coaches first to reportedly be using the league to return to coaching. That begs the question; who will be the next former college football coach to decide this is the best opportunity to return to coaching?
A previous list of potential targets for the league published by The Sporting News listed a handful of coaches that were more closely aligned with NFL experience, with Spurrier and Neuheisel each brought to the table. Having coaches with some level of pro coaching experience makes sense for a league trying to be a professional alternative or stepping stone to the NFL (or if things pan out, a replacement option for college football).
One coach who would seem to be a more natural fit in this environment than where he currently is would be Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards. But he’s moving forward with the Sun Devils in his return to coaching, and we’ll see how that all goes. Any handful of former college head coaches would make interesting candidates if not for the reasons for their change in job status at their respective schools; Art Briles, Rich Rogriguez, and Hugh Freeze.
Another former UCLA head coach could make for an interesting name to consider as well. Jim Mora, who has been busy saying things about Josh Rosen leading up to the NFL Draft, brings NFL coaching experience to the table just like Neuheisel and Spurrier.
Another name that could be one to watch might just be former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. Bielema has been working on behalf of the New England Patriots on the NFL Draft circuit this offseason. Bielema will more than likely get back into coaching in a short period of time, but he may be able to afford to hold out for a more attractive opportunity. Plus, working for Bill Belichick is not a bad way to spend a year between jobs.
Top coordinators and assistants at some of the top power programs like Alabama and Ohio State should be full of potential targets for the Alliance of American Football League, but none of the head coaching jobs in the makeshift league would seem to offer much that those top-paying coordinator jobs in the power conferences already provide.
So keep your eye out for the next coaching hire headline connected to this new football league. It just might be a familiar name for college football fans.