The USC coaching search conversation is sure to draw in many notable names until USC locks in on coach to take over the program. The topic was discussed during a segment on ESPN College GameDay, which was to be expected as this was the show’s first opportunity to review the future of USC following this week’s termination of Steve Sarkisian‘s contract. Somehow, the entire segment managed to play out without resorting to mentioning Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, but there were two names from the NFL coaching ranks mentioned by the analysts; Jeff Fisher and Mike Tomlin.
Fisher’s name should come as little surprise. The California native played high school football in Los Angeles and college ball for the Trojans. His entire coaching career ha splayed out in the NFL, starting with the Chicago Bears in 1985 and continuing to this day as a head coach of the St. Louis Rams after serving as an assistant and later a head coach with the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994 through 2010. Lee Corso mentioned Fisher as a good fit for the Trojans, and this is not the first time the former Trojan defensive back has had his name tied in as a candidate for the job. Fisher’s lack of college coaching experience may be a bit of a concern, because recruiting can be a grind especially for a coach that has never had to experience it. But Fisher seems to be the kind of level-headed coach with a winning pedigree that would serve USC well. Of course, Fisher is looking to turn things around with the Rams and he has the team playing some competitive football.
Tomlin’s name felt like a reach as a candidate for the USC job. Desmond Howard suggested Tomlin brings the mental toughness the USC program needs, and that may be true. It may be a wise decision for USC to think outside the USC family for its next head coach, but Tomlin might be a bit too far outside of the box for the Trojans. Unlike Fisher, Tomlin has zero ties to the USC program, and the farthest west Tomlin has taken any type of coaching gig was with the Minnesota Vikings. The Virginia native played college football at William & Mary and has college coaching experience that Fisher lacks. Tomlin was an assistant coach with VMI, Memphis, Arkansas State and Cincinnati before landing a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive back coach under Tony Dungy. Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007, during which time he has coached the storied NFL franchise to a Super Bowl championship and a second AFC title. Tomlin also has one of the best jobs in the NFL, as the Steelers are an incredibly well-respected and loyal franchise.
Expect more big name coaches to have their names mentioned, whether realistic or not for USC. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has already been tied in as well.