With the coaching carousel spinning wildly out of control down south in the SEC, the Pac 12 coaching vacancies have been rather tame by comparison. Both the Cal Bears and Colorado Buffaloes are looking for their next head coach, but neither seems close to making a big splash like the Arkansas Razorbacks did with their hire of Bret Bielema yesterday. So how are the coaching searches going?
For Cal, the search continues at a steady pace. They have zeroed in on the coaches they are targeting, reportedly meeting with and interviewing Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Sonny Dykes and San Jose State Spartans head coach Mike MacIntyre over the weekend. The Bears had also talked with former Kent State Golden Flashes head coach Darrell Hazell, but he has since taken the open position with the Purdue Boilermakers.
Dykes is likely to be a hot name for open coaching jobs this offseason, as he guided the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record and the No. 1 rated offense in the country. He may be ready to move on as well after the athletic director for Louisiana Tech caused the team to miss out on going to a bowl game through a major screw-up on his part. That might be the push Dykes needs to make a return to the Pac 12, where he was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Wildcats from 2007-2009.
MacIntyre has also been a name that’s been attached to a number of openings. He has turned the San Jose State program around in just a few short years, and his connection to the Bay Area along with his work in the NFL would make for an easy transition recruiting-wise. His defensive background would make for a nice change-of-pace from the offense-leaning tenure of Jeff Tedford, as well.
For Colorado, the search is no closer to finding a new head coach, though for much more disappointing reasons. The Buffs fired Jon Embree and said that they had a replacement candidate in mind already who was a current FBS head coach. That candidate now seems to be Butch Jones, currently with the Cincinnati Bearcats. Jones has been given a firm offer from CU, but he hasn’t given them an answer yet as he waffles between taking the Colorado gig, staying at Cincinnati or putting his name in for one of the myriad of new openings that have come available in the last few days.
As a Midwest guy, Jones seems like a strong candidate to take the opening left by Bielema with the Rose Bowl bound Wisconsin Badgers. He has also been rumored to be connected with the FIU Golden Panthers, who let go of their coach this morning because the AD wanted to offer the job to his old friend Jones. Both of those programs (especially Wisconsin) are likely more appealing at the moment than Colorado, which has admitted the program is under-funded, under-supported and under an unreasonable amount of expectations.
Colorado is likely to pull its offer to Jones shortly, as they want to minimize the embarrassment of having the job sit out there for a long period as Jones looks for other, more appealing options. The offer likely would have been pulled already, but the Buffs don’t seem to have a viable Plan B in the wings.
With potential candidates like Dan Mullen, Jim Grobe, Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Anderson all saying “no thanks” to the job, Colorado is scrambling. According to reports, the Buffs are interested in talking to MacIntyre and Fresno State Bulldogs head coach Tim DeRuyter, along with one other possible candidate whom they hadn’t considered before Tuesday. In short, they’re getting desperate.
So while the SEC stole the coaching headlines yesterday, the Pac 12 schools looking for new leading men continue on. One with deliberate intention and the other in a panicked frenzy. For now, the coaching carousel continues to spin and where it will stop, nobody knows.