CoachingSearch.com's Top 8 assistants on the verge of landing head coaching jobs
Posted by: Pete Roussel on Tuesday September 24, 2013
Presenting CoachingSearch.com’s Top 8 assistants on the verge of landing head coaching jobs…
Last off-season, 15 of 31 head coaching jobs were filled by assistant coaches.
It will be interesting to see how the coaching transactions will take shape after the 2013 season.
Make sure you follow @CoachingSearch on twitter for all the latest coaching transactions and coaching search news.
Kirby Smart: Smart is earning $1.15 million this year and will make $1.35 million in each of the next two years, thanks to a contract revision last April. For those that believe Alabama’s historical defensive success is a by-product of just Nick Saban, that’s far from the truth. Smart has an extraordinary ability to lead a defense, a defensive staff, and to do so while having fun. Because of his salary, Smart can be very selective about jobs. Remember, the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else in the coaching profession. There’s something about coaching at Alabama, in the SEC, and winning championships.
Frank Wilson: When I think of Frank Wilson, I think of Mike Tomlin, who spent only one year as a coordinator before landing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coaching job. Both coaches are pure leaders with engaging personalities. Wilson has coached under Ed Orgeron, Lane Kiffin, Larry Fedora, and Hugh Freeze, who offered Wilson the offensive coordinator job at Ole Miss, but Wilson decided to stay at LSU. Wilson actually interviewed for the head coaching job at Ole Miss before Freeze landed the job. There’s a reason why Les Miles is paying Wilson $600,000 to serve as the running backs / recruiting coordinator / associate head coach: He’s the single most valuable coach in the country that you want coordinating (literally) your recruiting efforts. As Tony Barnhart said this morning on The Tim Brando Show, “What team in America has guys like Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard as their two, three, and four running backs?” That’s easy – a group coached by Frank Wilson.
Justin Wilcox: Wilcox (36) has coached under Jeff Tedford, Chris Petersen, Derek Dooley, and Steve Sarkisian. In his four seasons coordinating the defense at Boise State, the Broncos were 49-4. In addition, players really enjoy the culture Wilcox creates and assistant coaches particularly like working with him. If the Huskies stay hot down the stretch, as many expect, Wilcox will gain momentum.
Doug Nussmeier: Nussmeier (42) has coached under Nick Saban, Steve Sarkisian, Pat Hill – three coaches that clearly have the blueprint for success. In addition to his playing career in the NFL, Nussmeier also spent two seasons coaching in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams. Not only did ‘Nuss’ develop Washington quarterback Keith Price to a phenomenal sophomore season, but his current quarterback AJ McCarron has played as any quarterback in college football over the last 17 games. It doesn’t hurt to have a national championship on the resume, either.
Pat Narduzzi: Narduzzi (47) has coached under Mark Dantonio since 2004 at Cincinnati and Michigan State. His defenses have been one of the most consistent in all of America. In the past two seasons, only Michigan State and Alabama have ranked in the Top 15 in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense. In March, Dantonio rewarded Narduzzi with the title of assistant head coach.
Scott Frost: Frost spent four years under Chip Kelly as the wide receivers coach before receiving a promotion to offensive coordinator this season. He is calling the plays for first-year head coach Mark Helfrich, but thus far, the Ducks have been utterly impressive. Frost is only 38, but one has to wonder if Kliff Kingsbury’s success at his alma mater doesn’t help Frost’s chances of landing an interview at Nebraska if that job were to open. If the Nebraska job doesn’t open, expect Frost to stick around Eugene.
Chad Morris: Morris interviewed for the NC State and South Florida jobs a year ago. As long as Clemson keeps winning, Morris will receive plenty of attention late in the season, though his $1.3 million salary could place him out of certain mid-level jobs. Morris’ roots in the state of Texas could make him a strong fit for jobs in the Lone Star state.
DJ Durkin: Durkin has coached under Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, and Will Muschamp. He has experienced terrific success as a special teams coordinator, which is the only position for a coach to speak to the entire team other than as the head coach. In the off-season, Muschamp promoted Durkin the defensive coordinator. If the Gators’ defensive success continues throughout the year, Durkin may have enough momentum to attract an athletic director with an opening. It would be worth it considering Durkin’s success on the field, as a recruiter, and the blueprints he’s acquired.
Others: Mark Snyder, Chuck Martin, Tim Brewster, Shawn Watson, Eddie Gran