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Oracle Insight: Potential new hires for USF

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 08:12

Though the firing of coach Skip Holtz may have been met with celebration from a large part of the USF fan base, one question remains: “What’s next?”

The USF football program is in a situation similar to that of three seasons ago — saying goodbye to a head coach and searching for a new one.

In searching for a new leader, two questions must be asked: “Who wants to coach at this school?” and “Who does the school want to coach for them?”

USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard responded to the first of those questions at a press conference Sunday, he said the school would be attractive to any potential new hire.

“This program is going to attract people across the country,” he said. “They know what kind of job this is, what kind of facilities we have, we play in probably the best stadium in the NFL, we’re in the 14th largest media market in the country and we’re in a very rich talent level for players.”

But even if USF is considered a desirable destination for a coach looking for a long-term stop  — given the fact that the fan base likely could not handle another short and bumpy coaching tenure — the question remains as to whom the school will target.

The Oracle looks at potential candidates that could be considered.


Houston Nutt
If the football team is looking to move away from hiring new coaches or coaches that have found success in lower tier conferences, Nutt may be one of its better options.

According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Nutt is “very interested” in the open coaching job, and he may be the coach the team is looking for.

The 55-year-old has experience coaching big conference teams at Ole Miss and Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference. He earned three division titles during his tenure at Arkansas, but was also fired from Ole Miss after losing a record 12-straight conference games — a statistic that already seems to be problematic for USF.


Willie Taggart
USF may look to go down the same path as it did with Holtz, hiring a coach who has found success at the mid-major level.

Following Holtz’s firing, Taggart’s name came up as a potential hire, as the former Manatee High School quarterback could find a chance to return home. Taggart guided Western Kentucky from a 2-10 record in his first season to consecutive seven-win seasons.


Gene Chizik
Though Chizik could be a long shot, given that he is less than three years removed from a BCS national championship and is an established coaching candidate with success in the Southeastern Conference,
landing a coach like the 50-year-old Tarpon Springs native could be the long term answer at USF.

Despite amassing records of 8-5, 14-0 and 8-5 in his first three seasons with Auburn, a 3-9 record in his final year ushered Chizik out. If the football team is looking to splurge on a potential homerun hire, Chizik may be the man.

 

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