Over the next few days and weeks, there are certain to be several different coaching names mentioned to be Georgia Tech’s next head coach. Robert and Kieffer have already profiled several potential targets: Jamey Chadwell, Tyson Helton, Dan Mullen, Bill Clark, Sean Lewis, and others. This article will serve to just get the FTRS staff’s collective thoughts about the coaching candidates, so let’s get to it.
The “Tech Guys”
Andrew: I think we need to get away from the idea of a “Tech Guy”. If the only reason they are being talked about is the Tech connection, then maybe it’s not going to be a good hire.
Carter: Having tunnel vision for a “Tech man” would disqualify a large number of quality candidates. But Georgia Tech loves to do that, so buckle up.
Logan: I like having a “Tech Guy” from the sense that it would be nice to have someone who cares about the program... but if the candidate’s main qualification is that they once went to Georgia Tech then I think we are missing the bigger picture.
Penn State Offensive Analyst Ken Whisenhunt
Ben: No, for all the same reasons I didn’t want him a few years ago. He has very little experience in college football. As a head coach, his success has been less than stellar.
Andrew: No, he’s barely worked in the college game.
Carter: It is 2018 and Ken Whisenhunt is the top candidate to be the head football coach at Georgia Tech. It is 2022 and Ken Whisenhunt is the top candidate to be the head football coach at Georgia Tech. It is 2045 and Ken Whisenhunt is the top candidate to be the head football coach at Georgia Tech.
Robert: ha ha ha ha
Nishant: If we want to know how a Whisenhunt tenure might have gone, we have a sample size of one random old-time NFL head coach who was plucked off the street to coach a college team in a blindly nepotistic hire. So let’s go see how he’s doi—aaand Herm Edwards got fired after torpedoing his entire program. Swell. Ken’s a fine person and a respected alum, but hire someone else please.
Georgia Tech Interim Head Coach Brent Key
Ben: Brent Key is 2-0 as the interim coach, and he is certainly making a name for himself as a candidate. I stand by that if he manages to get this team to a bowl game (which is looking more and more likely with each passing game), he will warrant an interview. But his offensive lines have not been good. For me to feel better about Key as a potential hire, I will need to continue to see development in all phases of the game.
Andrew: No, the OL has been atrocious even into year 4.
Carter: I had a different paragraph here when we drafted this immediately after Geoff Collins was fired. Key has won over a lot of hearts and minds with Georgia Tech faithful after starting out 2-0, but barring a miraculous run (and I’m talking a true feat of coaching here, like going 6-2 at worst) I’m happier to wipe the slate clean and start over heading into 2023. It seems pretty clear Collins was holding the team and the rest of the staff back, but Georgia Tech shouldn’t settle for simply “better than Geoff Collins”.
Robert: No, besides the failures of offensive line development at GT, his tenure at UCF as offensive coordinator is perhaps worse.
Jake: He won the press conference today. I don’t think he has enough to show with the line, but I would like to see what he does with the team in transition and, if it is good, at least give the courtesy of an interview.
Logan: I’m not opposed, but I do wonder how much of this turn around is him specifically compared to all of the staff being freer to manage as they please. We will see if things change down the line but at the moment it’s a no even though he would be in the running.
Nishant: It’s too early to tell, but I’m more intrigued than I ever expected to be. Brent has made some missteps—the punt from Duke’s 36 late in the first half comes to mind—and his offensive lines simply haven’t been good. On the other hand, it’s clear that the team is responding really well to his style of leadership, they’re playing in a fundamentally sound way that we haven’t seen from them in the past three years, and a first-time head coach can be forgiven for a few blunders. He isn’t my top choice on paper, but if he can get this team to 6-7 wins and a bowl berth, I think he deserves to be interviewed as a serious candidate. And if he’s willing to take a salary that would allow him to put money toward better coordinators and position coaches, that’s a major bonus.
Texas Running Backs Coach Tashard Choice
Ben: Maybe in a few years, but I don’t think Choice’s first head coaching job should be at Georgia Tech. Right now, Tech needs someone who can build the program up.
Andrew: No, no experience as a HC.
Carter: Tech shouldn’t consider Choice and Choice should decline if he was offered. (He did leave the staff this past offseason so I think he’d be wise enough to decline.) He should cut his teeth elsewhere.
Robert: If he wasn’t a beloved alum, would his name come up? If not, then no.
Jake: I think he’s got the right stuff to make him a good fit potentially, but would need to see some coordinator or head coaching experience to see more.
Logan: Maybe someday, but Choice doesn’t have enough experience yet. This would be purely a flash hire, something to make the headlines and garner interest. I think we’ve had enough of that for the time being.
Nishant: I wouldn’t mind Tashard coming home someday. But he’s not the guy to lead this program in 2023.
Baltimore Ravens Tight Ends Coach George Godsey
Ben: He wouldn’t be considered if he wasn’t a former player, so he shouldn’t be considered at all.
Andrew: No, has barely been more than a position coach and no HC experience.
Carter: Nostalgia blindness striking the Georgia Tech fanbase again. Stop it. Get help.
Robert: Say it again for the folks in the back, if he wasn’t a beloved alum, would his name come up? If not, then no.
Logan: This is nostalgia bait. no.
Nishant: No thank you.
Alabama Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach Bill O’Brien
Ben: Of the Tech guys, this is the only one I would be kind of okay with, but he is still very low on my list. I really appreciate and respect what he did at Penn State, but that was 10 years ago, and I’m not particularly thrilled with what he’s done since then.
Andrew: No, too NFL and this year’s Alabama offense has regressed compared to previous ones.
Carter: Is this about his time at Penn State? O’Brien inherited a bad situation but a good team, didn’t improve things there, and bolted to the NFL as soon as he could. Ask Alabama fans how they like his offenses. Can we be done with this category?
Robert: A friend and I created an algorithm this summer using coaching connections, on-field performance data, and a few personal attributes to try and project which coordinators are the most likely to get head coaching jobs (not the most likely to be good head coaches) in the next cycle. The answer the computer spit out to us based on the past few seasons of data was Bill O’Brien and Jeff Grimes (the OC at Baylor). I understand that his resume and experience make him a “high-floor” kind of hire. That said, I’m not interested in the least. it feels stale and uninspired.
Logan: If you’re a Bama fan then you know why this is a bad decision. Hard pass.
Nishant: There are much worse potential hires out there, but like Robert said, it would just feel so stale.
Former and Sitting Power 5 Head Coaches
Former Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost
Ben: Before I read all the message board rumors around Frost, I was very intrigued. At this point, I would need to see a very extensive background search done to make sure none of those rumors are true. And even then, there are several coaches I would rather hire.
Andrew: No, there are some not very good things coming out of Nebraska about his time there. Also, has a small body of work and it’s not exciting.
Carter: I know Frost has intrigued a number of people (including some who write for this very website), but he’s never been high on my list. I’d have liked to have seen what he’d have done at UCF had he stayed there, but you can’t rewrite history. Outside of one undefeated season, there ain’t a lot there.
Robert: No, he doesn’t have the recent performance or personal integrity to make him a legitimate option.
Jake: He never got over the hump in Lincoln, and it seems like his interests and priorities have been elsewhere.
Logan: Hahaha... F*$k no
Nishant: There’s enough smoke around Frost’s tenure in the vein of what Ben mentioned to erase any interest I would have had. But regardless of how true it is, a big red flag in my book is seeing how good Adrian Martinez has looked at Kansas State this year after four fairly stagnant years at Nebraska. It seems clear that Frost wasn’t capable of bringing out Martinez’s potential, so why should we think he can develop any future quarterback?
Former Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen
Ben: I think Dan Mullen could be a very interesting hire for Georgia Tech. He built Mississippi State into a pretty good program during his time there. He developed Dak Prescott and Kyle Trask at quarterback. He got fired from Florida for “not recruiting well,” and he was still bringing in Top 20 classes. Yeah, I’d be willing to give him a shot.
Andrew: Yes, He had a lot of success at Miss St, which is a hard place to win. Might be able to get him on the cheap, due to him being out of the business.
Carter: I’ll be honest, my initial thought was “no way”. But when I thought about it I realized I didn’t have a good reason why. When the very first CFP rankings were released, Mullen’s Mississippi State team was at the very top — a historical footnote, sure, but one that can’t ever be taken away. His teams there were good, and his teams at Florida were also good, even if they weren’t always better than Georgia. My one concern is rumblings about him supposedly being difficult to work with. But, I mean, the results speak for themselves. I’d be okay with it.
Robert: My first conditional yes! He has an incredible resume of bringing performance improvement as an offensive coordinator and head coach. If he expresses a commitment to work towards institutional alignment within the GTAA and work to build out infrastructure in line with the new NIL world, I’d be very high on him.
Jake: I think Florida lives in a similar neighborhood to us, and their lack of satisfaction with Dan Mullen reflects more on them than it does his tenure. I would be intrigued, given he knew the situation he was walking into.
Logan: I... I dunno I just don’t think we could afford him. He seems like a good candidate but I don’t think he would be interested.
Nishant: I’m on board. A guy who’s succeeded in a uniquely tough environment (Mississippi State) and has a track record of QB development sounds great. My only hang-up is that it’s weird that he’s taken two straight years off from head coaching, because there have to be teams out there that would’ve been interested. Maybe he just wanted a break—no doubt it’s a stressful job—but maybe he’s poisoned the well with too many would-be assistant coaches.
(Soon-to-be) Former Auburn Head Coach Bryan Harsin
Ben: Absolutely not. I recently read an article about Harsin that scared me out of ever wanting to hire him. He doesn’t take recruiting seriously at all at Auburn. Further, his experience comes from maintaining Boise State, which I think anyone with a pulse could do.
Andrew: No, I doubt he stays in the South.
Carter: Dude’s still anti-vax, right? Into the trash can.
Robert: Noooope. Plateaued things at Boise before making things actively worse at Auburn.
Nishant: I do think he’s been kneecapped to some extent by the nightmare furnace that is Auburn’s athletic department and booster corps. That said: lol no
Kansas Head Coach Lance Leipold
Ben: I think there’s no chance in hell Leipold leaves Kansas for Georgia Tech, but if he does, I would absolutely love it.
Andrew: Yes, and I would have taken a flier on him when we hired Geoff. I doubt he leaves Kansas.
Carter: Leipold was my third round pick in our mock draft. You can read what I said about him there, but the short version is: yeah, why not?
Robert: Yes, but he would never, given his new contract at Kansas and potential better options with Nebraska.
Jake: Absolutely, but I don’t think it happens.
Logan: This would probably be my top candidate if I had any belief that he would agree to it. Man knows how to turn a program around.
Nishant: Yes. But if he chooses to leave Kansas, he’ll have better offers.
Former Texas Head Coach Tom Herman
Ben: I’m not opposed. Herman has been out of college football, but I think he could still find some success.
Andrew: Maybe? I don’t blame his Texas tenure on him, that place is a dumpster fire.
Carter: I’m not opposed to it, I guess. He’s a few spots down my list, though.
Robert: His net impact numbers at Texas are actually quite good, even though they ran him out of town. Beyond that, he had positive impact at Iowa State, Ohio State, and Houston. If he’s interested, he knows how to build an offense and would be worth a conversation.
Jake: I would say he seems to have gotten an unfair shake at Texas, so sure, but, honestly, I don’t even know what he’s been up to the last two years
Logan: No. I get the unfair perception around Herman, but I don’t know that I would want him at the head of my program given how bad things got at Texas.
Nishant: Maybe. I kinda have him in the same mental bin as Mullen, and of the two, I think Mullen would be a better fit. But I do have a soft spot for Herman given what his team did to UGA in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago.
Wake Forest Head Coach Dave Clawson
Ben: I think he has zero reason to take this job, but if he’s remotely interested, you make him say no before you talk to anyone else.
Carter: If he’s willing to listen, you call him.
Robert: It would be a coup; Wake will offer him a significant raise, likely out of our price range, before letting him walk.
Jake: This would be a heck of a get. A proven ACC success story.
Logan: Do we really think these people will take the job? Not only do I not think he leaves, I don’t think we can afford him if he does.
Nishant: Sure, but the sad truth is that we can’t outbid Wake Forest for him. What a world.
Group of 5 Head Coaches
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Jamey Chadwell
Ben: Yes, please. Jamey Chadwell is everything I could want in a head coach. He’s had success implementing a scheme and developing players. That (especially the latter) are precisely what Tech needs.
Andrew: Yes, this is my #1 choice. He has HC experience at multiple stops and was successful at all of them. Runs a unique offense and has shown an ability to identify, recruit and develop players.
Carter: I was an absolute yes, and then I saw his Coastal team in person earlier this season. Now I’m even more of a yes. Get on the horn and call that dude ASAP.
Robert: Let’s go. The development and deployment pieces are so key for Georgia Tech’s next coach. If there are surface-level culture fit issues between him and GT decision-makers, as Steven Godfrey has hinted, I dearly hope that those can be put aside to make a good objective decision about his candidacy.
Jake: Yep. See Robert and Kieffer’s article, they said it as well as anyone could.
Logan: Definitely a top option. Not my favorite but in the top 3.
Nishant: Yes please. It’s a toss-up between him and Bill Clark for my top choice, but he’d be the more fun pick.
Western Kentucky Head Coach Tyson Helton
Ben: I’m intrigued but a little more hesitant on Helton. He doesn’t have a ton of experience as a head coach, but I wouldn’t be mad.
Andrew: I’m interested. Has had success as a HC and an OC.
Carter: He’s done things. He’s not my #1, #2, or #3, but he’s on the list.
Robert: He’s a tier 2 option for me, definitely behind Chadwell and Clark, but a solid resume. The 2022 Western Kentucky team is performing at a level where he will get some looks if they keep it up.
Jake: I am not so sure on this. Seems to have less of a track record, and his peaks aren’t as high as Chadwell’s.
Logan: I like him as a darkhorse, but he wouldn’t be my top choice.
Nishant: I wouldn’t be mad about Helton. Kinda agree with Jake’s take, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t do well at Tech. It’d certainly make any upcoming games between Tech and Southern more fun, though it doesn’t look like that matchup is happening again soon.
UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn
Ben: He has no reason to leave UCF for Georgia Tech. The only chance Tech had was the promise of playing in a P5 conference, but UCF is fixing to join the Big 12, so that’s a no-go.
Andrew: Yes, but I doubt he has the interest.
Robert: He hasn’t had a good passing game in about eight years. I’m not very interested.
Carter: Another of my draft picks! Malzahn’s history speaks for itself and Tech could do far worse. The biggest problem is, well, he just beat Tech a couple weeks ago and I’m not sure it’s not a step down for him, currently.
Jake: I don’t think his team looked all that good beating Tech last weekend, not sure that’s exactly promising.
Logan: No... I don’t really think he’s led a competitive program since 2017. He has talent but I question how much motivation he has and what he can deliver at a school like Georgia Tech.
Nishant: I was banging the drum for Gus in 2018. It was a silly situation where Auburn’s boosters were looking to push him out, potentially allowing Tech to get him for cheap, and the bonus was that Gus would be able to take full advantage of the option personnel that Paul Johnson was leaving behind. By now, though, the roster has largely turned over, and Gus is about to be a Power 5 coach again at his current job. He won’t be interested and Tech shouldn’t be either.
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor
Ben: I’m intrigued by Traylor, but I don’t think he will have much interest. I would love to have that Texas connection.
Andrew: Maybe? I think he is a Texas guy and might struggle outside of the state.
Carter: Meep meep and all that, but there are a lot of guys higher on the list. Wouldn’t hate it, though.
Robert: I think he’s an excellent coach, but his re-worked contract and deep ties in Texas make me think it’s a non-starter.
Jake: I get Fuente-out-of-Texas vibes. Pass.
Logan: I like what he’s done at UTSA, but I have no idea if he can handle recruiting at GT the same way he does at UTSA. I wouldn’t be upset if it happens but not one of my top picks.
Nishant: I don’t know a ton about him beyond his success at UTSA. He’s done great work there, but I’d be wary about getting a guy who has no ties to the Southeast. Tech has historically signed very few guys out of Texas, and even if he improves on that, attrition rates tend to be very high for players who aren’t from Georgia and the neighboring states.
Appalachian State Head Coach Shawn Clark
Ben: Ehh, his name doesn’t inspire me too much.
Andrew: Maybe, but I’m a little leery of App St coaches that have struggled and Clark is an App St lifer.
Carter: I wanted the App State coach last time around (didn’t happen, maybe for the best). Clark played there and has been coaching there, continuously, since 2016 — across three different regimes. They’re still doing great up in Boone. At 47, I don’t know I’d say he’s a lifer there just yet. Could be worth a shot.
Robert: The Texas A&M win aside, the current App State team isn’t that good, and Clark hasn’t elevated things since Satterfield left. We need someone who can build, not maintain.
Logan: As great as a story as App State has had this year, I don’t think he would fit with what Georgia Tech needs.
Nishant: I wouldn’t hate it. My counter to Robert’s point is that the Sun Belt as a whole has become significantly more competitive over the past 2-3 years, and yet Clark has managed to keep them near the top of the ranks. They’ve been up and down this year, but if they get to 9 or so wins, I think he’ll still be worth considering.
Kent State Head Coach Sean Lewis
Ben: I think he’s probably a more mid-tier candidate for me, but I think Lewis could be a good hire if he can bring a good DC.
Andrew: Maybe, I’ve seen his name tossed around a lot as a Big 10 coach in waiting. Might be worth a phone call.
Carter: He put the fear of god in Georgia for like ten minutes this season. With the way Georgia has been, that should be a major plus for anyone.
Robert: I really like Lewis, although his defenses have mostly been awful. He’d be a second tier option for me.
Jake: The MAC is a tough place to win consistently, and I think his program is close to being consistent there. I would be interested.
Logan: Depends on the contract. I kind of like him, but I wouldn’t spend a bunch of extra money to get him to sign on.
Nishant: Lewis is one of a few guys where I’d like to see a bit more on-field success before getting fully on board, but more on-field success would probably also catch the eyes of other programs with deeper pockets. And considering the Wisconsin job is open now...
East Carolina Head Coach Mike Houston
Ben: Mike Houston would be a fun hire. I don’t know much about what he did before James Madison, but he had a lot of success there and has been successful at ECU.
Andrew: Yes. He almost won a national title at Lenoir-Rhyne, was successful at the Citadel, won a title at JMU and he has shown success at ECU. My favorite thing about him is that he has shown a willingness to be scheme flexible and look to run what gives him the best chance for success at a given school.
Carter: Houston has had a lot of success at several schools, but ECU has been his least successful so far. I’m not totally against it but he wouldn’t be my first call.
Robert: I’m mildly interested. He took over a dumpster fire situation (which is what he would take over at GT!) and has made modest improvements, for sure. He’s a tier 3 option for me and definitely worth a conversation.
Jake: Consistent examples of elevating programs. I like Houston, and I think he would be worth a look.
Logan: I love this option. He would probably be in the 2 or 3 spot depending on the day (Chadwell being the other option). He has revitalized the ECU program in a way you wouldn’t believe to be possible. His coaching has been on point and he has done great things with the talent he has gotten. Big fan of this choice.
Nishant: Houston was my first-round pick in our mock draft. There’s a lot to like here with his track record at the FCS level, and as Andrew said, it’s cool that he’s been willing to adapt his schemes to fit the situations he’s entering. My caveat at the time was that I wanted to see his 2022 East Carolina team continue showing improvement from last year, when they went 7-5. They’re 3-3 with losses to Navy and Tulane, so early indications aren’t too great, but if they can knock off Cincinnati or UCF down the stretch and claw their way to eight wins, I’d still be very interested.
Marshall Head Coach Charles Huff
Ben: He’s been around some successful programs and seems to be having some success at Marshall. I don’t know that he’s done enough for me to say that I absolutely want him.
Andrew: Maybe? I don’t know a lot about him, but he’s having some success at Marshall.
Carter: This space could have said “Marshall Head Coach [insert name here]” and I would have responded, “sure, that’s Marshall’s head coach.” He is currently 9-8. Not enough data for me.
Robert: The Notre Dame win was awesome, but his net impact metrics so far are about break even. I’d like to see another year or two of development from him first.
Jake: I think Marshall is trending the right way. This year in the Sun Belt East should be a great test the rest of the way.
Logan: ... Meh.
Nishant: If this were a year or two down the road, I think Huff would be a terrific candidate, as I have a feeling he’ll be very successful at Marshall. As things stand, unless he leads Marshall to 10-11 wins this year (which would essentially require winning out), it’s hard for me to set aside the risk of hiring a guy who’ll have only two years of HC experience. But I wouldn’t necessarily be mad if he ends up being the pick.
South Alabama Head Coach Kane Wommack
Ben: I don’t know much about him, but I’ve seen him on a lot of lists like these, so maybe there’s something there.
Carter: I think he was a third round pick in our mock draft? I know nothing about him, honestly. South Alabama is in Montgomery, right?
Robert: My net impact metrics love what Wommack has done at South Alabama. He’s posted on-field improvement numbers in the top 20th percentile of all coaches in the last 20 years. I’d be very intrigued by him as a candidate.
Logan: I like what I’ve seen, but USA is not the easiest team to keep track of. If he has a better contract than other candidates then maybe.
Nishant: I have two qualms here. The first is a fair one: like Huff, Wommack is only in his second year as a head coach, so we’re working with a very limited sample size—but also like Huff, I wouldn’t be mad if he was the pick. The second is an unfair one: his dad fielded some remarkably mediocre defenses for a pair of very good Tech teams in 2008 and 2009 that had a significant amount of talent on that side of the ball. Kane isn’t responsible for the schematic sins of his father, of course, but it’s hard for me to shake the connection.
Ben (again): TIL that Kane Wommack is the son of Dave Wommack. I don’t know how I ever put that together. Anyway, the more I’ve thought about this, the more I’m on board with it. I like a lot of what he’s done at USA, and he could potentially be pretty good here. Also, different people may take this different ways, but his current OC is Major Applewhite, so that’s a thing.
The Option Guys
Army Head Coach Jeff Monken
Ben: Monken has had a lot of success at Army, but I have no desire to go back to that style of the option. If he’s willing to adapt his offense, I’d be more inclined to give him a chance.
Andrew: Yes, but it would schism the fan base in a way that might be irreparable. I don’t think he is as married to PJ’s offense as people think. Their OC, Brent Davis, has done some interesting things.
Carter: Monken would be much more flexible on offense than Paul Johnson was. I’d be for it.
Robert: Monken performs pretty well in the net impact metrics, but I don’t think that GT has the leadership and unifying presence in place to sell him to a struggling fanbase. He has also really struggled to field a good defense for several years now.
Jake: I agree about the defensive concerns, but I like how he has opened up the scheme in the past few years. It would certainly be an evolution from CPJ’s flexbone.
Logan: I get why people still like the idea of running the flexbone offense here at Georgia Tech (especially many writers here at FTRS who were during the CPJ era), but I don’t know that it is the right direction to go if we want to get fans more involved with the program. I don’t think Monken would be bad, but its not the direction I would go in.
Nishant: Technically Monken was my second-round pick in the mock, but it was because I was boarding a flight and hadn’t done enough research to have another name in mind. I think he could and would field competitive teams at Tech, but—fairly or not—hiring him would drive a deep wedge into a fanbase that is only now starting to recover from the split at the end of the Paul Johnson era. I don’t think that’s a price worth paying when there are other compelling candidates out there.
Kennesaw State Head Coach Brian Bohannon
Ben: He’s probably a little lower on my list than Monken, but I would have been more interested after 2018.
Andrew: Yes. Deep ties to the state, his OC, Grant Chestnut has shown adaptability and innovation.
Carter: My first round pick in the mock draft. He’s coached at Tech (and recently, not, like, two decades ago), he knows the area, he’s been wildly successful, money’s not going to be an issue. I can’t square the Georgia Tech kingmakers dismissing Bohannon out of hand because he played at Georgia but somehow wanting to poach Georgias RBs coach. The phrase “more dollars than sense” comes to mind.
Robert: They are actively bad this year. I haven’t seen sustained development from Bohannon that makes me think he can adapt the offensive philosophy to the degree necessary to be successful in 2023.
Logan: More so than Monken. Brian Bohannon would make the list because of all his ties within the state. That said he has not showed as much continued success at KSU as I would like. He’s on the list but not far up it.
Nishant: I don’t think I’d want Bohannon at this stage for similar reasons to Monken, and he also has no head coach experience above the FCS level. I like him as a coach but don’t think he should be the next guy for Tech.
Power 5 Coordinators and Position Coaches
Georgia Running Backs Coach Dell McGee
Ben: I don’t love this. McGee is a good recruiter with a lot of in-state connections. But unless Georgia Tech is willing to commit to a salary over $1 million for each coordinator, I don’t see him having much success here. If you’re gonna commit to the Sam Pittman model, you gotta commit financially.
Andrew: No, this is Geoff 2.0
Carter: This would be Georgia Tech trying to follow what Arkansas did with Sam Pittman, and Georgia Tech is not set up to do what Arkansas did with Sam Pittman.
Robert: Recruiting with the biggest budget in the country and one of the biggest names simply doesn’t translate to GT’s situation. If McGee could go show several years of recruiting and on-field success as a coordinator in a situation more similar to GT, call him then.
Logan: Enough with the car salesmen.
Nishant: Carter captured my thoughts succinctly. I see the line of thinking here, and I just don’t see it succeeding with Tech’s current program infrastructure.
Georgia Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
Ben: Monken built Southern Miss up to a successful final season before abruptly leaving to go be the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That sounds a little fishy to me.
Andrew: Maybe? Had success at Southern Miss.
Carter: Ehh, maybe. This is still way below all the guys I said are not high on my list.
Robert: No doubt he has done good work developing Stetson Bennett. I think his sights are set well above GT’s current station though.
Logan: No, he doesn’t seem to have deep ties to his programs. Likely to jump ship at the first opportunity.
Nishant: Agree with Robert. He has a decent track record but I don’t see him being interested.
Oklahoma Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Jeff Lebby
While coaching at Baylor University, Lebby was named by Baylor student Dolores Lozano as one of the coaches that took no action against running back Devin Chafin after she reported being physically assaulted three times by him. After Art Briles was terminated by Baylor, Lebby defended Briles, who is also Lebby’s father-in-law, and sold shirts with #CAB (Coach Art Briles) in a show of continued support.
Andrew: Maybe? I struggle to get behind guys who were around Art Briles and the issues at Baylor.
Carter: I’d prefer none of that Briles stank, thanks.
Robert: Retweet Carter and Ben
Logan: Hard no, less controversy the better.
Nishant: I don’t want anyone who was connected to the Baylor atrocity ever coming close to this program.
Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Al Golden
Ben: That would be interesting, but he didn’t have a ton of success at Temple or Miami, so why would I think he could be successful here?
Andrew: No, can’t trust a guy who was at Temple.
Carter: Who is coming up with these names? Pass.
Logan: No thanks
Nishant: I mean, the guy’s worst loss to Clemson was only by 58 points. That’s at least an upgrade from Geoff, right?
Ohio State Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator Brian Hartline
Ben: I don’t know much about him, but I’m inclined to say no because his experience has been exclusively at Ohio State which is an automated machine at this point.
Andrew: Maybe? No HC experience.
Carter: Hartline was WR3 on my fantasy football team some years ago. That is the extent of what I know about him.
Robert: Not the right kind of experience yet and not in the right context.
Logan: I want him on staff, but not as a head coach.
Nishant: Just as one of the earlier hires was an attempt to recreate Sam Pittman, this would feel like an attempt to recreate Dabo. The same thing applies: it wouldn’t work. (Also I feel like if any Ohio State position coach were to be considered, it would be QB coach Corey Dennis under the Tech Man clause.)
Florida State Offensive Coordinator Alex Atkins
Ben: I think this could be an interesting hire, but I’m not sold enough to make that call right now.
Carter: Ehh, no. Need more concrete data.
Robert: I’m super high on him as a future head coach; the FSU offense is leaps and bounds better this year, and his results as Charlotte OC are similarly striking. It would probably be a hard sell because of his limited experience, but I think he will be excellent as a P5 coach within the next five years, and I would be intrigued if GT got in on the ground floor with him.
Logan: I’m not big on risking a bunch of money on an OC who can’t seem to find ways to win against tough defenses. Maybe he’ll get better in the future, but at the moment it’s a pass from me.
Nishant: I’m filing this one under the growing category of “it’s risky because of his limited experience but I’d be on board.” FSU’s offense has made genuinely impressive strides this year under Atkins’ guidance.
Jackson State University Head Coach Deion Sanders
Ben: Could Primetime be successful? Sure, but I have no reason to think he will be. His success has been because he is out-talenting all the teams he’s playing. Georgia Tech is never going to be able to do that. I want to see what he can do on equal footing before I jump on the bandwagon.
Andrew: Maybe? I can’t help but feel like this is Geoff but flashier.
Carter: Replace a coach who made the program all about himself with a coach who will make the program all about himself? Some memes should stay dreams.
Robert: I understand the fascination with his recruiting at Jackson State and how much publicity he might bring. But would he commit to building from the ground-up for a minimum of five years? It’s hard for me to think that GT is anywhere near his final goal in coaching, and this simply won’t work without major buy-in and groundwork being laid over a significant period of time. The talent advantage he has engineered at Jackson State simply wouldn’t translate the same way at Georgia Tech. Deion is cool and famous, and he would still be completely unable to out-recruit Georgia, amongst others.
Jake: I just wonder how much of the speculation is conjecture, and if there is any interest at all on his end in the role. If it works, though, the payoff could be tremendous.
Logan: See my previous statement about flash hires. I actually don’t mind Deion as a coach and I really like him as a recruiter. That said I worry that Deion will end up being similar to Geoff Collins. If Deion is hired I’ll be ok with it, but I don’t want Deion at this point in time.
Nishant: I feel like this would give us one genuinely fun year, and then everything would go completely sideways.
Former UAB Head Coach Bill Clark
Ben: Apparently he has expressed interest in returning to coaching and his back surgery back in July was a rousing success. If he can bring in a good offensive coordinator (really, the area where he has struggled most), I think this is probably the best hire you can make. He literally rebuilt an extinct program and brought it the best years in its pre-extinction existence. And he brought that kind of success immediately. They won eight games their first year back.
Carter: Clark retired from coaching this past year, after building UAB up, then rebuilding it after the Bryant family (as in Bear Bryant, yes) temporarily shuttered it. If he’s up for it, give him a call, but there’s no guarantee of that.
Robert: I’m extremely high on Bill Clark. He’s my co number 1 with Chadwell, as his building job at UAB was unreal. He was in my top three in 2018, and he’s even higher now. The more recent information indicates he’s very much open to return to coaching. Make him say no.
Jake: I thought he was permanently done with coaching? Seeing him back on coaching lists was somewhat surprising to me. I don’t get the fascination purely for that reason.
Logan: I don’t think he’s gonna come back to try and bring another program back to prominence. No from me dawg.
Nishant: I’d be completely on board. As others have said, it completely depends on Clark’s desire to return to coaching and interest in the job. But if both are present, this would be among the best hires Tech could make.
Former Virginia Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall
Ben: I don’t hate this, but I have no reason to think this would ever happen. He has indicated that he wants to get back into coaching, though, so I guess it could happen. He also isn’t super high on my list. His time at Virginia was so-so with a couple pretty good years.
Carter: I mean, he’d be..... fine? Not in my top five but you could do worse.
Robert: I don’t see him as quite the builder from scratch needed in Atlanta.
Jake: I thought he was out of the business, too. Clearly I am out of the loop on some of these.
Logan: No man... let us not spend big money only to settle for mediocrity.
Nishant: I can’t bring myself to hate this one. Not one of my top choices, but probably a better fit than plenty of other options. I will, however, take this moment to inform those unaware that Bronco named his three children: Cutter, Breaker, and Raeder.
Former Carolina Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule
Ben: Read some of the stuff coming out about him now that the Panthers have fired him about how he was too involved in what the individual coaches were doing, thus not letting them do their jobs. He was also too involved with the social media and what was being put out. Sound like anyone you know?
Carter: Boy, things sure did not work out for him in the NFL, did they? A year or so ago I would have been all for it, but Spencer Hall, as usual, is correct on his take.
Logan: Geoff Collins 2, Electric Boogaloo. No Thanks.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer
Carter: Yeah, Coach Urban Meyer, or CUM, as he would be referred to on the message boards. What’s the worst that could happen? The Jaguars? No, he’s never coached at South Alabama.
Robert: No, never, don’t.
Logan: Is this a joke? Am I being punk’d?
Nishant: The Shutdown Fullcast spawned the idea of Texas A&M coach Urban Meyer and now that’s the only place I would be okay with him ending up.
United States Senator Tommy Tuberville
Ben: As much as I want to see this for the meme, I do not want to see it at Georgia Tech.
Carter: I could type words in this space but Ben would probably remove them. Not without reason.
Robert: I think I have a hanging chad on my ballot.
Jake: Absolutely not.
Logan: So that’s a yes to my previous question.
Nishant: I hope he echoes his previous history by unceremoniously leaving a private dinner with a lobbyist to take a college job... as long as that job isn’t the Tech job.
Who are your Top 5 choices?
Ben: My top 5 with the condition that you make Dave Clawson turn you down first:
- Former UAB Head Coach Bill Clark
- Coastal Carolina Head Coach Jamey Chadwell
- Former Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen
- ECU Head Coach Mike Houston
- Florida State Offensive Coordinator Alex Atkins
Clark rebuilding a program from literally nothing makes this a no-brainer for me. I think there is still some pretty solid talent on this team, and Clark seems like the guy to make it happen. I would be pretty happy with any of the coaches on this list, with Atkins being the dark horse candidate for me. Also worth noting that it’s a pretty sizeable drop-off in interest after Mullen.
Andrew: Chadwell, Mullen, Bohannon, Houston, Sanders
Carter: Chadwell, Bohannon, Leipold, Mullen, Lewis
Robert: Chadwell, Clark, Atkins, Lewis, Mullen
Jake: Presuming Leipold and Clawson are truly out of bounds, I would say Mullen, Chadwell, Houston, Sanders, and Monken. I really do think there is a high ceiling for Sanders, while the program building chops of Chadwell and Houston are alluring. Meanwhile, Mullen was successful in two SEC stops, and Monken has managed limitations and scheme modernization pretty well, all things considered. I would be interested in seeing how Huff and Wommack do this year, as well, if that winds up being allowable with the timeline.
Logan: At the moment I’ll go with:
- Leipold (if we can get him to leave)
Hard to say if some of those will leave their current jobs though. Money is also a big factor and some of these names will definitely be pricier to pull than others. Things can shift plenty from where we are now till the end of the season.
Nishant: Chadwell, Clark, Mullen, Houston, Atkins. Along with those, Miami OC Josh Gattis was on my list before the season—but with Miami floundering the way they are, it’s hard to keep him there (although Mario Cristobal does have a history of ruining any offense he touches).