West Virginia's Next Head Coach: Handicapping the Candidates

Frank AhrensSenior Writer IDecember 17, 2007

Icon Sports MediaBased on absolutely no inside information—other than what I've read elsewhere and that persistent voice in my head that's usually telling me secrets about NSA surveillance on my house—I present to you, in no particular order, a handicapped list of candidates for the WVU head coaching job...

I'm struck by the fact that most of these guys, technically speaking, have redneck names.

What the heck?


Nick Saban

What, Bobby Petrino wasn't available?

Yes, websites Monday afternoon were reporting that Saban's agent had contacted WVU boy-president Mike Garrison to tell him that Snaky Saban wasn't happy in Tuscaloosa (shocker)—and to ask WVU to make him an offer.

Sure, Saban's a lying bastard, but the native West Virginian is OUR lying bastard! What's more, he's won a national championship at LSU and is apparently a charismatic recruiter.

I'm giving this a surprisingly high 25 percent chance of happening, if only because Saban is exactly the kind of guy who would bail on one job that didn't elevate him to godlike status after his first year to take another in the loving arms of a sycophantic, starstruck populace.


Terry Bowden

Between Bobby and Terry, it seems inevitable that WVU will end up with one of the issues of Bobby Bowden's loins.

Upside: He's coached and won at Auburn. He's affable and probably a good ol' boy type recruiter.

Downside: He pulled a Robert Irsay at Auburn, leaving after losing four straight in a "You can't fire me I quit" moment. Also, he's desperate. ("Please ask me to the prom! Please!")

Bowden has written in his blog that he wants to get back into coaching so badly that he's been losing weight and spending eight hours a day at Florida State to get boned up on the game.

Translation: He's got nothing else to do besides reading Atkins books and hanging out at Dad's office.

Don't hire a guy who's out of work, I say. But unfortunately, I'm giving this a 75 percent chance of happening.


Jimbo Fisher

Offensive coordinator at Florida State.

Downside: He's named "Jimbo." Whiffs of "Mississippi Burning." Not exactly 21st-century high-tech football. I envision the Wing-T on offense and the wide-tackle six on defense.

Upside: I dunno. Folks think he's good. He's so much the heir apparent at Florida State that he'd have to pay $2.5 million to leave.

Still: "Jimbo."

Which means I'm giving this a 35 percent chance of happening.


Butch Jones

Oh, come on. Jimbo? Butch?

What's the matter, doesn't WVU have the speed-dial for the agents of Scooter and Fireball? Is it possible WVU could get a head coach whose name won't make everyone think of...West Virginia?

Downside: A former WVU assistant coach, Jones has spent exactly one year coaching mighty Directional Michigan to an 8-5 record and a bowl game against Purdue.

Sorry. Too green, too bush.

On the other hand, Jones does have a big thing going for him, and it can be summed up in one word: "cheap."

I bet WVU could get him for $1 million a year and he'd be pleased as punch. But you don't hand the keys to a Ferrari to you teenage son—not unless you want to own a very expensive, very red piece of two-ton conceptual art that just got towed into your driveway.

How about a 10 percent chance on this one?

Bud Foster

Okay, now you're pulling my leg. Jimbo, Butch, and...Bud?

He's the defensive coordinator at Virginia Tech. Fine, I like their defense. But why do I think Patrick White and the rest of the high-powered WVU offense would sputter like someone dumped a pound of sugar in its gas tank?

This dude's got too much of a "Wha? Who?" factor. Which means I'm giving it a 75 percent chance.


Doc Holliday

I LOVED him in "Tombstone!" He nailed that whole consumptive-yet-sexy, dissolute-yet-still-deadly gunfighter thing opposite Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp. I thought he should have gotten an Oscar nod for...oh.

Not THAT Doc Holliday?

Well, who the hell is this guy?

An assistant coach at Florida?

Oh, right—Urban's-ripoff-of-Rodriguez's-spread team.

Apparently, he can recruit Florida, which is cool. And, if WVU has to hire a dude with a nickname, at least it's "Doc" and not "Jimbo."

For no particular reason, I'm giving it a 20 percent chance


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