We are now into week three of the Rutgers football coaching search and it’s still early in the process. I thought it would fun to look at potential candidates who have been mentioned in various capacities throughout and evaluate how they are currently trending on the field this season. A lot can change from now until December, when Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs said he plans to make the hire, so we will attempt to do a weekly stock watch for candidates. To be clear, this isn’t based on anything else other than how their current teams are performing and how they are perceived at the moment, hence affecting their stock as coaches within college football. Whether Rutgers is actively pursuing these candidates or not remains to be seen, as it’s very early in the search process. Let’s kick it off here.
Princeton head coach Bob Surace
While it’s fair to wonder if Surace is even interested in the Rutgers job, the fact is he’s won 14 straight games, has a strong offensive background, including developing quarterbacks and lineman, deep New Jersey roots and would receive a huge pay raise if he jumped (currently $450K). It would be crazy for Rutgers not to at least give him a call.
Tulane head coach Willie Fritz
A name that is gaining traction among the fan base with Tulane off to a 5-1 start this season after demolishing UConn on Saturday a week after beating Army. Their lone loss was a 24-6 defeat at Auburn in which it was a one score game late into the third quarter. Fritz is 59 years old and makes $1.2 million at Tulane after winning everywhere he has coached. He took FCS school Sam Houston State to back to back national championship games, won 17 games in two seasons at Georgia Southern, and has Tulane off to its best start in years in his fourth season rebuilding the Green Wave program. His background is on the defensive side of the ball, but his team has scored at least 38 points in every game this season except for one. He is a proven program builder that deserves to be considered.
I’ve said before there should be names of candidates that haven’t been revealed yet and based on a somewhat underwhelming list so far, it’s fair for Rutgers fans to hope that a big name or even an intriguing one will emerge during this search.
The most polarizing figure within the Rutgers football world has even spawned a twitter account following his potential candidacy daily. I have an article on the strong desire by some for a Schiano sequel coming out soon. We profiled the pros and cons of his candidacy here.
Currently an offensive analyst for a college football team named Alabama. We profiled his candidacy here, but no word on whether Rutgers is actually considering him or not.
His name is getting mentioned more and more, with James Kratch of NJ Advance Media telling a great anecdote regarding Golden’s ability to build strong recruiting relationships on a podcast from last week. He’s been an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions the past three seasons and his background is defense. Whether Rutgers has interest remains to be seen, but it’s likely the New Jersey native would be interested.
Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead
Moorhead has now lost two in a row after falling 20-10 to woeful Tennessee on Saturday despite having a bye week to prepare. The Bulldogs are now 3-3 with top 5 LSU coming to Starksville this weekend. It’s only his second season, but perhaps Moorhead’s chances of leaving are increasing as his perceive stock is going down. That being said, I still think he is a very good candidate for Rutgers to consider and I’d be shocked if Pat Hobbs didn’t at least check on his interest level for the job.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle
Another hot name took a step back this weekend, as Toledo fell to 4-2 after being upset by Bowling Green (2-4) on Saturday. It’s a bad loss, despite being on the road, as Bowling Green had lost four games in a row by at least 28 points, including a 62-20 loss to Kent State, who Toledo still has to play. Candle is still considered a rising talent, but his offense only mustered 7 points against a Bowling Green defense that’s been getting lit up all season.
Army head coach Jeff Monken
Army lost a second straight game after falling to Western Kentucky on the road on Saturday by the score of 17-8. They were shutout the entire game until a touchdown and two-point conversion less than two minutes left in the contest. They are 3-3 on the season and while Monken is a polarizing figure for this job search due to his use of the triple option. I still think he is worth a phone call and perhaps he has ideas on how to modify his offensive style if he did coach in the Big Ten.
Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold
Buffalo was on a bye this weekend, remaining at a disappointing 2-4 on the season. The biggest question on Leipold is was last season’s 10 win campaign a fluke or not, as he is trending towards his fourth losing campaign in five years with the Bulls.
Candidates Not Realistic To Consider
Here are some names people have asked me about or I’ve seen thrown out on social media. Urban Meyer would never consider Rutgers, Jim Leavitt isn’t worth considering, Matt Rhule just signed a huge contract extension at Baylor, Rod Carey is making over 2 million in his first season at Temple and has a big buyout, and to the blessed soul who emailed me about Charlie Weis being considered, I hate to break the news that there is zero chance for him having been out of the game for years since failing at Kansas.