A few weeks ago FAU athletic director Pat Chun was looking forward to traveling with his current school’s basketball team to face his former school.
As circumstances change, so do itineraries.
Chun says he does not intend to make the trip to Columbus for Tuesday’s FAU game at Ohio St. He has pressing issues closer to home.
FAU entered its second week of a football coaching search on Monday. Now that the regular season has ended for most teams, coaches will have more time to spend on their job hunts and Chun will likely spend the next couple days interviewing candidates.
Chun wouldn’t divulge who he would be interviewing or where those interviews would take place, but sources have told OwlAccess.com that FAU would like an offensive-minded coach with head coaching experience. The Owls are also focusing on current FBS coaches.
With that in mind, we’re dropping some prominent names from our FAU coaching search list. Along with all the baggage from his tenure at South Florida, Jim Leavitt is also a defensive coach. He’s off the list. So is Randy Shannon, the Florida Gators co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
The fact that Chun won’t be heading to Ohio is either a super shrewd move to throw interested media off the Ohio St. assistant scent or a prime indicator that Buckeye coaches aren’t at the top of Chun’s wish list. The fact that both Luke Fickell and Greg Schiano are defensive coaches suggests it’s the latter.
Also removed are some of the re-treads, guys like Eddie Gran and Stan Drayton who were rumored to be heading to FAU during earlier coaching searches. Much like Fickell, if FAU wanted one of those guys, it could have had him already.
Weed away some of the longshot coaches that appeared on the original list – looking at you Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano – and that brings about a tidy little list of candidates who qualify for the FAU shortlist.
Joe Moorhead (Penn St. OC) – Scoring 38 points while posting 435 yards against a staunch Wisconsin defense to lead the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten title surely impressed this weekend. Moorhead has head coaching experience, turning around FCS-level Fordham. He was reportedly the second choice for Purdue which, according to those same reports, hired Jeff Brohm away from Western Kentucky today. FAU might receive some competition for Moorhead from those Hilltoppers or maybe even Cincinnati, which parted ways with Tommy Tuberville over the weekend.
Greg Davis (Iowa, OC) – Iowa didn’t play this past weekend, but the No. 25 Hawkeyes did accept a bid to play in the Outback Bowl where they will face Florida. The Hawkeyes were 12-0 during the regular season last year, and beat Michigan and Nebraska this year. Iowa is not a power offense, but Davis deserves credit for developing quarterback C.J. Beathard. He’s a guy who could make Motor run.
Les Miles (LSU, former coach) – Nationally, the Les Miles talk has been rather quiet. He’s reportedly one of the candidates for the vacant Houston job, and those newly opened spots at Western Kentucky and Cincinnati could be intriguing, but the longer Miles is available, the more it appears FAU as a chance to land him.
Mario Cristobal (Alabama, OL) – Favorite stat from this weekend: at the end of the first quarter of the SEC championship game Alabama totaled minus seven yards of offense, yet still led Florida 16-9. Cristobal has been cited in a few reports as a candidate and maybe he’s grown up as a coach under Nick Saban. He did take FIU to two bowls as the Panthers head coach, but didn’t leave as a winner.
Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars, OL) – Difficult guy to judge. Jacksonville managed only 10 points against Denver this week. The Broncos have a fantastic defense and Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been brutal this season. Marrone also didn’t do that good a job of developing former FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel at Buffalo. He was a successful college coach at Syracuse, though, and FAU is a college team. If he wants to get back into college as a head coach, FAU would be a good fit.
Derek Dooley (Dallas Cowboys, WR) – Dooley has Power 5 head coaching credentials, leading Tennessee to a 16-21 record in three seasons. He also is familiar with Conference USA opponents, having been a successful head coach at Louisiana Tech. Although he didn’t seem to be too well liked by players, who voiced their negative opinions after he left, Dooley is enjoying success as the Dallas wide receivers coach – where Lucky Whitehead can tell him all about FAU.