1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan. If there is such a thing as a perfect fit, this may be it. "Throughout my life, I have dreamed of coaching at the University of Michigan," Harbaugh said during his introductory news conference. "Now I have the honor to live it." Cue the "The Victors." Chills all around.
2. Tom Herman, Houston. Ohio State has gone 38-3 during the last three years with Herman running the offense. He earned the Broyles Award this season as the nation's top assistant coach. What's more, Herman's first four coaching jobs were in Texas — at the University of Texas, Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice.
3. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt. He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, an hour northwest of Pittsburgh. His personality seems like a fit. And, by the way, the guy can coach defense. He's 48. He's ready for this. "When somebody plays the University of Pittsburgh, they're going to know they were in a brawl," he told reporters.
4. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin. UW knows exactly what it's getting in the 49-year-old Chryst, who played for the Badgers and was a top-flight offensive coordinator at the school. His experience as a head coach at Pitt should prove to be invaluable. I could see Chryst being at UW for many years.
5. Lance Leipold, Buffalo. The 50-year-old Wisconsin native won six NCAA Division III national championships and compiled a 109-6 record at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He was the fastest to 100 career wins of any football coach in NCAA history. He understands the Division I level, having been a graduate assistant at Wisconsin and on-campus recruiting coordinator under Frank Solich at Nebraska.
6. Jim McElwain, Florida. He spent four seasons as Alabama's offensive coordinator before turning around Colorado State's program in a big way during his three seasons there. He has the type of personality to draw big-time talent.
7. Chad Morris, SMU. He enjoyed a nice ride as Clemson's offensive coordinator the last four seasons. Earlier in his career, he made a name for himself as one of the best high school coaches in Texas, compiling a 169-38 record over 16 seasons, including back-to-back undefeated seasons at Lake Travis.
You have free articles remaining.
8. Mike Riley, Nebraska. Husker athletic director Shawn Eichorst needed someone who could calm the waters after the program's rocky ride under Bo Pelini. The 61-year-old Riley looks like a good fit in terms of personality. NU fans, though, are starving for a conference championship and won't be very patient.
9. Gary Andersen, Oregon State. Andersen has strong western roots, not to mention 30 wins during the past three seasons, including 19-7 in two seasons at Wisconsin.
10. Philip Montgomery, Tulsa. The 43-year-old comes from Baylor, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Art Briles. The Bears led the nation this season, scoring 48.2 points per game. His relationship with Briles dates to their coaching days at Stephensville High in Texas.
11. Mike Bobo, Colorado State. According to ESPN.com, CSU feels Bobo's recruiting plan, personality and demeanor are excellent fits for the program. At Georgia, he developed quarterbacks Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall pick in 2009 NFL Draft) and Aaron Murray (SEC's all-time leading passer).
12. Tony Sanchez, UNLV. He went 85-5 in six years at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, winning six straight Class 4A state championships. Plus, he sent 25 players to major-college football. It's a bold hire, considering Sanchez has no college coaching experience.
13. David Beaty, Kansas. Has experience coaching receivers at both KU and, most recently, Texas A&M. He also has ties in Texas, where he coached at four high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
14. Neal Brown, Troy. The 34-year-old spent the last two seasons calling plays at Kentucky. He was a Troy assistant from 2006-09, serving as offensive coordinator the final two seasons. The offense finished third nationally in '09.