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Report: Three coaches high on Nebraska's coaching list

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According to a report, three coaches — Matt Campbell, Lance Leipold and Bill O'Brien — are among those being considered for the open Nebraska football coaching job.

Bruce Feldman, a national reporter for The Athletic, said that trio is “high” on NU’s list.

Campbell, the Iowa State coach, would have been a top candidate had NU fired Scott Frost last season. Nebraska ultimately chose to retain Frost for 2022, only to fire him after the team started 1-2. Campbell’s salary and buyout — both just $4 million — are on the low end compared to most Big Ten coaches.

Leipold makes far less at Kansas — $2.8 million — and has ties to Nebraska, having worked on coach Frank Solich’s staff between long stints at Nebraska-Omaha when the Mavericks still had a football program. After winning six national titles at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, Leipold went 37-33 at Buffalo before taking the KU job. He’s 5-10 so far with the Jayhawks, which are 3-0 to start 2022.

Currently the offensive coordinator for Alabama, O’Brien served as Penn State’s head coach for two seasons, 2012 and 2013, after the school fired Joe Paterno amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Given NCAA limitations and national scrutiny, O’Brien’s 15-9 record stood out as a positive before he took the Houston Texans job in the NFL. He led the Texans to four playoff berths before getting fired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in his career, he spent one season working for current Nebraska offensive coordinator Mark Whipple while the two were at Brown University.

Nebraska may have competition for those three coaches and others. Arizona State has already fired Herm Edwards, and several other Power Five coaches sit on the hot seat. 

In his news conference announcing Frost’s firing, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts pledged a thorough search for the next coach and even predicted media and fans would hear a lot of names.

“We're going to talk to a lot of people, because we're going to clearly define what our values are,” Alberts said. “And we're not going to hire coaches who don't believe in what we believe in. We need to take as long as it takes to find the right leader.”

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