Rumors are swirling in every direction.
Brian Kelly kicking the tires on Oregon or the NFL? Notre Dame possibly negotiating an exit deal with Kelly? This is the time of year when the ax starts to fall on coaches. Might that be the situation in South Bend?
If Notre Dame is going to make a move or if Brian Kelly is, is there a Mr. Right in the mix that can finally return “consistent” glory to South Bend? The list is long. But the problem is several are just not fits at Notre Dame and would likely never be hired. So let’s take a look at some “no way” candidates and a few that are both plausible and desirable.
- Jim Harbaugh or Urban Meyer. Michigan/Ohio State. I put these two together because they are both great coaches that are likely at their final coaching destination. Yes, perhaps Harbaugh goes back to the NFL but the chance of him leaving Ann Arbor for South Bend is zero. Meyer spurned the Irish once before, so I think that ship has sailed permanently.
- Bobby Petrino. Louisville. 109-42 as a Head Coach and was successful in the SEC at Arkansas. However, unless “The Shirt” is going to say “Bikes and Hos” next year, he is out of the question.
- DJ Durkin. Maryland. Durkin is probably too young at this point. However, he did an excellent job at Maryland in year one getting them to a bowl game. Maryland was a train wreck at the end of the Randy Edsall era. Durkin may be the next great college coach out there. He’s young and energetic.
- Bob Stoops. Oklahoma. Midwestern background and a Catholic upbringing. 188-48 as a Coach. 10 league titles and a national title. Additionally, no real scandals that I can remember at Oklahoma and a pretty squeaky clean image help him. However, has recently been under some fire at Oklahoma for “not winning more.” Might Notre Dame be his final stop/challenge?
- John Harbaugh. Baltimore Ravens. 93-61 as a first time NFL coach. Don’t laugh. He’s a huge supporter of the Catholic Archdiocese in Baltimore. He’s won a Super Bowl. Baltimore has always been good in his tenure and had a good number of former Notre Dame players in camp or on the roster. I always felt Harbaugh’s fiery speeches and “rah-rah” approach were better suited for college football. With Michigan appearing on the upcoming schedules, would a chance to renew a sibling rivalry appeal to him?
- David Shaw. Stanford. 63-17. I’ll be honest: Shaw is probably not leaving Stanford. However, he is a great recruiter and has won “consistently” at a school with arguably higher academic standards than Notre Dame. It would be interesting to see how his aggressive, physical approach would mesh with the type of players that Notre Dame recruits.
Regardless of how all of this plays out, the next few weeks should be very interesting.