Coaching Candidates

The following is a list of potential candidates for the Syracuse football head coaching position. It will be updated as more candidates get interviewed or mentioned for the job.

Steve Addazio

addazio2008-Present Florida (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line)
2005-2007 Florida (Tight Ends)
2004 Indiana (Offensive Coordinator)
2002-2003 Indiana (Offensive Line)
1999-2001 Notre Dame (Offensive Line/Tight Ends)
1995-1998 Syracuse (Offensive Line)

Who is he?: Addazio is the Assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Florida, where he previously served as tight ends coach. Addazio was an offensive line coach at Syracuse under Paul Pasquoloni, before following Kevin Rogers to Notre Dame, and then moving on to Indiana.

Addazio has been publicly recommended to Daryl Gross by a group of former SU football players, led by Rob Konrad.

What does he bring to the job?: Addazio brings a breadth of offensive experience, especially as an offensive line coach. He would be a link Daryl Gross desperately needs to the former players who were angered by Paul Pasquoloni’s dismissal, if only to get them to stop publicly scrutinizing the program.

Addazio’s ties to Syracuse (and Northeast recruiting) would be beneficial to rebuilding the program.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Addazio has never been a head coach, and has been away from the Northeast for a decade. The lack of head coaching experience is the biggest problem in his candidacy. At this point I almost feel like this is a prerequisite.

What are his chances?: Not good. As I wrote before, I think Addazio isn’t the right fit. The lack of head coaching experience is the first problem. The second is the fact that I’m more impressed by his fellow Florida assistant, Dan Mullen. From the outside looking in there is no way to know who is more responsible for the success with the Gators, but I’m tempted to say Mullen. I also don’t think Gross will cave to the pressure of the Syracuse football alumni. The more important thing is getting the right guy, and I don’t see it with Addazio.

Turner Gill

gill2006-present Buffalo (Head Coach: 14-21 record)
2005 Green Bay Packers (Director of Player Development)
2004 Nebraska (WR Coach)
1992-2003 Nebraska (QB Coach)

Who is he?: Buffalo head coach Turner Gill has been mentioned as a possible G-Rob replacement for over a year. He also interviewed for the opening at his alma matter, Nebraska, last year before it went to Bo Pelini.

In his short tenure at Buffalo, Gill has turned around one the worst college programs in the country (winners of only five games in four years prior to his arrival) into a respectable team. This year the Bulls are playing in the MAC championship game after going 7-5 and will make their first bowl game since moving to D-1A in 1999. Gill also led the Bulls to a co-division championship last season while taking home MAC coach of the year honors.

What does he bring to the job?: Gill is a very gifted offensive coach and has established a balanced attack in Buffalo. This year the Bulls ranked 63rd nationally in rushing, 34th in passing and 36th in scoring. Running back James Starks was sixth in the country with 122.6 yards per game. Wideout Naaman Roosevelt was ninth in the country with just under 100 yards per game, and Drew Willy is finishing his career with over 8000 passing yards and close to 50 touchdowns.

Gill has no problem in taking over downtrodden programs as evidenced by his tenure down the thruway. He is able to get the most out of his players and seems to have no problem with forfeiting immediate success to gain more in the long run, something any potential SU coach will likely face.

Gill also has solid recruiting ties in both the Northeast and the Midwest. His class last year even had three players from Tennessee, showing that he is capable of recruiting in any area of the country.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: It is widely believed that Gill would want to return to the Midwest in order to be in the running the next time the Nebraska job opens up, or just to return to the Big 12, something Donnie Webb has speculated on. Fans and alumni might not want a coach who is only using this position as a stepping stone to something greater.

What are his chances?: I have to agree with Sean at TNIAAM: unless a major development with Tommy Tuberville comes about, or the Texas Tech job opens and Gill is considered a candidate there, Gill will be the next head coach of Syracuse.

Gill can rebuild a program and can recruit in New York and the rest of the Northeast. He can bring a staff with him (something Robinson didn’t have in place) and be ready to hit the ground running in recruiting and installing his system in spring practices.

I’m not worried about Gill leaving for a better job in a few seasons. For him, this job is a chance to prove himself for a future job in the Big 12 or at Nebraska should Pelini be let go. And that would be a perfect situation for Syracuse. Nothing is wrong with bring in a young coach who can turn around the program in a few years and then moves on. If he moves on, that obviously means he was successful at our school and is leaving it in a better place than it was in before.

I think Gill would be a good choice to take over. He might not be a flashy pick or have as much experience as some other candidates, but he is a solid choice to turn the program around.

Al Golden

golden2006-present Temple (Head Coach: 10-26) 2001-2005 Virginia (Defensive Coordinator) 2000 Penn State (Linebackers) 1997-1999 Boston College (Linebackers) 1994-1996 Virginia (Graduate Assistant)

Who is he?: Golden is a former Penn State football player who began coaching as a grad assistant at Virginia in 1994. After a stop at Boston College, Golden returned to Penn State to coach linebackers in 2000. He then returned to Virginia to be their defensive coordinator for five seasons.

Golden took over at Temple in 2006 and has turned them into a respectable program in the MAC, going 10-26 in his three years.

What does he bring to the job?: Golden, like Turner Gill, has found success at a school that nobody thought would ever be competitive. Golden is a talented coach with a defensive background. He is an experienced recruiter in the Northeast and seems to be on his way to super stardom, similar to Gill.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Golden could be very similar to Skip Holtz, in that he might be a candidate at schools he has a connection with next season. Al Groh is on thin ice in Virginia and who knows what Joe Paterno’s future is after this season. Golden would be a leading candidate for both jobs, and could easily leave Syracuse after one season if those jobs become available.

What are his chances?: Good. Golden seems to be right in the mix with Holtz and Gill as the leading candidates, and him being in NYC this week will only add fuel to that fire. Golden has an eerily similar resume to Gill, and both seem destined for big things. I think Golden could emerge if Gross is unable to get anywhere with Holtz or Gill. But I don’t know if he will ever vault over them to get the job. He could also get passed over for Doug Marrone, whose chances are improving seemingly every day.

Brady Hoke

hoke12003-Present (Ball State Head Coach: 34-37)
2002 Michigan (Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line)
1997-2001 Michigan (Defensive Line)
1995-1996 Michigan (Defensive Ends)
1991-1994 Oregon State (Defensive Line)
1990 Oregon State (Inside Linebackers)
1989 Oregon State (Defensive Line)
1987-1988 Toledo (Outside Linebackers)
1984-1986 Western Michigan (DL/ Special Teams)
1983 Grand Valley State (Defensive Line)

Who is he?: Hoke has been the head coach at Ball State since 2003, posting a 34-37 record heading into tonight’s MAC championship game. Ball State went 12-0 this season under Hoke, their best ever regular season mark.

Before taking over at Ball State, Hoke was a defensive assistant under Lloyd Carr at Michigan. Carr, of course was on campus earlier this year and, while he isn’t really considered a candidate for the job, he has allegedly been consulting Daryl Gross about the coaching search. Hoke was also a candidate for the Michigan and Washington State openings last year.

What does he bring to the job?: Hoke, along with Skip Holtz, is one of the most experienced coaches to be mentioned as a candidate. He has turned Ball State into a relevant team in the MAC as this will be their second straight season ending with a bowl appearance. He has a great history as a defensive coach and now Ball State has even developed well offensively this season under Hoke.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: I honestly can’t think of a solid reason why Hoke wouldn’t make sense as a candidate. You can say he doesn’t have Northeastern ties and that could hurt recruiting, but he is a talented coach who has an undefeated season on his resume. How many other candidates have that?

What are his chances?: I think Hoke is an intriguing candidate, but why hasn’t he been interviewed yet? Maybe he didn’t want to interview before his team played in the MAC championship, but that didn’t stop Turner Gill. I think if Hoke interviews in the next week or so he should quickly rise up the list of potential candidates. One thing to watch out for is what other jobs might open up in the next few weeks. Hoke would be mentioned as a candidate for a lot of positions, so if the dominoes start falling, he could fall out of Daryl Gross’ reach. Overall he is a strong candidate, but at this point trails a few others who have already interviewed.

Skip Holtz

holtzskipduke05e2005-present East Carolina (Head Coach:28-21)
2004 South Carolina (Associate Head Coach/QB Coach)
1999-2003 South Carolina (Associate Head Coach/Offensive Cooridnator)
1994-1998 UConn (Head Coach: 33-23)
1992-1993 Notre Dame (Offensive Coordinator)
1990-1991 Notre Dame (WR Coach)
1989 Colorado St (WR Coach)
1987-1988 Florida State (Graduate Assistant)

Who is he?: Holtz has been the head coach at East Carolina since 2005, racking up a 28-21 record. This season he lead the Pirates to wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, and a spot in the Conference USA title game this upcoming weekend. Before ECU, Holtz was on his father’s staff at South Carolina as offensive coordinator, as well as serving under his father at Notre Dame.

Holtz also was the head coach at UConn before they made the leap to D1, going 33-23 over five seasons.

What does he bring to the job?: Experience and an ability to win big games. Holtz has rescued ECU from the horrible tenure of John Thompson (of no relation to the Georgetown Thompsons) and led them to (soon to be) three bowl games in his four years there.

Beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia this past year show that Holtz can get his team prepared for games against better opponents, something that would definitely come in handy at Syracuse. Those wins have also given him even more name recognition among recruits.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Holtz hasn’t been a coach in the Northeast since 1998, which could mean he would have trouble recruiting the area. Holtz would have to establish ties through his assistants with high school coaches throughout the Northeast.

Also, like Turner Gill, there is the chance he would either want to hold out for a better job (Notre Dame) or use Syracuse as a stepping stone to something bigger. Since Charlie Weis will be returning to Notre Dame next year, Holtz would have to wait to follow in his father’s footsteps.

What are his chances?: Strong. Holtz has the pedigree and experience to be successful at Syracuse. His lack of Northeast recruiting ties is troublesome, but can probably be mitigated by the hiring of some experienced Northeast assistants. The biggest obstacle could be the Notre Dame situation. Holtz could be willing to wait a year to land in South Bend rather than taking on a huge rebuilding project like Syracuse.

Mike Locksley

locksley2006-present Illinois (Offensive Coordinator/ QB)
2005 Illinois (Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends)
2003-2004 Florida (RB/Recruiting Coordinator)
1998-2002 Maryland (RB/Recruiting Coordinator)
1997 Maryland (RB)
1996 Army (WE/TE)
1995 Pacific (Linebackers)
1992 Towson (DB/Special Teams)

Who is he?: Locksley has been the offensive coordinator at Illinois since 2005, following Ron Zook from Florida where he was a recruting coordinator and running backs coach. He held the same position at Maryland before moving on to Gainsville.

In addition to interviewing for the Syracuse vacancy, Locksley has interviewed for the Clemson opening as well but lost out on that job.

What does he bring to the job?: Locksley is unquestionably one of the best recruiters in the country. Along with Ron Zook, he has brought in great classes to both Illinois and Florida. Here are how his recruiting classes have ranked according to


2009: 23rd

2008: 23rd

2007: 20th

2006: t-30th


2004: 7th

2003: 2nd

While Locksley and Zook didn’t have a chance to finish the job in Florida, their players were a key to Florida’s national championship.

Not only can he recruit, but he can coach. Under Locksley (and behind QB Juice Williams) the Illini offense has come alive. This season they were the top passing team in the Big Ten (19th in the nation). They were also 19th nationally in total offense and 41st in scoring offense.

Locksley is able to tailor his offense to the personnel he has. While this years team is a pass heavy attack, last year’s team focused on running the ball with Rashard Mendenhall and Williams leading the Illini to a national ranking of 5th in rushing offense. While it doesn’t take a genius to design an offense around two very talented players, this seasons offense under Locksley shows his ability to adapt to a changing roster. This will be very important to someone taking over at Syracuse.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Despite the obvious strengths of recruiting and building an offense, Locksley does come with some negatives. The most obvious is his lack of head coaching experience. We went down this road with Greg Robinson and while it is no guarantee that Locksley’s results would be similar, the lack of experience leading a program is worrisome.

Locksley has also never coached in the Northeast, meaning he doesn’t have as many established recruting connections to the area. He has obvious ties to the Southeast and Midwest, and has been strong in the Washington D.C. area, but one key to this job will be the ability to land the recruits we used to get but now are going to UConn and Rutgers.

What are his chances?: 50-50. Locksley is one of the mentioned non-head coaches to be a candidate, but he is going to get interviews and most likely offers elsewhere. Daryl Gross would have to weigh the lack of head-coaching experience against the recruiting prowess and decide if Locksley’s talent on the recruiting trail will translate to the Northeast. I personally don’t see him getting the job over a coach with previous head-coaching experience and northeast ties, or even an assistant with Syracuse ties (namely Dan Mullen and Steve Addazio).

Doug Marrone


2006-present New Orleans Saints (Offensive Coordinator)
2002-2005 New York Jets (Offensive Line)
2001 Tennesee (Tight Ends)
2000 Georgia (Offensive Line)
1997-1999 Georgia Tech (Offensive Line)
1996 Georgia Tech (Tight Ends)
1995 Georgia Tech (Director of Football Operations)
1994 Northeastern (Offensive Line)
1993 US Coast Guard Academy (Offensive Line)
1992 Cortland State (Tight Ends)

Who is he?: Marrone is a former Orange player (1983-1985) who is currently the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. His other previous stop in the NFL was as offensive line coach with the New York Jets. He has had a long career as a college assistant, including stints with Tennessee, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

What does he bring to the job?: Marrone has been a part of one of the NFL’s best offenses during his tenure in New Orleans. This season, his team leads the NFL in yards per game and is fourth in points scored. In 2007 they were 4th in yards per game, and were 1st in 2006. He and head coach Sean Payton have developed a very good system that would hopefully be easily translated to college success. Marrone has been able to utilize the gifts of players like Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister, as well as helping to develop young wideouts Marquese Colston and Lance Moore.

Being a Syracuse alum, Marrone would be passionate about this job and hopefully be able to show recruits that Syracuse isn’t a bad place to spend some time, even in the winter (good luck).

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Like Rogers, Mullen, Addazio and Locksley, Marrone has never been a head coach before. Like all of the others, he would have to hire a staff and begin recruiting right away, something that is not easy for someone who has been away from the college game for seven years.

Most of Marrone’s collegiate coaching experience was in the SEC, which might not lend itself to instant recruiting success in the Northeast.

What are his chances?: Marrone has seemingly come out of nowhere to become a viable candidate for the job. His name hadn’t really been mentioned until the past week, and according to some sources, he is either a great candidate or a secondary candidate. So there ya go.

Marrone is one of three NFL assistants (Mark Whipple and Kevin Rogers being the others) to have interviewed for the position. While I would take him over Rogers in a heartbeat, I think Whipple;s head coaching experience puts him above Marrone. I don’t think he’ll beat out some of the current or former college head coaches, but Marrone is a good dark horse candidate.

Dan Mullen

College FB Awards2005-Present Florida (Offensive Coordinator/QB)
2003-2004 Utah (Quarterbacks)
2001-2002 Bowling Green (Quarterbacks)
1999-2000 Notre Dame (Graduate Assistant)
1998 Syracuse (Graduate Assistant)
1996-1997 Columbia (Wide Receivers)
1994-1995 Wagner (Wide Receivers)

Who is he?: Mullen is a long time Urban Meyer assistant who has been Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2005. Before that he was the quarterbacks coach for Meyer’s teams in Utah and Bowling Green. Over the years he has coached QBs such as Tim Tebow and Chris Leak (Florida), Alex Smith (Utah) and Josh Harris and Omar Jacobs (Bowling Green).

Mullen previously worked at Syracuse as a Graduate Assistant during the 1998 season (Big East championship and Orange Bowl appearance).

What does he bring to the job?: In one word: offense. Mullen has been in charge of some of the most prolific offenses over the past few years, and has helped develop Tim Tebow into a Heisman Trophy winner and Alex Smith into a number one NFL pick. Mullen is a master of the spread offense and would help make Syracuse a more dangerous team in the Big East.

Mullen, along with Steve Adazio, has also been an integral part of Florida’s highly successful recruiting over the past few years.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Mullen, like many of the other mentioned candidates, has no previous head coaching experience. Who knows how he would do at the head of a program. Recruiting in the Northeast could be a concern, but he seems to have had no trouble in getting commits from the area while at Florida. Could that success translate to keeping some of those kids “home” at Syracuse?

What are his chances?: Mullen would be my choice out of the non-head coach candidates. He is a talented offensive coach and recruiter and would likely be able to bring in some impact players to make an immediate difference. He has been a coach at Syracuse before so he is no stranger to the area. Overall I think he’s a strong candidate with a good chance, but he still appears to be trailing Skip Holtz, Turner Gill and even fellow Florida assistant Steve Adazio. In fact, Mullen hasn’t been confirmed to have interviewed for the position. In my opinion he would be a better choice than Steve Adazio or Mike Locksley if we go with an assistant to head the program. But Mullen could easily hold out for a more lucrative offer or a better situation. More SEC and Big 12 jobs are likely to open next year and he would be a prime candidate for those as well. I think in the end it would take a miracle to convince him to come to Syracuse.

Tim Murphy

tim-murphy1994-present Harvard (Head Coach: 97-52)
1989-1993 Cincinnati (Head Coach: 17-37-1)
1987-1988 Maine (Head Coach: 15-8)
1985-1986 Maine (Offensive Coordinator)
1982-1984 Boston University (Offensive Line)
1981 Lafayette (Defensive Line)

Who is he?: Murphy is the longtime coach at Harvard , who has compiled a 97-52 record since 1994 with the Crimson. Before taking over at Harvard, Murphy had the head job at Cincinnati. While he only had a record of 17-37-1 while with the Bearcats, that happened after Murphy “inherited a program that had a condemned stadium, no practice facilities, and the loss of 19 scholarships after being placed on probation for infractions incurred by the previous coaching staff.” Murphy’s tenure at Cincinnati ended with an 8-3 record in 1993. Before Cincinnati, Murphy spent two years as the head coach at Maine, going 15-8.

What does he bring to the job?: Murphy has extensive head coaching experience. In fact he has the most head coaching experience out of any candidate that has interviewed so far. Murphy has kept Harvard at or near the top of the Ivy League standings year after year.

Murphy’s experience at Cincinnati is also a huge plus, as he was able to turn a horrid program into a respectable one by the time he left. He has experience recruiting the Northeast and wouldn’t need much time to get a staff together and hit the recruiting trail.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: While Murphy has extensive experience, he hasn’t been a D1-A coach since 1993. Who knows if he would be able to make the jump to the Big East. Much like Mark Whipple, Murphy is an experienced coach at the D1-AA level. Unlike Whipple, Murphy has had a shot at a 1A school. But that was 15 years ago. Would he be able to coach and recruit against the other coaches in the Big East?

What are his chances?: Murphy seemingly came out of nowhere to get interviewed, and nobody really had heard of him before. On paper he’s a very talented coach who has great experience. He has experience in the Northeast and would be able to land some good recruits from areas that Syracuse found little success in under Greg Robinson.

Overall he’s an interesting candidate, but not a serious contender. He’d be at the same level as Whipple, which probably puts him 8th or 9th on the list. He could get a job at D1-A at some point, but not with Syracuse.

Chirs Petersen


2006-present Boise St (Head Coach:35-3)
2001-2005 Boise St (Offensive Coordinator)
1995-2000 Oregon (Wide Receivers)
1993-1994 Portland St (Quarterbacks)
1992 Pittsburgh (Quarterbacks)

Who is he?: Petersen has been one of the most successful coaches in D1 since he took over the Boise State program from Dan Hawkins. He has compiled a 35-3 record in three years, including two undefeated seasons. He was responsible for the Broncos exciting victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and has Boise State in the running for another possible BCS berth.

What does he bring to the job?: Incomparable success. He by far has the best record of any of the other candidates with previous head coaching experience. He is a budding coaching star who will be getting many offers in the future if he doesn’t take a BCS job this year.

Petersen runs an extremely successful offense that would more than likely be a hit on the Carrier Dome turf. Here are the total offensive ranks of Petersen’s teams since becoming Boise’s offensive coordinator in 2001:

2001: 14th

2002: 1st

2003: 7th

2004: 4th

2005: t-29th

2006: 10th

2007: 12th

2008: 12th

Needless to say, it is hard to imagine a situation in which Petersen couldn’t get the Orange offense into the top of the Big East rankings.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: The only knock I can see against Petersen would be his lack of Northeastern recruiting ties. He has spent his entire coaching career out West and would need to develop a local recruiting base quickly to find success.

What are his chances?: Unfortunately, not as good as I’d like. While money isn’t likely a problem for the Orange (Petersen will only make $1,112,650 next year), competition will be. Petersen is going to be mentioned for every job opening, including Washington, Mississippi State, Auburn and even Texas Tech should Mike Leach cash in on his teams run this year. Not only that, but why would Petersen decide to leave what looks like a great situation in Boise for Syracuse? One potential reason could be the salaries of his assistants:

“If things stopped progressing at Boise State, that’s probably the biggest thing,” he said. “If we weren’t able to keep the assistants’ salaries up and we decided that we’re good where we are facilities wise, then things change a little bit. But the administration has been so good about that. That’s what keeps everybody excited about being here.”

If Boise balks at Petersen’s requests for himself or his staff, here’s hoping Dr. Gross will open up the checkbook and make a run at him. But in all likelihood, I don’t think it will happen.

Kevin Rogers

rogers2006-present Minnesota Vikings (Quarterbacks)
2002-2005 Virginia Tech (Quarterbacks)
1999-2001 Notre Dame (Offensive Coordinator/QB)
1997-1998 Syracuse (Offensive Coordinator)
1995-1996 Syracuse (Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator)
1991-1994 Syracuse (Quarterbacks)
1983-1990 Navy (Offensive Assistant)

Who is he?: Rogers is a former SU assistant who is currently the quarterbacks coach with the Minnesota Vikings. Rogers held a variety of jobs while at Syracuse from 1991-1998, coaching the quarterbacks, serving as recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach, and finishing up as offensive coordinator. Rogers star pupil during his time with the Orange was three-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Donovan McNabb.

After leaving Syracuse to become Bob Davie’s offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, followed by a stint at Virginia Tech as quarterbacks coach.

What does he bring to the job?: Rogers, much like Steve Addazio, is a link to the 1990s glory under Paul Pasqualoni. His offenses at Syracuse were very good and he helped develop some great Orangemen into futer NFL stars. Rogers has strong credentials as an offensive coach and would be one of the better tutors for whomever ends up quarterbacking the Orange next season and beyond.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Rogers has no previous head coaching experience, something that is almost a prerequisite at this point. While he has a great Syracuse past, he hasn’t been around upstate New York since Donovan McNabb left, and has been out of the college game for three years. It has to be hard for someone like that to gain a footing in recruiting.

While Rogers now has pro coaching experience, do we really want a guy who’s star pupil in the NFLhas a career 68.6 rating and was benched for Gus Frerotte?

What are his chances?: Not that great. At least, I hope not that great. Rogers is fairly unimpressive compared to the other candidates. He hasn’t been at Syracuse for a decade, has been out of the college game for the past three years, and has had limited success as a pro quarterback. He might be a good offensive coach and could be a good college offensive coordinator, but he wouldn’t be a good choice as the next head coach at Syracuse.

Mark Whipple

240-whipple-01280812008-present Philadelphia Eagles (Offensive Assistant Coach)
2004-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers (Quarterbacks Coach)
1998-2003 Massachusetts (Head Coach: 49-25)
1994-1997 Brown (Head Coach: 24-16)
1988-1993 New Haven (Head Coach: 48-18)
1986-1987 New Hampshire (Offensive Coordinator)
1984 Arizona Wranglers(USFL) (Offensive Quality Control)
1983 Brown (Wide Receivers)
1981-1982 Union College (Offensive Coordinator)
1980 St. Lawrence (Assistant Coach)
1976-1978 Brown (Quarterbacks Coach)

Who is he?: Whipple is currently an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was previously the quarterbacks coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping tutor Ben Roethlisberger and winning a Super Bowl in 2005.

Before his tenure in the NFL, Whipple achieved success at D-1AA Massachusetts, compiling a 49-25 record and winning the 1998 National Championship. He also was a head coach at his alma matter, Brown University, where he had a 24-16 record in four seasons.

Whipple was viewed as a possible replacement for Tom O’Brien at Boston College in 2006, but lost out on that job to Jeff Jagodzinski.

What does he bring to the job?: Whipple is one of the most experienced candidates that has been mentioned. He combines the biggest selling point of Greg Robinson (NFL success), with college head coaching experience.

His teams at UMass were always competitive, and his experience in the Northeast should allow him to successfully recruit the area. He is a talented offensive mind and tutor, helping develop Ben Roethlisberger into one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks.

Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: While he does have great experience at the college level, he hasn’t been in the recruiting game for five years. There is no question that could hurt him in getting a quick start building his first recruiting class, and building that first class is a key to success for a coach taking over a program in the shape of ours.

There is also the question of whether or not Whipple can succeed at the D1 level. He has never been an assistant or head coach collegiately above 1AA, which raises one question: Why not? Why did no schools ever pull the trigger to bring him on board, including BC, where he was considered the front runner?

What are his chances?: Probably better than we think. Whipple brings great experience and recruiting ties with him, plus has pro pedigree. He is a good offensive coach and would hopefully be able to turn around our woeful offense.

While not having D1 experience is a red flag, there have been many successful coaches to make that leap, including Jim Tressel at Ohio State and Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech (via Navy). If we get spurned by the higher profile head coaches (Tuberville, Gill, Petersen, Holtz) and the big name coordinators (Mullens, Locksley, Addazio), Whipple’s name will appear more and more in conjunction with Syracuse. The longer the job remains open, the more likely a candidate he becomes.


5 responses to “Coaching Candidates

  1. If I were Syracuse, I would throw the bank at Dan Mullen. He has been successful where ever he has gone. Chris Petersen is too famous and if he doesn’t ask for too much money, he will just say no. Dan Mullen has never been a head coach, so maybe he would be looking to jump to Syracuse to get that first HC job.

  2. Mullen is my choice of the non-head coaches, but I think he could become a candidate at any other BCS openings that become available. Or there is the possibility he sticks around at Florida one more year to see what becomes available next season (kind of like what Skip Holtz could do if he really wants the Notre Dame job).

  3. I don’t know. While he is on Urban Meyer’s staff which hypothetically would put him in the running for lots of jobs but this is the first time I have heard his name involving filling coaching vacancies. Why couldn’t Syracuse get this guy? Seriously, I live in Atlanta where College Football is the number 1 subject on sports talk radio and I have not heard it mentioned once.

  4. I think this came out after your comment:

    Even if the Mississippi State job wasn’t open this year, I think Mullen would have waited for a different job to open up. Syracuse could have thrown a ton of money at him, but he could wait for a better situation. Plus, even though Daryl Gross says this isn’t true, I think he knows he needs a coach with head coaching experience. Hiring an assistant set us back, so we can’t have another guy learning on the fly like Robinson was.

  5. I am not so sure Mississippi State is a better situation. Aside from the climate, What can you get in Starkville that you can’t get in Syracuse? He not going to win a conference title there, I can almost promise you that.

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