News this morning that Jim Tressel had resigned as the head coach of Ohio State didn’t shock too many. With the recent events in the football program replacing the coach seemed inevitable. Speculation now begins on who could be the next Buckeyes head coach. Luke Fickell has been named the interim head coach for the 2011 season. You may recall that Fickell was scheduled to be the Buckeyes head coach during the five-game suspension for Tressel. Now he will get his chance earlier than expected to be the boss of the Buckeye program.
Fickell has fallen into a very good situation. If he is indeed going to be the head coach for the 2011 season then he will have a chance to prove he can be the guy. He has spent most of his coaching career at Ohio State and played for the Buckeyes. If this next season goes poorly for Fickell then names will start to fall in as potential replacements.
Three names that immediately come to mind are former Florida head coach and current ESPN analyst Urban Meyer, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
Here is a look at reasons for and against those three names:
Meyer left the Gators stating that he wanted to spend more time with his family. He has spent a lot of time on the road with ESPN since then. Perhaps the family thing isn’t working out as he thought it might. It has been reported before that Ohio State is the dream coaching job for the successful coach. Meyer is an Ohio guy and he certainly has many of the fans in Columbus in his corner. Fans have constantly rumored that Meyer has bought a house close to the university. Meyer has a contract with ESPN for this year, is that the reason Fickell gets the interim tag for a year? Time will tell.
Pelini has resurrected a Nebraska football program that disappeared off the college football map during the Bill Callahan era. Pelini has a nice contact with Nebraska so why break it? He, like Meyer, is an Ohio guy and played for the Buckeyes. If this is a dream job for Pelini then now is the time to go after it. He may not have another chance to become the program’s head coach during his coaching career. This is a big year for Pelini if he is interested in the job. With Nebraska entering the Big Ten this season it will give Ohio State officials a chance to keep a close eye on the coach.
Stoops doesn’t have the ties to the program that Meyer and Pelini do, but he is from Ohio. He has been successful. Those two things put his name in the mix as a potential replacement. Many would ask why Stoops would want to leave Oklahoma. It is the idea of returning home. He has accomplished everything at OU, perhaps the challenge of doing it at another program would be intriguing.
Gary Patterson – Could be higher on the wish list for the Buckeyes if Meyer and Pelini fall through. Patterson has been tremendous at TCU, but does seem loyal to the Horned Frogs program.
Mark Dantonio – The current Michigan State coach was once the top assistant for Tressel. He served as a GA and defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes.
Mark Stoops – Currently with Florida State, but a Youngstown, Ohio native and searching for his first head coaching job.
Luke Fickell has been named the coach for the 2011 season. Is this Fickell’s job to lose or is it Meyer’s job to decline after the 2011 season?