clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michigan's coaching search, and the five guys they should hire...but won't

Have you heard? Michigan's looking for a head coach! Here are some guys who Michigan should consider hiring, but won't.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan athletic department and fans may have their eyes gazing at a certain someone who is currently residing in a westerly--or perhaps Gulfy--direction, but there are other men out there who are also deserving of a look...and perhaps even of a hire. But Michigan won't pull the trigger on these guys (in no particular order):

P.J. Fleck

Age: 34

Current Job Status: Head coach at Western Michigan (since 2013)

Coaching stops: Ohio State--grad assistant (2006); Northern Illinois--wide receivers coach (2007-2009); Rutgers--wide receivers coach (2010-2011); Northern Illinois--offensive coordinator (2012); Tampa Bay Buccaneers--wide receivers coach (2012).

During Fleck's time as a grad assistant in Columbus, the Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship and then lost to Florida in the 2007 BCS title game. After returning to his alma mater, Northern Illinois, to coach the wide receivers for both Joe Novak and Jerry Kill, Fleck moved on to Rutgers for one year under Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights had a rough 4-8 season in 2010, which allowed Fleck to return once again to NIU for one whole day, only to reunite with Schiano in Tampa. After one year with the Bucs, Fleck was hired by Western Michigan after the Broncos fired Bill Cubit. Western Michigan went 1-11 in Fleck's first year, but have since turned in an 8-4 performance in 2014. In that time, the Broncos went from scoring a paltry 17.2 points per game in 2013 to 34.6 in 2014.

Why Michigan should hire him: as someone with an offensive frame of mind, P.J. Fleck could take a lackluster Michigan offense, take advantage of stellar quarterback and receiver recruits and turn the program around within two years. Hey, if he can do it in Kalamazoo, he can do it in Ann Arbor, right? Plus, already having recruiting ties within the state of Michigan can't hurt.

Why Michigan can't/won't hire him: not enough experience. There are up-and-comers, and then there are guys who are too fresh. Holding a head coaching position in Kalamazoo for two years and a 9-15 record isn't the splash that the Wolverines want to make.

Pat Narduzzi

Age: 48

Current job status: Defensive coordinator at Michigan State (since 2007)

Coaching stops: Miami (OH)--grad assistant (1990-1991); Miami (OH)--wide receivers (1992); Rhode Island--linebackers (1993-1997); Rhode Island--defensive coordinator (1998-1999); Northern Illinois--linebackers (2000-2002); Miami (OH)--defensive coordinator (2003); Cincinnati--defensive coordinator (2004-2006).

Ugh! As Michigan fans we know all too well the fantastic things that Pat Narduzzi's defenses have been able to accomplish. Regardless of his other stops, his time at Michigan State has been nothing short of remarkable. A juggernaut that does what juggernauts do, and very little drop off in performance from year to year. It may have taken a little while to get there, but the Spartans' defense is as elite as they come.

Why Michigan should hire him: because everyone has seen MSU's defenses. If Narduzzi could take what is already a fairly strong unit and turn them into something elite, it could possibly make up for some of the offensive deficiencies we've seen of late.

Why Michigan can't/won't hire him: he seems to be quite loyal to Mark Dantonio, following him from the University of Cincinnati to Michigan State. Even when he had an opportunity to take the head coaching position at Texas A&M in 2012, he stayed with Dantonio. Plus, you have to wonder if the rivalry with Michigan would prevent one of their assistants from moving over to Ann Arbor.

Tracy Claeys

Age: 46

Current job status: Defensive coordinator at Minnesota (since 2011)

Coaching stops: Saginaw Valley State--defensive line (1995-1998); Emporia State--defensive coordinator (1999-2000); Southern Illinois--defensive coordinator (2001-2007); Northern Illinois--defensive coordinator (2008-2010).

If you're looking for consistency, you've found it. Each one of his stops above has been with Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. Along with each of his stops, the team has continued to improve overall. Only one time in Jerry Kill's career (thus Claeys') has the team failed, and that was with a one-game backslide while at Southern Illinois. In 2014, Minnesota's defense was 7th in the Big Ten, and ranked 36th in the country (seven spots better than 2013).

Why Michigan should hire him: consistency. Again, having been everywhere with Jerry Kill has given that entire staff a certain amount of consistency that is hard to find. And Jerry Kill's ways work. While Kill was out with health issues, Claeys took over as the acting head coach for the Gophers. In seven games, the team went 4-3.

Why Michigan can't/won't hire him: Everyone Loves Jerry. The thing that could be a boon to Michigan football is also the thing that could prevent this hire. The fact that Kill's staff has stuck with him this long is a testament to the type of man Kill is and how dedicated his coaches are to him. I'm not sure if any of his assistants have ever come up as candidates for other jobs in the past, but they obviously didn't bite on any of them.

Tom Herman

Age: 39

Current job status: Offensive coordinator/QB coach at Ohio State (since 2012)

Coaching stops: Texas--grad assistant (1999-2000); Sam Houston State--wide receivers (2001-2004); Texas State--offensive coordinator (2005-2006); Rice--offensive coordinator/QB coach (2007-2008); Iowa State--offensive coordinator/QB coach (2009-2011).

Like a voyeur, I'm staring through the windows of the hot teams on the Big Ten block, and one of the hottest teams is Ohio State. Since Herman's arrival in Columbus, he has made a huge impact on the Buckeyes' program by barely missing a beat when starting QB Braxton Miller went down in each of the last two seasons. In 2013, it was Kenny Guiton who showed his chops by going 75 of 109 for 749 yards, 14 TDs and 2 INTs. Guiton also had 330 rushing yards and five touchdowns. In 2014, Miller went down again and was replaced by J.T. Barrett, who went out and set every damn record he could possibly find.

J.T. Barrett Records

Why Michigan should hire him: he seems to like to move around, never staying in any one place for longer than three years. With some potential studs at the quarterback position for Michigan, someone like Tom Herman could make the Wolverines' offense explode like never before.

Why Michigan can't/won't hire him: as with Pat Narduzzi at Michigan State, you have to wonder about whether the climate would allow for anyone from Ohio State to head up north.

Bob Stoops

Age: 54

Current job status: Head coach at Oklahoma (present 1999)

Coaching stops: Iowa--grad assistant (1983-1984); Iowa volunteer assistant (1985-1987); Ken State--assistant (1988); Kansas State--DBs (1989-1990); Kansas State--co-DC (1991-1995); Florida--DC (1996-1998).

Bob Stoops gets a ton of crap for winning "only" one National Championship in his time at Oklahoma. As though everyone should win multiple titles. Sure, he's had some teams underachieve and others overachieve, but there are few coaches out there who can maintain the level that he has in Norman. He's never had a losing record, has seven conference titles, and one national championship. I'd take that.

Why Michigan should hire him: if Jim Hackett wants to make a big, smart splash, then this would definitely fit. A man with a track record of success on a consistent basis is what Michigan needs. Bob Stoops can provide.

Why Michigan can't/won't hire him: salary. It's probably going to take upwards of $6 million to get Stoops to leave Oklahoma, and Michigan hasn't had the reputation of spending large amounts of cash on a coaching staff. If they did this time around, it would be well worth the money.