The Memphis coaching job that came open this week with Tommy West's dismissal could be an attractive one. The school needs to commit to improving the facilities. The next coach will inherit a solid program and be expected to build Memphis into a consistent bowl team and possibly help the school join a Big Six league.
Here's a look at some prime candidates:
Tommy Bowden: He is sitting out this year after coaching Clemson for 10 years. Tommy has that Bowden cachet that would resonate with recruits and help raise money among boosters.
Terry Bowden: After being fired at Auburn in 1998, Terry remained out of coaching until taking over Division II power North Alabama. He has the name to attract recruits and help raise money.
Gunter Brewer: The Oklahoma offensive coordinator previously served as Minnesota's offensive coordinator. Brewer is the son of former Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer.
Joe DeForest: The Oklahoma State associate head coach/special teams coordinator annually is lauded as one of the nation's top recruiters.
Phillip Fulmer: The ex-Tennessee coach said he wants to coach again, but he also has said he only wants to work somewhere that he can win.
Gus Malzahn: Back in 2005, Malzahn was head coach of Springdale (Ark.) High School. Now, the Auburn offensive coordinator is coveted. His offense has been prolific at Arkansas, Tulsa and Auburn.
Jim McElwain: He's done good work in two seasons as Alabama's offensive coordinator.
Rick Stockstill: He has made Middle Tennessee State one of the top Sun Belt programs. Stockstill is a persuasive recruiter and coach who is ready for the next challenge.
Charlie Strong: The standout Florida defensive coordinator seems destined to land a top job at some point. If Strong doesn't earn this job, he could be a candidate at Central Florida if that post opens.
Tommy Tuberville: The former Auburn head coach led the Tigers to some success for 10 years before losing his job after last season.
WKU candidates list long
The Western Kentucky job will attract many quality candidates. It's a program with decent resources, a strong tradition and solid fan base. Here's an early look at some of the possible candidates.
Jim Chaney: The Tennessee offensive coordinator is ready for the next step. He coordinated the Drew Brees' offenses at Purdue and worked in the NFL with St. Louis for three years before joining Lane Kiffin in Knoxville.
Romeo Crennel: The former Cleveland Browns head coach is a WKU alum, but he hasn't coached in the college ranks since working at Georgia Tech in 1980.
Joe DeForest: An assistant head coach at Oklahoma State, DeForest is good recruiter and dynamic coach.
Tony Franklin: The Middle Tennessee State offensive coordinator is innovative, a Kentucky native and Murray State alum. He's renowned for his "Tony Franklin System," building strong offenses at Troy before a disastrous stint as Auburn's offensive coordinator.
Chris Hatcher: The Georgia Southern coach is a disciple of Hal Mumme. Hatcher won a Division II national title at Valdosta State in 2004.
Lance Leipold: If WKU wants to think outside of the box, it may check out the Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach. Leipold has built a Division III power, winning a national title in 2007 and playing for the championship last season.
Paul Petrino: The Arkansas offensive coordinator and brother of Razorback coach Bobby, Paul has developed into a top offensive schemer who knows the recruiting terrain after working on Bobby's staff at Louisville.
Randy Sanders: Sanders earned his stripes as offensive coordinator at Tennessee from 1999-2005, pushing the buttons on the Vols' national championship attack. Sanders has been quarterbacks coach at Kentucky since 2006, grooming Andre Woodson.
Willie Taggart: An all-time WKU great, Taggart was an assistant at Western Kentucky for seven seasons and now is running backs coach at Stanford.
Trooper Taylor: Taylor is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the nation. He served as co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State before taking a job as assistant head coach at Auburn.
Eddie Gran: The long-time Auburn assistant has been a key member of Lane Kiffin's first staff at Tennessee, helping build a pro-style attack as the running back coach. Gran also is a top recruiter who is well connected throughout the South.
- offensive coordinator
- Middle Tennessee State