Minnesota AD Mark Coyle fired head football coach Tracy Claeys. With a 9-4 finish in his first season, it was more about off-the-field issues, namely his support for a player boycott.
With the situation currently tumultuous, Minnesota is probably looking for an experienced head coach. Here are eight potential replacements.
P.J. Fleck [Western Michigan] Row the boat. Fleck would be a young, exciting hire who would have college football Twitter aflutter. A large, vibrant personality could smooth things over. He’s also a talented recruiter in B1G country. The question for Fleck is whether you wait for a job with more potential upside.
Bryan Harsin [Boise State] Boise State player and longtime assistant. Harsin has 31 wins in three seasons since taking over for Chris Petersen. Minnesota AD Mark Coyle was the man who hired him. He would be young and offense oriented. One caveat: his track record outside Boise has not been as impressive.
Craig Bohl [Wyoming] Bohl won three FCS titles at NDSU. He got Wyoming to eight wins in his third season, pulling off an upset over Boise State. Though, losing four of five to close the season curbs the Lesenthusiasm a bit. Bohl does have experience at a major program (Nebraska assistant from 1995-02). But, he also turns 59 in July.
Troy Calhoun [Air Force] Calhoun has a consistent track record of doing more with less at Air Force and is coming off his second 10-win season in three years. He was a candidate the last time the Minnesota job came open in 2010. He’s 50. If he wants to leave his alma mater for a major conference job, this would be the opportunity.
Bo Pelini [Youngstown State] Pelini has a fractious personality. But, the guy can coach. He won 66 games in 7 years at Nebraska and never finished with a losing conference record. They haven’t reached his plateau since he left. He got Youngstown State to the FCS Playoffs final in year two. He would be motivated to take down Nebraska. He’s still only 49. Pelini can wait, with the Nebraska checks still coming. But, it would be hard to see a better opportunity for him to jump back in than Minnesota.
Les Miles [Unemployed] There seems to have been more media interest in Les Miles coaching again than real interest from programs. Miles turns 64 in November. His inability to adapt to the modern era got him fired. But, he’s a big personality. He can recruit. No one else in this coaching search has five Top 10 finishes and a national title on his résumé.
Greg Schiano [Ohio State – DC] Schiano built a program up from nothing at Rutgers. He’s an excellent recruiter. He’s been an NFL head coach. He had a commendable season as DC at Ohio State. He’s still only 50. Of course, all this was apparent after he left Tampa Bay and didn’t get a college job and this offseason when he didn’t seem to get much consideration.
Chris Klieman [NDSU] Klieman took over for Bohl at NDSU. He won two more FCS titles and lost in the semifinals this year. His Bison team upset Iowa in 2016. He’s 10 years younger than Bohl. But, he only has one year of FBS experience, as Kansas DB coach in 1997.