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The Short List

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Now that UNC has given John Bunting his noticed aside from groveling about for our dignity during the last five games of the season, the administration will be engaging in a coaching search. Now, Dick Baddour's record on searching for a coach to head the two major revenue programs at UNC is abysmal. In fact it's worse than abysmal considering that he is the only AD I know to hire and fire two football coaches as well as overseeing the hiring and forced resignation of the basketball coach in a major basketball program. So our first hope is that Baddour is kept far away from the process or listens to someone more versed in such things than himself. And it appears that might be the case since during the press conference today he indicated that UNC would retain the services of Chuck Neinas. Neinas is well known for assisting major college programs in their search for coaches and athletic directors which also makes me wonder if he would be willing to give UNC a two for the price of one deal.

Since this event was anticipated, somewhat highly in certain quarters, there is no shortage of head coach wish lists. In fact David Glenn mentioned that some coaches were calling UNC even before Bunting's fate was decided which is a little disturbing. Making progress in the coaching search is an imperative when it comes to holding onto the recruiting class UNC has in hand. Last week I documented the N&O's list of possible candidates most of which were more comical than realistic. Inside Carolina's Buck Sanders posted his list today and the message boards have been discussing this in depth since the Clemson game. So I think I will join the party.

The Untouchables

Bobby Petrino, Lousiville

You would just as soon have monkies fly out of nose than see this one happen. Petrino is under contract until 2016 making $2.5 million a year to lead a Cardinal program which is dominating the Big East and does not deal with stringent academic requirements of the ACC and the UNC system. Besides, Louisiville is in the top 10 and it would make little sense for him to leave all of that to try and rebuild UNC.

Butch Davis, unemployed

Everyone wants Butch Davis. For some fans this is the only choice there is and anyone else is an abject failure. Two things that keep Butch Davis out of Chapel Hill. (1)UNC will not pay him what he would be asking especially with the current buyouts for the coaching staff as well as the money needed for a new coach. Then again some have suggested the cap for a football coach is Roy Williams salary minus one dollar. They are probably right and Davis is looking for the $2 million plus range. (2) He is waiting to see what happens at Miami with Larry Coker since Miami can foot the bill for him. UNC cannot sit around and watch Davis sit around so I do not think it will be him.

Possible But Not Likely
Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia

There have been rumors Rodrguez has been contacted and also that he might be a little peeved he is not making as much money as he thinks he deserves. So a UNC calling card would might also be used as leverage to pull a Beamer and bilk WVU for more money while leaving UNC at the altar. I also have not been impressed with his teams and during the WVU-MD game earlier this season I witnessed a team that became total unfocused and even engaged in some unsportsmanlike behavior on the field.

Steve Logan, former ECU head coach and current 620 the Bull radio host

At least according to his co-workers on the air, Logan would be a poor fit personality wise at UNC. I think his knowledge of the game, his articulation with the media, and his general demeanor would be a refreshing change but I can see where they are coming from and it is not likely to happen.

Tom O' Brien, Boston College

O'Brien is not leaving BC. Aside from the fact he is 59, I think he is very comfortable in Chestnut Hill and probably finds recruiting and coaching there less pressure packed than it would be in North Carolina. One reason for that is that Boston is such a pro sports town than most of population is caught up with the Red Sox and Patriots during the football season and college sports are an afterthought. So O'Brien can quietly toil and produce a consistent winner without dealing with the same pressures coaches in the more traditional football parts of the ACC encounter.

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

It will be a cold day in hell before the ACC blesses a coach leaving one school for another in the same state. And please spare me the "ACC can't stop it" garbage. They most certainly can make moves to keep it from happening and anyone who thinks otherwise is quite frankly not keeping up with things.

Greg Schiano, Rutgers

He is a New Jersey guy and he has built a bowl team at Rutgers. He is not leaving.

Realistic Possibilities

Paul Johnson, Navy

This is the darling of the IC message board. Johnson's name has been bantered around so often that I have read threads asking if UNC recruit Mike Paulus would fit in Johnson's offensive system. The big plus for Johnson has been his ability to win football games at Navy which it is assumed is being done with limited talent. The two primary questions surrounding Johnson are whether he can recruit since at Navy recruiting is vastly different than it would be in the ACC and also whether the offense he uses can be effective against defenses as quick as the ones at Miami, Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. And since Johnson is at Navy it is assumed he understands things like player discipline and running a clean program.

Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt

Johnson enjoys the same comfort O'Brien does at Boston College of low expectations. However he might be ready to move into a program that is ready to be a consistent winner and ready to contend in the upper tier of the ACC. As for connections, Johnson coached at Furman and actually beat UNC 28-3 in 1999 during Carl Torbush's second season. Vandy is also playing football at a higher level beating Tennessee last season and this season knocked of Georgia in Athens.

Steve Krahthorpe, Tulsa

He has built a proven winner in a upper level non-BCS conference. Tulsa was essentially a perenniel loser when Kragthorpe arrived and he has turned them into a winner and conference champion in Conference USA. Kragthorpe's specialty is offense having been a quarterbacks coach during his assistant coaching years. Tulsa's offense often scores over 30 points a game. Obviously the importance of hiring a good defensive coordinator would take precedence. I like the idea of an upper level non-BCS head coach coming in and take the reins of the program.

Any Assistant Coach from a Winning BCS Football Program
Obviously many, including myself, feel this was the route Baddour should have gong six years ago when current Georgia head coach Mark Richt was the offensive coordinator at Florida State. In many respects you know exactly what you are getting and at the same time are taking a coach blind in certain areas. What you know if that they can flat out run a game plan, coach players on the field, and play the Xs and Os game. What you do not know is whether they can handle the recruiting system, can they deal with the media, the boosters, maintain control of the program, mete out discipline when needed, and generally being the one responsible for everything football at the school. So while one guy or another might be geniuses on offense or defense there is limited knowledge on how they would do running the rest of the program which takes excellent time management and organizational skills and the ability to assemble a coaching staff and sell the school to recruits. So it is possibly a riskier proposition but less risk than if you were hiring an NFL assistant with no college coaching experience outside of a DIII school.