South Carolina fans might like some of the names Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel threw out as candidates for the team’s open head coaching job. There might be a bit more disagreement on where the job ranks.
In a roundup of coaching openings, Thamel listed the role Steve Spurrier just left as “mid-tier” alongside Maryland and behind Southern California, Miami and possibly Virginia Tech if that comes open.
“The middle tier may be generous,” wrote Thamel, a reporter generally well plugged in on a national level. “As it's the fourth-best job in the SEC East and somewhere around ninth or 10th in the SEC overall. Prior to Spurrier, the last coach with a winning record was Joe Morrison (39-28-2). There's a sneaky rebuild facet to this job, too.”
He also listed Marshall’s Doc Holliday, Louisville’s Jeff Brohm and Cal’s Sonny Dykes as names, alongside the more-discussed group of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Memphis head coach Justin Fuente, Houston head coach and former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman and Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.
Holliday is 47–26 in the middle of his sixth season with the Thundering Heard, with a 30-6 record in the past 2 1/2 seasons. Most of his career was spent at West Virginia, but he had a five-year run coaching receivers at N.C. State under Chuck Amato and was associate head coach/safeties coach/recruiting coordinator for three years with Urban Meyer at Florida.
Brohm is in his second season at Western Kentucky and has a 14-7 record. He is most closely tied to Louisville, where he worked for Bobby Petrino and Steve Kragthorpe. Brohm also had short stints at Illinois (QB coach) and UAB (offensive coordinator) and then reunited with Petrino at Western Kentucky for one year before Petrino went back to Louisville and Brohm got promoted to head coach. Brohm’s Hilltoppers run an explosive, pass-heavy offense.
Dykes is a Mike Leach disciple and employs a high-pace Air Raid offense. He spent seven years at Texas Tech, moved on to a short stint at Arizona, and has been a head coach at Louisiana Tech and Cal for the past six seasons. His last two Bulldogs teams went 8-5 and 9-3, and he has Cal at 5-2, two years removed from a 1-11 season.