Read between the lines of Comments from Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts When he announced the dismissal of Scott Frost on Sunday, the Cornhuskers’ next coaching search will fall within these parameters:
- Nebraska will have money to spend.
As an example, the university will pay more than $16 million to dump Frost after the ugly loss to Georgia Southern rather than wait a few weeks until Oct. 1, when its buyout was supposed to be cut in half.
Along with increasingly large payouts from the Big Ten, this harsh schedule indicates that Nebraska will be motivated to go beyond Frost’s $5 million annual salary and approach or even surpass the $7 million mark. dollars which has become the new benchmark for the best. -the head coaches of the Power Five line.
- Alberts will be patient (and he will have to be).
Standing out in the market can pay off if you’re evaluating candidates who can drop everything and jump straight into the job mid-season. In the last cycle, Texas Tech (Joey McGuire) and Georgia Southern (Clay Helton) hired new coaches in November, about a month before the market traditionally warms up.
Nebraska is not considering this kind of option. While the program may be able to reset the market from a financial standpoint, the likely slate of contenders for this opening will still keep the Cornhuskers tied up until the end of the regular season unless the university decides. exploits an immediately available option such as former Florida coach Dan Mullen or former Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall.
- Cornhuskers want an established head coach
This means a current head coach or a head coach who has been a head coach in the recent past. Specifically, this research is going to focus on current Power Five Head Coaches with experience developing talent, building chemistry, and establishing an identity that can serve as the foundation for the entire program.
Regardless of the money, Nebraska won’t be able to retire a head coach sitting in a higher-value program — the athletic department must sell the opener as a chance to rebuild a once-proud brand in the image of a coach, which will be very attractive to a certain type of candidate. But the biggest names in coaching aren’t putting aside a better situation just for the opportunity to make their mark on the Cornhuskers.
While things could and almost certainly will change before the end of the regular season, these are five realistic names for Nebraska’s opener among current Power Five head coaches.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State
As a candidate, Campbell is a safe and tough pick who meets three of the Cornhuskers’ main criteria.
He’s a proven Power Five coach who has achieved historic success under less than ideal circumstances identifying prospects who fit his program, regardless of their ranking as rookies or the interest of his Power peers. Five. He established a culture at Iowa State that was instrumental in the best run in program history. He’s a grinder who relishes the founding part of a coach’s tenure and would embrace the task of digging Nebraska out of the depths of recent embarrassment.
Basically, Campbell is a 300-yard course on the fairway that leaves you within birdie range but with the floor par. You know what you’re going to get: clean, solid, physical football that could play Lincoln really well. In terms of availability and interest, Campbell has had the opportunity to leave Iowa State but is waiting for the right position to become available; Nebraska may represent the sweet spot.
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Dave Doeren, North Carolina State
Not far from the subject of scrutiny after a 4-8 finish in 2019, Doeren has the Wolfpack all the way to No. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and in the mix for the most successful season ever. the history of the program. He posted seven winning records in his nine full seasons and did a pretty good job of developing top quarterbacks and rushers, two positions where Nebraska most often missed for more than a decade.
A Midwest native and assistant at Kansas and Wisconsin before being named head coach of northern Illinois, he would understand the Big Ten landscape but would need to reestablish a recruiting foothold in the Cornhuskers’ 500-mile bubble. Dull and reserved, Doeren’s personality would fit Nebraska’s ethos.
Like the last name on this list, however, for Doeren to choose the Cornhuskers would require him to abandon a lengthy construction process and relinquish ownership of a program covered top-to-bottom with his fingerprints. It might be a tough sell.
Chris Klieman, Kansas State
Few coaches active at any level have enjoyed more success than Klieman, who won four National Championship Subdivision championships in five years at North Dakota State and won eight games in his two non-COVID seasons. with the Wildcats. This year’s team just routed Missouri and looks set to take on Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas for the Big 12 crown and New Year’s Six spot.
Although well positioned with very strong job security, working in Nebraska ranks higher on the Power Five scale. On the other hand, Klieman already led the Wildcats at the start of the transition period and seems to have this year’s team destined for a Top 25. Is he ready to restart this process in a more difficult situation with the Cornhuskers?
If that’s not the easiest decision for him, Nebraska can just offer more: more money in a better conference with a deeper pool of resources.
Lance Leipold, Kansas
Fresh off an overtime win at West Virginia that leaves Kansas 2-0 for the first time since 2011, Leipold quickly reversed the Jayhawks’ losing streak and put the program on an upward trajectory for the first time in addition. of a decade. As an off-field assistant from Nebraska in the early 2000s, he understands the program, the expectations, and most importantly, the downsides that come with the position.
Like Klieman, he won big at lower levels of competition. Leipold led a powerful Division III program at Wisconsin-Whitewater, winning six national championships and playing for another, then made Buffalo one of the top teams in the MAC.
While Nebraska can almost certainly land him, it would become a much easier sell for Alberts and the athletic department if the Jayhawks could stay hot and make a run for bowl eligibility. Even if the research isn’t geared toward immediate public acclaim, there’s a question of what sort of goodwill the new recruit brings to the job: Leipold would be in a better place up front if Kansas got five or even six wins during the regular season.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Stoops would represent a home rental for the Cornhuskers based on his work transforming Kentucky from the SEC punchline into one of the toughest teams in the Power Five. He has the added record of bringing rookies out of the Big Ten country, especially Ohio. Basically, Stoops and his team developed a model designed to level the playing field with more skilled opponents, with tremendous results.
Then there’s the question: Why would he leave the SEC for a place on a historically stronger but recently much weaker program? Like Doeren, he spent years making Kentucky an annual Top 25 contender. Leaving means giving that away, of course. But the Cornhuskers can offer money and the chance to be the biggest show in town – something he will never, ever get with the Wildcats, who have worn Stoops down as evidenced by his back and forth. audiences with basketball coach John Calipari.
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