Thursday, December 7, 2006

ACC Coaching Carousel Update

Well, it looks as if one open job has now been filled in ACC-ville......which unexpectedly has opened up another spot.

In a bit of a surprising move, all signs point to Boston College coach Tom O'Brien accepting the vacant head coaching position at Atlantic Division foe N.C. State, where he will get an annual chance to stick it to Eagle fans and show that 9-3 and mid-level bowls ain't all that bad.

Predictably, the two most prominent BC bloggers are in high spirits, albeit to varying degrees:

>>>Good Night Tom, and Good Luck
>>>F*** Off Tom!

Which now leads us to the newly available head coaching spot in Chestnut Hill. Since no official announcement has been made on O'Brien's departure, and with other head coaching spots open nationally, I'm not going to delve into the Eagles' opening just yet since many of the potential candidates could be snapped up by the time their official search gets underway. However, I will say that there is a great potential for disaster if BC doesn't hit a home run with this hire...unlike NC State, UNC and to a lesser extent Miami, whose programs are in relative shambles, the Eagles program is in it's best shape since the Doug Flutie days. The new Wolfpack, Tar Heel and Cane skippers could go 8-4 the next two years and would be lauded. That is certainly not the case for the next BC skipper. The Eagles are in a precarious spot; they have driven off - and make no mistake about it, O'Brien was driven out by the fan base - the winningest coach in school history, to a division rival no less. Going 8-4/9-3 every year, and winning 6 straight bowls wasn't good enough for BC, who clearly are at a disadvantage recruiting-wise and facility-wise from most of the other ACC programs. All of that is going to give every candidate for the job a bit of pause.

The Miami head coaching vacancy is apparently not generating the buzz Queen Shalala and Court Jester Dee were expecting. Steve Spurrier and Greg Schiano said no thanks in nearly record time. Texas Tech's Mike Leach, a curious possibility, interviewed in Coral Gables a few days ago. Hurricane DC Randy Shannon interviewed yesterday. Leach, while certainly a fall-back candidate, would not be an out-of-the ordinary hire for Miami (i.e. not "splashy" at the time). They plucked unheralded Jimmy Johnson from Oklahoma State in 1985, and no-name Dennis Erickson from Washington State in 1989. The Canes got a few rings out of those fellas. Still, Leach is a quirky dude, and perhaps a risky choice for Miami.

Last and probably least, the Florida State vacancy at offensive coordinator has been reliably linked at various times to the following: Norm Chow, Jimbo Fisher, Larry Fedora, Steve Logan (former ECU head coach and now an OC in NFL-Europe), Chris Hatcher (head coach at Div. II Valdosta State), George Henshaw (FSU OC from '79-'82, now with the New Orleans Saints), and Frank Cignetti (recently axed as UNC's OC, was much more successful as OC at Fresno State before). Insight from folks in the know say that Fisher is the guy if he can't land a head coaching gig somewhere, with Steve Logan climbing up the charts. Chow is considered an outside shot as he is clearly going after a fairly prominent head coaching job, while Hatcher and Cignetti are the fall-back guys if all of the other candidates decline.

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