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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Michigan Coaching Candidates

With Lloyd Carr making his retirement official yesterday, one of the best coaching positions in college football became available. All eyes immediately turned south towards LSU's current coach Les Miles who is the obvious favorite for the position. Here is a look at Miles as well as some other candidates that have been rumored as possible replacements for Carr.

Les Miles - LSU

Les Miles has been put in an awfully tough position with the timing of Carr's retirement. There is no secret in the college football world that Michigan is the one school that Miles has worked his entire career to coach. However, like every coach in the country, Miles dreams of winning the National Championship and he has the opportunity right in front of him this season at LSU. Miles must have learned a bit from Nick Saban's jump to Alabama last season, because he isn't saying much when asked about Michigan. In the end, it would appear that Miles is the best fit for the Wolverines and he is the early favorite to take over next year.

Brian Kelly - Cincinnati

Kelly took over at Cincinnati this season after the departure of Mark Dantonio to Michigan State and has coached the Bearcats to a 8-3 record thus far. Before coming to Cincinnati, Kelly coached at Central Michigan for three years and turned the Chippewas around from 4-7 in his first season to 9-4 and a MAC Championship. Kelly started his career at Grand Valley State and won two Division II National Coach of the Year awards with the Lakers. Kelly has no ties with the University of Michigan, but is considered one of the best coaches in the nation.

Kirk Ferentz - Iowa

Ferentz's name is getting tossed around in Ann Arbor mainly because Michigan's president Mary Sue Coleman was at Iowa before taking the position at U-M and reportedly had a very good relationship with the Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz has won 2 Big Ten co-Championships at Iowa, but recently his Hawkeyes have struggled with successive seasons of 7-5, 6-7, and now 6-6 in the last three years. Also, the fact that 15 Iowa football players have been arrested since the start of spring practice this year in Iowa City, and most in Ann Arbor are hoping the Wolverines look elsewhere.

Jeff Tedford - Cal

Tedford, considered one of the best offensive minds in the nation, has been brought up by some in the Michigan media. With Cal struggling this season out west, Tedford may be looking for a new challenge and fresh start. Cal was 1-10 the season before Tedford took over, and he has had the Bears bowl eligible every year since. There is no question that he can coach and recruit, but I wonder how high he is on AD Bill Martin's list.

Bob Stoops - Oklahoma

Wishful thinking has some Michigan fans salivating at the idea of Stoops moving north to take the position in Ann Arbor. Stoops is a 'Big Ten guy' who grew up in Ohio and played college ball at Iowa for Hayden Fry. He would also certainly know how to coach a rivalry with his experience coaching in the Red River Shoot-out with Texas. It seems like a stretch to picture Stoops leaving a great position as Big XII bully at Oklahoma. And it would take a lot of money to top what he is making as Sooner's head coach.

Jim Harbaugh - Stanford

If the Wolverines are looking for a 'Michigan man' to take the opening left by Carr's retirement, they may reach out to former Wolverine QB Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh burst on to the national scene earlier this season with Stanford's shocking upset at USC. He came to Stanford from Division 1-AA San Diego where he led the Toreros to back-to-back 11 win seasons in three short years. Harbaugh did rub some fans and alumni wrong with comments he made early this season about Michigan and their academic standards. That will likely keep him out of the Wolverine's search, and Michigan will likely turn to a more proven and experienced coach.