There are a lot of names being thrown out there to replace Mike Riley, from Beau Baldwin to Pat Hill (Come on Canzano, really?). And in recent days, the hot rumor is that Bobby D. and President Ray are swinging for the fences — which is awesome news. But just in case if they come up a little short, here are the top 3 coaches I hope they take hard look at.
First off, I think it’s in OSU’s best interest to hire someone who understands the Pac-12 landscape, especially if it’s an assistant coach from a fellow conference school. He would understand OSU’s challenges and what it would take to recruit to Corvallis. He also would know what it takes to go head-to-head against other Pac-12 programs.
1. Justin Wilcox, USC Defensive Coordinator. Despite being only 38 years old, Wilcox has been defensive coordinator at four schools (Boise State, Tennessee, USC, UW), and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a head coach. He’s no stranger to Oregon, having attended Junction City High School and the University of Oregon. OSU, as strange as it seems, could be the perfect place for his first head coaching job. Wilcox would bring much-needed intensity to the defensive side of the ball, have a lot of recruiting connections, and be hungry to prove himself. Plus, it would be fun to see him go against his alma matter in the Civil War. My only question about him is can he put together a good staff, especially on offense?
2. Scott Frost, Oregon Offensive Coordinator. A year older than Wilcox, Frost is another young up-and-comer. Frost has an impressive resume. He’s played for some legendary coaches including Bill Walsh, Tom Osborne, Bill Belichick, and Jon Gruden. Also, while he may be making waves for his offensive prowess, Frost has coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball, having coached linebackers and then becoming defensive coordinator at Northern Iowa. So he would bring a strong knowledge of both offense and defense, lots of energy, and probably could slow down the Ducks offense. If Frost is the guy, it could mean keeping Chris Brasfield, too, who has been one of the Beavers’ best coaches and recruiters the past two seasons. But is Frost ready to be a head coach?
3. Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington Head Coach. The lone non-Pac-12 coach in my top 3, Baldwin is still a familiar name to Beavers fans — for the wrong reason. He led EWU to a shocking 49-46 win over OSU in 2013. And this season, the Eagles hung with Washington before falling late. The bottom line is Baldwin’s offense can put up points quickly and is exciting. Plus, he’s younger too (42) and probably wants to move up to the next level. But that’s the major question surrounding Baldwin. The track record of FSC coaches moving up and being successful is dismal. And the last EWU coach to make the jump, Paul Wulff, is a prime example. During his four-year stint with Washington State, he went 9-40! Baldwin probably would do better than that, but the question remains, and is valid.
Thoughts on Hoke: There’s been a lot of chatter about former Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who coached at OSU from 1989 to 1994. He just doesn’t excite me. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire at San Diego State or Michigan. And if you can’t win a lot at a school like Michigan, how can you expect to at OSU? Plus, the fact that he continued to play a QB who obviously had a head injury continues to rub me the wrong way. That said, I’d still prefer Hoke over Bronco Mendenhall…
Who are your top 3 candidates to replace Mike Riley?