Potential Candidates for Buff Head Coach – BuffZone

In firing head football coach Karl Dorrell on Sunday, Colorado athletic director Rick George has bought some time.

After a goodbye this week, CU has seven games remaining and George is not expected to announce the next full-time Buffs manager until after November 19th. 26 final against Utah.

It’s a nice change from the 10-day process George went through to find Dorrell in February 2020. George has time and plans to take advantage of it to find a new leader for the program.

“I promise you that I will work as hard as possible to bring our football program back to glory,” he said. “I am more confident than ever in Colorado football and we will find a leader who will bring us back to the fore. I’m excited to go out to find that guy.

“The next leader on our football program will be someone who is an incredible motivator, someone who has a passion for winning and transforming young people into leaders both on and off the pitch.”

George said he doesn’t have a specific profile for what he’s looking for, other than finding someone with “high energy” and strong motivational and leadership skills.

Sure, he has a slate of candidates he wants to pursue. That list may or may not include some of the names that are launched publicly. But here’s the initial list of BuffZone candidates to keep an eye on as the Buffs go through their hiring process.

Blake Anderson, Utah State Head Coach: Aggies had a rough start (1-4), but Anderson took them to the Mountain West title last year, his first in Logan, Utah. He also won two Sun Belt titles during his time in Arkansas State. In more than eight seasons as head coach, he has a 63-44 record with three bowl appearances. He also has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator.

Marcus Arroyo, UNLV coach: After going 2-18 in his first two years at UNLV, Arroyo is 4-1 with the Rebels this year (including a win over Anderson’s Aggies). He has more to prove as head coach, but has built a strong reputation as an assistant, most recently as Oregon’s offensive coordinator from 2017-19. Born in California and former San Jose State quarterback, he has deep roots in the Pac-12 footprint.

Troy Calhoun, Air Force Head Coach: Whenever CU needs a coach, his name has popped up, partly because he has shown some level of interest. After CU fired Dan Hawkins in 2010, Calhoun was vying for the job. He interviewed for a job in 2020. Would he leave the Air Force for Boulder this time? He is 115-76 with 11 bowls in 16 seasons with the Falcons.

Matt Entz, North Dakota state head coach: The previous two NDSU coaches, Craig Bohl and Chris Klieman, are now enjoying successful races at Wyoming and Kansas State respectively. Now in his fourth season at the NDSU, Entz has won two FCS national titles and has a 41-5 record. Before being a head coach, he was a defensive manager for 20 years.

Jeff Grimes, Baylor’s offensive coordinator: He has never been a head coach, but has had very prolific offenses as a coordinator, both at Baylor for the past two seasons and at BYU (2018-20). A longtime online offensive coach, he knows Boulder. He was coach / assistant coach of the Buffs line from 2007-2008. He has spent the last 22 seasons coaching at BYU or Power 5 schools.

Alex Grinch, USC Defensive Coordinator: Another highly respected assistant who has yet to be a head coach. He transformed Washington State defense as Cougars coordinator from 2015 to 2017. After spending 2018 in the state of Ohio, he was hired as a defensive coordinator in Oklahoma in 2019. This year he followed coach Lincoln Riley from Norman in Los Angeles.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin is shown during the Tigers’ defeat to LSU in an NCAA college football game on Saturday Oct.18, 2022, in Auburn, Alaska. (Photo AP / John Bazemore)

Bryan Harsin, Auburn coach: It’s only a matter of time before Auburn pulls the plug on Harsin, who is only in his second year with the Tigers. He was never very suitable and has a 9-9 record there. Before that, however, he went 69-19 with three Mountain West titles in seven seasons at Boise State. He won the Sun Belt title in his only year in Arkansas State (2013). Overall, he is 85-33 and his teams have always been suitable for bowling.

Tom Herman, CBS Sport: He was fired from Texas in January. 2, 2021, four days after his exhausted roster defeated CU, 55-23, at the Alamo Bowl. He went 32-18 with four bowls wins and three consecutive top 25 finishes in four seasons at Texas, but that wasn’t enough for Texas. That’s more than enough in Boulder. Herman also went 22-4 in two seasons as Houston’s head coach (2015-16). Before being a head coach, he spent 10 years as an attacking coordinator in four stages (Texas State, Rice, Iowa State, Ohio State).

Jay Hill, Weber State Head Coach: Living from Utah, he may not be interested in CU – and it’s clearly a lower profile name than most on the list – but it’s worth a look. The Wildcats are 4-0 this year (including the Utah State win) and Hill is 62-36 with four Big Sky titles and five FCS playoff appearances in nine years. Previously, the cornerback from Lehi, Utah, a native and former Utah native, was a longtime assistant with the Utes (2001-13).

Bronco Mendenhall, unemployed: He resigned from his position as head coach in Virginia in December because he wanted a hiatus. CU could offer him a chance to return to coaching and close to his native Utah. He has a career record of 135-81 at BYU (2005-15) and Virginia (2016-21), with 14 bowl appearances. His freshman year in Virginia was his only missed season.

Dan Mullen, ESPN: Like Herman, he was fired from his latest job because he couldn’t live up to high expectations. But he still had a successful run in Florida from 2018-21, going 34-15, with three balls and three top 13 finishes. Previously, he was 69-46 with eight consecutive balls at Mississippi State (2009 -17). The only story in the west was that of Utah’s QB coach from 2003-2004.

Gary Patterson, Texas Special Assistant: His incredibly successful run at TCU ended after he and the school split midway through the 2021 season, after the Horned Frogs started 3-5. From 2001 to 2020, however, he went 178-73 with 17 bowls and seven top-10 finishes. The defensive-minded manager is in his first season with Texas. Hiring Patterson would be an intriguing opening of 2023, as the Buffs visit the TCU.

Bobby Petrino, head coach of the state of Missouri: There is a lot of baggage from Petrino’s past and it would be a tough sell for the CU administration because of that. But Petrino is a winner. He is 15-11 in the state of Missouri, but 134-65 overall as head coach, with stops in Louisville (twice), Arkansas and Western Kentucky. He has led the teams to 11 bowls in 14 seasons at FBS level. The Montana native also has several years of experience as an offensive coordinator.

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