Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 2, 2014

So, who?s next at Michigan now that Brady Hoke officially is out? I think the school has to hire an offensive-minded coach who has been a successful head coach.

They could go the route of a hot coordinator, but I think the school may not want to roll the dice on an unproven head coaching commodity.

Still, the Wolverines can?t get boxed into a framework and need to cast a wide net when looking for a coach in hopes of restoring luster to a program that hasn?t won the Big Ten since 2004.

Here are some names-in no particular order–that would seem to be possible targets for Michigan.


Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. The 42-year-old has lifted the Bulldogs among the elite in the nation in six seasons in Starkville. Can things get much better? Is Mullen ready for a new challenge at a school with a higher ceiling? He has proven offensive chops, serving as a coordinator at Florida under Urban Meyer from 2005-08 prior to landing the Mississippi State gig.

Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers. Dream hire? Yes. Likely to happen? No. Many in Michigan Nation pine for Harbaugh to return to his alma mater and restore order. But reports indicate that the 50-year-old Harbaugh is more of an NFL guy. Still, the dream won?t die among some Maize and Blue fans.

Les Miles, LSU. He reportedly was primed to take this job when Rich Rodriguez was hired in 2008, but Miles stayed in Baton Rouge and thrived. A true ?Michigan Man? who played for Bo Schembechler, Miles has built a national power at LSU since 2005 and won the national title in 2007. But the 61-year-old Miles may be ready for a change and a place to author one more chapter in his illustrious career that has seen him go 131-49 at Oklahoma State and LSU.

Greg Schiano. He is available now, having sat out the 2014 season after getting fired after two unspectacular seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach. Schiano made his mark making Rutgers football matter from 2001-11, going 68-67 with six bowls. No easy task. He reportedly was offered the job before Rich Rodriguez was hired in 2008, but he turned it down. No doubt, the 48-year-old Schiano likely would take it now. But, he?s a defensive coach.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma. He may be a coach in search of a fresh start after being in Norman since 1999. Things seem to have gone stale for Stoops with the Sooners. The 54-year-old seems to have driven this bus about as far as he can, going 168-42, without a national championship since 2000. But, more titles have been elusive since then. Stoops is a native of Ohio who played at Iowa. He knows the terrain. He has the knowledge. This could be perfect.

Jim McElwain, Colorado State. The 52-year-old is a hot commodity after crafting a 10-2 mark in his third season with the Rams. McElwain was Nick Saban?s offensive coordinator for four seasons before landing in Fort Collins, Colo. He was assistant head coach at Michigan State from 2003-05, so he knows the Big Ten. McElwain is very personable and smart.

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M. Yes, he?s making a ton of cash in College Station, Texas. But he?s a Big Ten guy at heart, growing up in Indianapolis and playing at Purdue, where he also was an assistant. Sumlin also worked at Minnesota under Glen Mason. The 50-year-old Sumlin has been trending down with the Aggies, going from 11 to nine to seven wins. Still, he?s a sharp offensive mind and boffo recruiter whose star still burns brightly.

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. Mike ?I?m a man! I?m 40? Gundy may have run his course in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he has gone 82-44 since 2005. During his tenure, Gundy has forged some top offenses. He has no ties to Michigan or the Midwest, for what that?s worth. Still, Gundy is an intriguing option.

Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers. Think outside the box here. He?s the guy who pushes the buttons on the SF attack for Jim Harbaugh. Roman almost landed the Stanford and Penn State jobs in recent years. Smart and innovative, Roman is ready to run a program. The 42-year-old Roman attended John Carroll University and is a New Jersey native.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn. Another outside-the-box guy. Malzahn has forged a reputation as one of the nation?s top offensive minds. He took Auburn to the BCS title game last season. And he was the offensive coordinator of the Tigers when they played for the title after the 2010 season, when Cam Newton won the Heisman. The 49-year-old Malzahn has no ties to the Big Ten. Still, Michigan needs to turn over every stone in this search. Landing Malzahn would be boffo.

Cam Cameron, LSU. He?s running the LSU attack and has an impressive resume in which he has been the offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens. Cameron also was a Michigan assistant from 1985-1993, so he knows the culture and demands. His one run as a head coach in college wasn?t a success, as the 53-year-old Cameron went 18-37 in five years at Indiana, his alma mater.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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