With the San Francisco 49ers hiring Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, it’s time to take a look at other college coaches who should make the jump to the NFL. Speculation is running rampant. Some coaches may find they need a bigger challenge after winning a title while others the lure of big money is enough. Pete Carroll flubbed it the first time, but is not doing half bad this go-around, leading the Seahawks to a division title despite a losing record. Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban stunk it up, but seem to be doing okay in the college ranks. With success at the NFL level more difficult to come by thanks to free agency, it is almost a wonder that successful college coaches ever want to leave their schools. Here are my top picks for college coaches ready to take the leap…
The man has rocked on the college level and kicked some serious butt in the process. He’s won it all already so there really is nothing more for him to do then to just do it again. When he made the move from Utah to Florida he showed that he is interested in moving up, so what’s to stop him from taking the boatload of cash someone will offer next year (say in the Mile High City where a friend of his happens to play).
He has been there before, done okay, and gotten his pride handed to him as well. Two things make him a pretty intriguing prospect. He does know how to win at both levels. Davis was apart of the Dallas Cowboys staff for a pair of Super Bowls and he has been pretty successful wherever he has been in college. Secondly, he has managed to make a basketball school excited about football. When you are in an environment that could care less about success and you succeed anyway you must be pretty good at what you are doing.
He could very well do like Bobby Bowden did and Frank Beamer and Joe Paterno are doing and make a great career for himself right where he is. If he ever got bored with it though and wanted a different challenge there would be a number of suitors ready to knock down his door with a wheelbarrow of money.
He too could probably stay at Oklahoma for life if he wanted to. The man has down a phenomenal job making himself a virtual legend before he even turned 50. There are not many that can say they have won four of every five games like he has. That kind of success makes NFL owners salivate. All they have to do is find his asking price.
His success has been a little quieter since the Iowa Hawkeyes don’t tend to grasp the national spotlight all too often. In Iowa he has built a solid program that he can be proud of. With that success as a head coach and his NFL experience as an offensive line coach he becomes an intriguing prospect. The problem for him may be that his success was too quiet and he will not command a big enough price tag to pull him away from the safety of Iowa.
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