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10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles at LSU

Les Miles

Les Miles

LSU has fired coach Les Miles four games into the 2016 season. Miles was on the verge of getting fired last season but survived for another year after the Tigers defeated Texas A&M in the regular season finale. Miles was hired to replace Nick Saban in 2005 and guided the program to a 114-34 record, including the 2007 national championship. Although Miles won a lot of games at LSU, the Tigers underachieved in recent years. Despite recruiting some of the nation’s best talent, LSU was just 14-10 in SEC play from 2013-15.

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LSU named defensive assistant Ed Orgeron as the program’s interim head coach for the rest of the 2016 season.

Here are 10 coaching candidates to replace Les Miles at LSU:

10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles at LSU

Art Briles, former Baylor head coach

Is Briles too toxic to be hired this offseason? It’s a fair question considering all that transpired at Baylor. On-field results certainly aren’t a problem for Briles. He went 34-28 at Houston from 2003-07 and transformed Baylor from one of the worst programs in the Big 12 to a College Football Playoff contender. During his stint with the Bears, Briles went 65-37 and guided the program to six consecutive bowl appearances.

Jeff Brohm, head coach, WKU

Brohm is another rising star in the coaching ranks. He’s regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the Group of 5 ranks and took over as WKU’s head coach after Bobby Petrino left for Louisville following the 2013 season. Through three years as WKU’s head coach, Brohm is 22-9 and guided the program to a 12-2 record in 2015.

Larry Fedora, head coach, North Carolina

Fedora is coming off an 11-3 record in 2015, which was the best record for Fedora in Chapel Hill. Under Fedora’s watch, North Carolina is 35-21 in five seasons and has guided the program to a bowl appearance in three consecutive years. The Tar Heels were ineligible for postseason play in Fedora’s first year (2012) but claimed a share of the ACC Coastal Division title. North Carolina claimed the division title outright for the first time in program history in 2015. Prior to his stint at North Carolina, Fedora went 34-19 at Southern Miss and also made stops as an offensive coordinator at Florida, Oklahoma State and MTSU.

Jimbo Fisher, head coach, Florida State

Fisher has already indicated it would take a lot for him to leave Tallahassee. Fisher was reportedly the top target for LSU last year if it made a coaching change. The former Nick Saban assistant coached in Baton Rouge from 2000-06 and has guided Florida State back among the nation’s elite. Since 2010, the Seminoles are 71-15 under Fisher’s watch and won the 2013 national championship.

Mike Gundy, head coach, Oklahoma State

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It’s no secret, but Gundy is a former Oklahoma State quarterback and has been the head coach at his alma mater for 12 seasons. With that in mind, it would take a lot for Gundy to even consider leaving Oklahoma State. Gundy is one of the Big 12’s top coaches, guiding the Cowboys to a 96-49 record since taking over for Les Miles – after he left for LSU – in 2005. Gundy has guided Oklahoma State to two seasons of double-digit wins over the last four years and finished No. 3 nationally in 2011.   

Tom Herman, head coach, Houston

Herman is likely to be the top target of several Power 5 openings this offseason. The California native is the No. 1 rising star in the head coaching ranks and is 17-1 through two years at Houston. The Cougars were the top Group of 5 program last season and are playing their way into playoff consideration in 2016. Additionally, Herman was a standout coordinator during stints at Ohio State, Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

Chip Kelly, head coach, San Francisco 49ers

Big question: Would Kelly leave after only one year with the 49ers? Kelly’s first stint in the NFL (Eagles) didn’t work out well, but he went 46-7 in four seasons with Oregon. Kelly’s dynamic offense would be a needed boost for a program that has struggled on that side of the ball in recent years.

Dan Mullen, head coach, Mississippi State

Mississippi State is one of the toughest jobs in the SEC, but Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to a 57-37 mark since taking over in Starkville in 2009. Mississippi State went 5-7 in Mullen’s first season (2009) but won at least eight games in four out of the last six years. The Bulldogs went 10-3 in 2014, ranked No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff standings and finished No. 11 nationally in the final Associated Press poll. To emphasize how good of a job Mullen has done at Mississippi State – this program has just three seasons of 10 wins in school history. Mullen has one of those 10-win campaigns and also two nine-win seasons. Considering what Mullen has been able to do at Mississippi State, it’s interesting to wonder what he could do with more talent at LSU.

Bobby Petrino, head coach, Louisville

A longshot, but we have to mention Petrino in this space. He’s one of the nation’s best minds and play-callers on offense. Petrino is 104-39 in his coaching career, which features stops at Louisville (twice), Arkansas and WKU. Again, we think it’s a longshot for Petrino to depart Louisville – but his name will be mentioned through the rumor mill.

Willie Taggart, head coach, USF

Taggart is only 17-24 during his stint at USF, but after a 2-10 record in 2013, the Bulls have made steady improvement and nearly won the American Athletic East Division in 2015. Prior to taking over at USF, Taggart went 16-20 during three seasons at WKU. The Hilltoppers went 2-10 in Taggart’s first year but recorded back-to-back 7-5 records. Taggart is good recruiter and is regarded for his work on offense, including transforming USF’s offense from a power-running team to a spread in 2015.

Two Really Big Longshots

Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator, Alabama

Kiffin is going to get another shot as a head coach at a Power 5 job.

Todd Monken, offensive coordinator, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Monken inherited a mess at Southern Miss and transformed the Golden Eagles into the top team in Conference USA’s West Division in 2015. He left for the NFL last offseason.