Mike London’s tenure at Virginia ended on Sunday after a 27-46 record after six seasons with the Cavaliers. London’s best year with Virginia came in 2011 with an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. London never made another bowl appearance during his tenure and the Cavaliers went 9-15 over the final two seasons.
Virginia is a job with plenty of potential in a fertile recruiting area. However, this program has only three seasons of nine or more wins since 2002.
Who might replace London at Virginia? Here are 10 names to watch:
10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Mike London at Virginia
Dino Babers, head coach, Bowling Green
Babers could be mentioned with several coaching vacancies this offseason. He’s regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the nation and is 17-9 with back-to-back MAC East titles at Bowling Green. Prior to taking over with the Falcons, Babers went 19-7 at Eastern Illinois and has a wealth of experience as an assistant, including three seasons under Art Briles at Baylor from 2009-11.
Jeff Brohm, head coach, WKU
Brohm was promoted to head coach at WKU after Bobby Petrino left for Louisville after the 2013 season. Over the last two years, Brohm has emerged as a rising star in the Group of 5 coaching ranks. The Hilltoppers are 18-7 under Brohm’s direction and won the Conference USA East Division title in 2015. Brohm also has a strong background on offense and guided the Hilltoppers to an average of 44.2 points per game in 2015. He also has stops on his resume from stints at UAB, Illinois, FAU and Louisville.
Troy Calhoun, head coach, Air Force
Calhoun is a former Air Force quarterback and coaches at his alma mater, so it would take a lot for him to leave the Academy. However, Calhoun’s name has popped up in the rumor mill this offseason. Virginia is a potential landing spot, as Calhoun has some experience in the ACC (2001-02 at Wake Forest) and has recorded a 67-48 mark during his tenure at Air Force.
P.J. Fleck, head coach, Western Michigan
Fleck is another coach from the MAC expected to draw plenty of interest this offseason. The former Northern Illinois receiver has been on a fast rise through the coaching ranks. After spending three years as an assistant with the Huskies from 2007-09, Fleck joined Greg Schiano’s staff at Rutgers from 2010-11 and later spent one year with the Buccaneers in 2012. Fleck is 16-21 at Western Michigan but has guided the program to a 15-10 record over the last two seasons. He’s also regarded as one of the best recruiters in the Group of 5 ranks.
Al Golden, head coach, Miami
Golden’s tenure at Miami ended midway through the 2015 season, finishing his five-year run as the coach in Coral Gables with a 32-25 record. Although Golden’s record isn’t terrible, he only won more than seven games just once (2013). Miami wasn’t the best fit for Golden, and it’s notable he went 27-34 in transforming a struggling Temple program from 2007-10. Golden also has experience at Virginia, working from 2001-05 as the team’s defensive coordinator under Al Groh.
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Mark Richt, former Georgia head coach
Richt will not return to Georgia in 2016 after a successful 15-year run at the program. The Bulldogs went 145-51 under Richt’s direction and only won fewer than eight games just one time. Would Richt be interested in taking a year off? Or is Richt content to not be a head coach again? Virginia has to at least inquire about his interest.
Matt Rhule, head coach, Temple
Rhule is also believed to be in the mix at Missouri, but the former Penn State linebacker has spent most of his coaching career on the East Coast. Could this job be more appealing to the Pennsylvania native? In three seasons at Temple, Rhule is 18-18 and has guided the Owls to a 16-8 record over the last two years. Additionally, Rhule guided Temple to the American Athletic Conference East Division title in 2015. Prior to taking over as Temple’s head coach, Rhule was also an assistant with the program from 2006-11.
Mike Sanford, offensive coordinator, Notre Dame
Sanford has moved quickly moved through the coaching ranks, starting with a stint as a graduate assistant under his father Mike at UNLV in 2005-06. He made a stop at Stanford from 2007-08 and at Yale for 2009, followed by a one-year stint at WKU in 2010. Sanford worked under David Shaw at Stanford from 2011-13 and was hired at Boise State by Bryan Harsin to coordinate the offense in 2014. The Broncos led the Mountain West with an average of 39.7 points per game last season. Sanford joined Notre Dame’s staff prior to this season and has played a key role in the development of quarterback DeShone Kizer. Sanford is considered one of the top rising stars in the assistant ranks and is believed to be a candidate at Syracuse to replace Scott Shafer.
Greg Schiano, former Rutgers/Tampa Bay head coach
Schiano has been out of coaching sine he was fired at the end of the 2013 season with Tampa Bay. In two seasons with the Buccaneers, Schiano went 11-21 and finished 4-12 after a promising 7-9 campaign in 2012. Prior to taking the job with Tampa Bay, Schiano transformed Rutgers from a one of the worst programs in the Big East to a consistent bowl team. The Scarlet Knights made six bowl appearances over Schiano’s last seven seasons. It’s only a matter of time before Schiano gets another opportunity to be a head coach.
Bobby Wilder, head coach, Old Dominion
Wilder is quietly building Old Dominion into a consistent winner in Conference USA. The Monarchs resurrected their football program in 2007 and played their first game in 2009. Wilder guided the program to a 17-5 record in its first two seasons (2009-10) and two playoff appearances from 2011-12. Old Dominion transitioned to the FBS level prior to 2013 and is 11-13 over the last two years. Wilder runs a high-powered offense and knows how to build a program from the ground level.