Wisconsin is surprisingly looking for a new head coach after Gary Andersen left Madison for Oregon State. Andersen went 19-7 in two years with the Badgers, including a 10-3 record and a Big Ten West Division title in 2014.
Wisconsin is a solid program with a track record of success and is the No. 2 job behind Nebraska in the West Division. Andersen isn’t leaving the cupboard bare in Madison, but star running back Melvin Gordon is set to depart for the NFL after the Outback Bowl game against Auburn.
At the start of the 2015 season, athletic director Barry Alvarez will have worked with his third head coach in four years.
14 Candidates to Replace Gary Andersen at Wisconsin
Steve Addazio, Head Coach, Boston College
Addazio has spent a good chunk of his coaching career in the Northeast, so he may not be too eager to leave Boston College. However, if Addazio wants to leave Chestnut Hill, the Connecticut native would be a good fit at Wisconsin. In two years with the Eagles, Addazio is 14-11 and went 8-8 in ACC play during that span. Prior to Boston College, Addazio went 13-11 in two years at Temple. Addazio is known as a run-first coach, and his style of play would work well at Wisconsin.
Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin
Aranda is the best choice if athletic director Barry Alvarez wants to promote from within to replace Gary Andersen. Aranda was hired at Utah State by Andersen in 2012 and followed the coaching staff to Madison in 2013. Under Aranda’s watch, Wisconsin’s defense allowed 4.7 yards per play in 2013 and 4.8 in 2014. The Badgers also held opponents to 20 points per game in 2014. Aranda does not have any head coaching experience. Prior to Wisconsin, he worked as an assistant at Hawaii, Southern Utah and Houston.
Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
Bevell has ties to the Wisconsin program as a former quarterback under Barry Alvarez. The Arizona native has not worked on the collegiate level since 1999 but has worked his way up the ladder in the NFL and has called the plays for Seattle since 2011. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Bevell worked with the Vikings and the Packers. Bevell is familiar with the program and would be a solid fit in Madison. However, there would likely be an adjustment period as he gets acclimated back to college.
Craig Bohl, Head Coach, Wyoming
Bohl just completed his first season at Wyoming, recording a 4-8 overall record and a 2-6 mark in conference play. Although Bohl’s first season with the Cowboys was a struggle, it’s not a surprise considering Wyoming was picked near the bottom of the Mountain West’s Mountain Division. However, prior to Wyoming, Bohl led North Dakota State to a 104-32 record and three consecutive FCS national championships. The Nebraska native also spent time as an assistant at Nebraska, Duke, Rice and Wisconsin prior to taking the top job with the Bison in 2003. It’s a longshot, but Bohl is a better coach than his record showed in 2014 at Wyoming.
Matt Campbell, Head Coach, Toledo
Much like Wyoming’s Craig Bohl, Campbell is probably a longshot to replace Andersen in Madison. However, Campbell is a rising star in the coaching ranks and should be in the mix for jobs at the Power 5 level in the coming seasons. Campbell is 25-13 in three full years with the Rockets and has guided the program to two bowl appearances. He also coached the 2011 Military Bowl win over Air Force after Tim Beckman left for Illinois. Campbell is from Ohio and played his college ball at Mount Union.
Rod Carey, Head Coach, Northern Illinois
Carey is a Madison native and has Big Ten experience after a playing career at Indiana and a stop at Minnesota as a graduate assistant. Carey worked his way through the assistant ranks prior to taking over as Northern Illinois’ coach in 2011. He had stops at Illinois State and North Dakota as an offensive line coach and spent two years with the Huskies before he was promoted after Dave Doeren left for NC State. Carey is 23-5 in two full seasons with Northern Illinois. A longshot, but Carey has kept the Huskies among the top programs in the MAC.
Paul Chryst, Head Coach, Pittsburgh
If there’s a perfect fit for Wisconsin, it has to be Chryst. The current Pittsburgh coach is a Madison native, played quarterback at Wisconsin and coached with the Badgers in 2002 and 2005-11. Chryst is just 19-19 through three seasons with the Panthers but guided the program to three consecutive bowl appearances. The Madison native did not inherit the best of roster situations when he came to Pittsburgh, and the program seems to be trending up after finishing with a .500 mark in conference play after a 3-5 record in 2013. Chryst also runs Wisconsin’s style of play and would be an easy transition for the players after two years under Andersen.
Dave Doeren, Head Coach, NC State
If not Chryst, what about another former Wisconsin assistant? Doeren is two years into his tenure at NC State and guided the Wolfpack to a bowl in 2014 after a 3-9 mark in his first season. Prior to his stint at NC State, Doeren spent two years at Northern Illinois and went 23-4 from 2011-12. Doeren worked under former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema from 2006-10 as the team’s defensive coordinator and also has stops as an assistant at Kansas and Montana.