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14 Coaching Candidates to Replace Gary Andersen at Wisconsin

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin Badgers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Paul Chryst, Head Coach, Pittsburgh

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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. 

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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.

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Justin Fuente, Head Coach, Memphis

Fuente is 16-20 in three seasons at Memphis, but his record is why it’s difficult to judge a coach just on wins and losses. The Tigers were among the nation’s worst programs prior to his arrival, and Fuente made steady gains from 2012-13. Memphis also made the transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, which increased the overall strength of schedule. The Tigers improved significantly in Fuente’s third year (2014), finishing 9-3 and claiming a share of the conference title with a 7-1 mark in American Athletic Conference play. Prior to Memphis, Fuente worked as an assistant under Gary Patterson at TCU.

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Al Golden, Head Coach, Miami

Golden’s name popped up in the rumor mill the last time Wisconsin had an opening. Is he interested in leaving Miami after a 6-6 record in 2014? Golden is 28-21 in four seasons with the Hurricanes and went 27-34 in five years at Temple. Golden inherited a mess at Temple and led the Owls back to respectability and a 17-8 record in his last two seasons. Success at Miami hasn’t been experienced on a large scale for Golden, but the program also had to deal with a scandal that impacted recruiting. Golden is certainly familiar with the Big Ten, as he played at Penn State and spent one season with the Nittany Lions (2000) as the team’s linebacker coach. 

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Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

It’s been a busy season for Herman. Not only has the Ohio native had to replace two starting quarterbacks due to injury, but he also won the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant. Herman is considered one of college football’s rising stars in the assistant ranks and has experience from stops at Texas State, Rice and Iowa State prior to his three years with the Buckeyes. Herman does not have any head coaching experience.

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Pete Lembo, Head Coach, Ball State

Lembo is coming off a 5-7 season at Ball State, but he’s still considered one of the top coaches in the MAC. In four years with the Cardinals, Lembo has a 30-20 record and guided the program to a 19-7 mark from 2012-13. Prior to taking over in Muncie, Lembo had stops as a head coach at Elon (2006-10) and Lehigh (44-14). Lembo was successful at both jobs, which included appearances in the FCS playoffs. There’s a clear track record of success with Lembo at three different programs. However, would the 5-7 mark in 2014 make him a tough sell to Wisconsin fans?

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Pat Narduzzi, Defensive Coordinator, Michigan State

Narduzzi is one of the top defensive minds in the nation and is always in the rumor mill for openings every offseason. The Ohio native is in no hurry to leave Michigan State, but if he’s ready to be a FBS head coach, Wisconsin would be a good landing spot. Narduzzi has coordinated some of the Big Ten’s top defenses since coming to East Lansing, as the Spartans allowed just 19.9 points per game in 2014, and Michigan State ranked first nationally by holding opponents to four yards per play in 2013. Prior to joining coach Mark Dantonio’s staff before the 2007 season, Narduzzi spent time as an assistant at Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio) and Northern Illinois.

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Greg Schiano, Former Head Coach at Rutgers/Tampa Bay

Schiano has been out of work since he was dismissed with the Buccaneers after a 4-12 record in 2013. Prior to the two-year stint at Tampa Bay, Schiano was a successful coach in the collegiate ranks with a 68-67 record at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights struggled mightily prior to his arrival but went to six bowl games over his final seven seasons. Schiano is also believed to be in the mix at Michigan.