As the season approaches, the Ole Miss Rebels are the first Power-5 program searching for a new head coach. In other words, they’re the first to post the “Help Wanted” sign. While plenty of programs will be looking to hire a new head coach by season’s end, let’s look at who Ole Miss should have an eye on.
(Please note that candidates are in no particular order at this time, but that will change as things progress forward.)
1. Mike Norvell, Head Coach – Memphis Tigers
Norvell led the Tigers to an 8-5 season in 2016. It was Norvell’s first season as a head coach and he’s known for his offensive prowess. Memphis should feature one of the more prolific offenses in college football this season. Norvell earns around $1 million per year and has emerged as a hot name in coaching circles. Norvell would seemingly be an ideal fit at Ole Miss based on his coaching philosophy and experience recruiting in many of the same regions as the Rebels.
2. Matt Luke, Interim-Head Coach – Ole Miss Rebels
Matt Luke is the interim-head coach at Ole Miss currently. Luke’s been a part of the Ole Miss program before and played on the offensive line for the Rebels in the 1990’s. He’s been a part of the coaching staff at Ole Miss since 2012. Luke was previously on the coaching staff at Duke from 2008-2011 and Tennessee from 2006-2007. Luke was also a part of the Ole Miss staff from 2002-2005. Is there a particular win total that it would take for Luke to get the job? I’m not sure. I believe, however, that if Luke is able to guide the program (amidst a multitude of distractions) to eight wins then he’d become the favorite to land the job.
3. Frank Wilson, Head Coach – UTSA Roadrunners
Frank Wilson is considered by many to be one of the elite recruiters in college football. In his first season as the head coach at UTSA he led the program to its first bowl game and the Roadrunners finished at 6-7. UTSA’s 2016 recruiting class featured 11 players rated 3-stars on Rivals.com and their class ranked 69th overall in FBS. Wilson had previously been a part of the LSU staff from 2010-2015.
One negative against Wilson might be his involvement in the recruiting of a particular Mississippi State linebacker that has been at the heart of controversy since Ole Miss received its 2nd NOA letter. Wilson was named, however, he has not been accused of anything at this point.
4. Mike Bobo, Head Coach – Colorado State Rams
Mike Bobo might not be the biggest name, however, he’s gaining traction in some circles. Bobo is 14-12 in his first two seasons at Colorado State. Bobo was the long-time Georgia Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator from 2007-2014. Bobo was on the UGA staff from 2001-2006 as QB coach. He’s got plenty of SEC experience and a strong resume as an offensive mind. Georgia routinely did well in both yards per play (YPP) and points per game (PPG) vs SEC opponents throughout Bobo’s tenure.
Coaches who failed to make the top of the list at this time: Charlie Strong (USF), Jeremy Pruitt (Alabama), Chad Morris (SMU), Neal Brown (Troy), Tee Martin (Southern Cal), Les Miles (unemployed)