Bobby Petrino Ousted: 10 Possible Replacements


Now that Arkansas has fired Bobby Petrino (as we predicted), the search for a new coach begins. It could be hard to find a current head coach willing to jump ship between the end of Spring and Summer camp. After all, they just fired a guy for character issues – that would not be a good start for a new coach. However, there are several head coaches who could step in after 2012, and some who could step in sooner.

Let the speculation begin. Here’s ten suggestions to get your internet chatter started:

Tommy Tuberville: He’s from Arkansas and you know he’d love to step in with a chance to slap around his former team for a few seasons. Given his record and the fact that he is on the hot seat in his current job at Texas Tech, his resume is probably already on every fax machine in the state of Arkansas.

Butch Davis: He’s available and could step in right now. Given the black eye the program has taken in the last week, maybe a coach with an NCAA cloud wouldn’t be a good fit — but he could certainly do something with the loaded hog offense.

Houston Nutt: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you know the rest.

Garrick McGee‬: There has been a lot of speculation but let’s face facts. McGee’s head coaching experience is limited to Spring camp at UAB. He may do a great job and work his way up the coaching ranks (yes, somewhere other than Birmingham) but a move back to Arkansas right now would be a long shot.

Gus Mahlzahn: The likely fan favorite. After the 2012 season is complete, he could be the man in his home state. I doubt his offense will work there for long but his experience as the man behind the curtain at Auburn earned him a lot of credit in the coaching world.

Skip Holtz: He certainly has ties to the program through his dad. Currently, he is at South Florida — a big school that just doesn’t have the prestige to rise above stepping stone status.

Mark Stoops: Sure, why not?

John Gruden: You just have to put his name on the list for every open coaching job. He turned down the Miami offer, but Arkansas is a better job, ironically due to the strides Petrino made in building up the program, as well as the investments the athletic department have made.

Brian Schottenheimer: Considered an inevitable choice to be a head coach. The SEC West might not be a good first gig though. Facing Alabama and LSU in the same season isn’t the ideal place for on-the-job training.

Paul Petrino: Would he be willing to stay in Arkansas and carry the program in his brother’s tainted shadow? Perhaps. He would not be a bad choice.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the 2012 season, if Arkansas waits that long to make a final announcement. Once the season begins, seats get warmer, assistants get restless, and head coaches start calling agents. There are several good lower division coaches who are capable and there may be a few out-of-work coaches who could step in during the summer. It’s hard to build a staff and lead a team when you step in on short notice. Ask Mike Shula — a nice guy who has filled in on short notice once before.

If I had to pick anyone off of this list, I’d say it was 50-50 between Tuberville and Mahlzahn.

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