The bye-bye Bowden entry aka a look at some candidates for Clemson (RUMOR UPDATE @ 2:40pm)

RUMOR: “BOWDEN TO BE FIRED THIS AFTERNOON” – from Block C (didn’t happen…yet)


The Wolfpack’s idle week has obviously given us the opportunity to focus on some interesting coaching situations developing across the country at places like Tennessee and Auburn.

You can all but guarantee that Tommy Bowden will probably be run out of Death Valley shortly after the Tigers season-ending battle with South Carolina after Clemson’s season got worse with last night’s loss by Clemson to Wake Forest.

The play calling has been in question. Bowden’s job is in question. But nobody in Clemson’s program seems to have any answers right now.

Offensive coordinator Rob Spence had the same lost look in his eyes he had after the Maryland loss. And, similarly, he had few answers, other than injuries and the young offensive line. Clemson has now scored just seven points in its past six quarters.

Even’s “Dr. Saturday” is leading off this morning with the headline – The last days of Tommy Bowden and the following quote from The State newspaper in South Carolina.

If the loss to Maryland nearly two weeks ago served as the funeral for Clemson’s football season, then Thursday’s defeat at the hands of Wake Forest served as the graveside service.

The same rites could have been administered to Tommy Bowden’s coaching career at the school. In fact, Clemson fans might want to begin passing the hat. They will need to pony up $4 million to buy out Bowden’s contract and send him on his way at season’s end.

For our last linke, Joe Giglio has some great insight/observations posted here after last night’s game.

And at this point, I’m coming clean. I owe every reader an apology. I’m sorry. I picked Clemson to win the ACC and ranked the Tigers in the top 10 (No. 7) of my preseason AP Top 25.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. That was painfully clear by the middle of the second quarter of Thursday’s 12-7 loss to Wake Forest when the Tigers had negative rushing yardage and zero first downs. This, an offense, that features two future NFL running backs.

The only solace in my folly is I have company. Fifty other ACC writers picked the Tigers to win their first conference title since 1991 and the AP sent Clemson off as the No. 9 team in the country.

A bad pick is my problem, I’ll live with it. Tommy’s are much bigger, at least until December.

So…it is time to play the speculation game. Where does Clemson turn for their next Head Coach? Where would you turn?

The following is a speculative ‘short list’ of names that I expect will get good looks at the job and a couple that should get good looks at the job. After we logged this entry Caulton Tudor posted an entry at ACCNow listing 10+ potential candidates. My projected Top 3 candidates below comprise spots #3-#5 on Tudor’s list. I think that is pretty damn good.

First Three
(1) First, I will throw out a legitimate longshot/’what if’ scenario that you should keep on your radar. As highlights, Tommy Tuberville has genuine trouble at Auburn. ESPN’s Pat Forde highlighted the Auburn situation in his comments on College Football Live yesterday. You can debate the fairness of the heat on Tuberville all that you want; but it doesn’t seem that you can debate the validity of growing pressure on Tuberville. How could a coach like Tuberville NOT be a natural fit for Clemson?

(2) On the other end of the coaching spectrum I submit to you that Dick Sheridan’s protege, Bobby Johnson, will garner a lot of attention at Clemson due to his success at Vanderbilt and his deep ties and connections in the state of South Carolina.

(3) The bloom of Skip Holtz’s rose may be slightly tarnished after ECU’s hot start in September has cooled, but that doesn’t detract from Holtz’s solid record of success at various schools during his career. Holtz is charming, likeable, young, energetic and has an attractive resume when you consider how quickly he built a very solid program in Greenville. He should have have some pretty strong ties in the state of South Carolina from his days at USC; and don’t forget that Holtz did a fantastic, albeit forgotten, job elevating the UConn program from a mediocre Division I-AA program more than a decade ago.

Other Names
While we are mentioning UConn, I submit that a trio of rising Big East stars could garner some attention in this search -

UConn’s Randy Edsall; Rutgers’ Greg Schiano; and Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly each offer some compelling reasons to be considered. Edsall has strong ties with some ACC coaches and actually coached at Georgia Tech in 1998.

Lastly…don’t be surprised if Mack Brown’s name ‘mysteriously’ pops-up in some speculative chatter this offseason. If there is any legitimacy to the chatter then Clemson may be as good of a place to end a career as any. (Then again, if Butch Davis jumps for Tennessee…)

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30 Responses to The bye-bye Bowden entry aka a look at some candidates for Clemson (RUMOR UPDATE @ 2:40pm)

  1. ruffles31 10/10/2008 at 11:23 AM #

    While I don’t disagree with Holtz or Johnson (I fully agree with a Johnson hiring), and I can see some logic in the Tuberville move, especially with the fiasco of the spread offense 6 game experiment, I have some issues with the adding of Schiano to your Big East triumvariate:

    Edsall – Fully agree and I think is a GREAT coach.

    Kelly – He has won everywhere he has been. Plus, he wins with more QB injuries than anyone not named Oregon has done.

    Schiano – Really? He should have taken the Miami/Michigan jobs when they were offered to him. He has a losing record since he beat Louisville in ’06. Is that a coincidence that summer the NCAA added a rule that your school’s high school camps had to be located within 20 miles of your campus? He was no longer able to have Rutgers camps in South Florida. Just a thought.

    I think you have forgotten the number 1 candidate at Clemson…wait for it…

    Danny Ford.

  2. Dr. BadgerPack 10/10/2008 at 11:28 AM #

    I would expect Paul Chryst to at least generate interest. I doubt Chryst would want the job, but Clemson does have a ton of cash, so he’d at least listen. Chryst is one of the better offensive coordinators around. He’s also got pro coaching experience, put players in the NFL, and is around 43 (I think) years old.

  3. Trout 10/10/2008 at 12:20 PM #

    One other name that will be a very hot candidate for a top level college job is Lane Kiffin.

    If Bobby Johnson got the Clemson job, and brought his entire Vandy staff with him, it would bring 5 former coaches with NC State ties back into the ACC. Currently on the Vandy staff are Robbie Caldwell, Jimmy Kiser, Charlie Fisher, Ted Cain and Ricky Logo.

  4. Pack92 10/10/2008 at 12:30 PM #

    Holy smoke Trout, are they all really at Vandy? Unbelievable. I think the Mack Brown choice is the best. After tomorrow it will be even more realistic. Stoops has, and should continue, to own him. Sort of like Dick Sheridan did but in a much more national spotlight kind of way.

  5. Classof89 10/10/2008 at 1:30 PM #

    I didn’t realize there were so many NC State ties on the Vandy coaching staff…Did Bobby Johnson even take a sniff when our job opened up year before last?

  6. burnbarn 10/10/2008 at 1:36 PM #

    I just don’t see Klem’s son going for Tuberville and that anemic offense at UA. I see them going after an offensive minded coach.

  7. StateFans 10/10/2008 at 1:38 PM #

    ^ Kinda. The process was relatively closed and short. Wasn’t much room on the list. After Cowher it was basically Tom O’Brien’s expressed interest versus Paul Johnson’s posturing and difficultness.

  8. MatSci94 10/10/2008 at 1:45 PM #

    Oddest name from Tudor’s list

    “10. Steve Logan, Boston College offensive coordinator”

  9. JimValvano 10/10/2008 at 2:27 PM #

    I don’t see why Clemson wouldn’t take a strong look at Bud Foster from Virginia Tech. I agree with the Skip Holtz, and Bobby Johnson angles. If I were Clemson and Tuberville became available I’d take a peak, but the offensive troubles at Auburn are similar to what we’re seeing at Clemson…so I’d pass. It might be interesting to see if Butch Davis’ name comes into the mix. Jim Leavitt would be a solid hire…but really I think it would be interesting to see a guy like Mike Leach get a chance. I’d probably go with Leach if it were my choice.

  10. LRM 10/10/2008 at 2:36 PM #

    This might prove an interesting search, and one akin to our basketball search in 2007.

    Basically, Clemson suffers from the same disease as us: they haven’t won the ACC since 1991 and still feel a certain national powerhouse entitlement based on their national title in 1981.

    They have to go for the homerun here, just like we did with Barnes…right? They can’t go after Tubberville, Fulmer, or Nutt (SEC rejects), or even Leavitt, Holtz, Johnson, or Leach (all good candidates) until after they go after the sure-fire homerun that brings immediate credibility: Cowher or Mack Brown.

    Unfortunately for them, there isn’t a Nick Saban out there this season, so they better not over-estimate their prestige and get the best candidate possible very quickly: in my opinion, Leavitt.

  11. Mike 10/10/2008 at 2:36 PM #

    $4M buyout sounds like a lot of money. Do the math – $4M divided by 80,000 and each person in the stadium throws $50 in a hat. I dont think that is a stretch based on how unhappy the Clempson fans are right now. I bet there are some who would contribute more than the $50 per head.

    I truly dont think they would hire Holtz b/c of his days at SC. That would be like us hiring Guthridge to coach bball or UNX hiring Dawkins to coach.

    It is amazing down there how much they still worship D Ford. I would not be at all surprised if there is not a march to convince him back into coaching. The $$$ they are paying these days might entice him back. Today’s game is different than in Ford’s day, but a couple years will put a lot of cash in his bank account.

  12. wufpup76 10/10/2008 at 2:37 PM #

    I could totally see someone in the Edsall/Kelly/Holtz mode … Wouldn’t surprise me either if Kiffin got a look … I would imagine quite a few schools may be interested in Kiffin

    I don’t think Tuberville is a reach and it would be really interesting to see all that unfold

  13. Mike 10/10/2008 at 2:40 PM #

    And for those comparing TommyBoy to HWSNBN – why do you insult TommyBoy like that? At least he developed some players for the pros instead of someone else who took some talent and regressed it to the point these guys could not even play in rec league.

  14. Trout 10/10/2008 at 2:50 PM #

    “I truly dont think they would hire Holtz b/c of his days at SC. ”

    Brad Scott is on the staff at Clemson now and he was the HEAD coach at South Carolina. Holtz was just an assistant. I think Holtz’s ties to the state of SC are one of the things that make him a strong candidate for the Clemson job.

    LRM: I agree 100% on the Clemson football = NC State basketball analogy.

  15. Trout 10/10/2008 at 2:55 PM #

    Seems the news conference coming from Clemson today was for Bowden to announce that Korn will start at QB over Harper for the Ga Tech game.

  16. primacyone 10/10/2008 at 2:55 PM #

    Jimbo Fisher!?!?!?

  17. Noah 10/10/2008 at 3:13 PM #

    Lane Kiffin’s name has definitely been tossed around at Clemson

  18. WTNY 10/10/2008 at 3:25 PM #

    I hope Clemson handles this poorly. The AD drags it out, fans complain, the press wallows in it like pigs in slop, their recruiting suffers, and they end up with a poor choice.

    In other words, in the short term, NC State needs some help to move up the ladder and Clemson may be one of the suprising lower rungs on the ladder.

  19. highstick 10/10/2008 at 3:38 PM #

    You can’t imagine how much enjoyment I have watch the torture of Clempson fans!@ Please Tommy, don’t leave!!!

  20. VaWolf82 10/10/2008 at 5:02 PM #

    While there is nearly always room to criticize TB’s coaching decisions, I didn’t think too much of Grobe’s last night. They kept trying trick plays, when it looked like that they should just have lined up and played FB.

    Answer me this….where you would rather have Riley Skinner on a jump pass to the endzone? In the pocket or in the endzone?

  21. choppack1 10/10/2008 at 5:46 PM #

    VaWolf – I’ve never been impressed by Grobe’s in game decisions. I am very impressed w/ how he preps his team, how he develops and identifies his talent – and how he uses every rule in the book to his advantage – in a method that’s borderline dirty – see his teams reliance in cut blocking, his teams motion on offense and Defense – it’s all w/in the rules, but against the spirit of them. It’s all classic Art of War stuff. Believe me – when it comes to those things, Grobe is one of, if not the best in the business.

    I thought Clemson’s game plan – especially in the 4th quarter was horrendous.

  22. Dogbreath 10/10/2008 at 7:18 PM #

    Patterson at Texas Christian is the next Clemson coach.

    Mark my words.

  23. blpack 10/10/2008 at 8:41 PM #

    Holtz would be a good fit at Clemson. Maybe a Tuberville asst to G-vegas and chief to Auburn?

  24. WolftownVA81 10/10/2008 at 8:49 PM #

    CTC is looking for a head coaching gig.

  25. redfred2 10/10/2008 at 9:11 PM #

    highstick, don’t be a hater, there are many other programs around that we should be wishing our bad luck on, rather than the Clemson Tigers. A healthy Clemson football program may not be great news for us, but it is good for the ACC.

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