*** Names added on 11/23 at 11:00 AM
For the first time in seven years, and the 3rd time in 10, Iowa State is in need of a new head football coach. Paul Rhoads was fired this morning after yesterday's meltdown of epic proportions against the Kansas State Wildcats, but as cylentbutdeadly hinted this morning, the firing came down to more than just one game.
Going forward, the Cyclones, at least in my opinion, are in a surprisingly good position to make a splash with this hire. Whomever takes over next year will inherit a team with playmakers and some depth on both sides of the ball, a newly-renovated stadium, and football facilities on par with the rest of the Big 12 Conference.
With that in mind, lets take a look at some of the names that have already surfaced as possibilities for Iowa State's now vacant head coaching position.
Current Position: Head Coach, Southern Mississippi
Todd Monken has a resume that seems tailor-made for the Big 12. After playing quarterback at Knox College, Monken served as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame before getting his first real break as the running back/receivers coach at Louisiana Tech. Monken has served as either a wide receivers coach or offensive coordinator at every stop since, coaching for Oklahoma State (twice), LSU, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While at Oklahoma State, Monken not only coached Justin Blackmon, but he served as the quarterback coach for Brandon Weeden in 2011.
At Southern Miss, Monken inherited a team that went 0-12 the year before he arrived. It has taken two years, but he currently has his Golden Eagles at 8-3.
He also kind of looks like Mike Gundy.
Current position: Head Coach, Northern Illinois
The best introduction for Rod Carey comes from the man's own biography, which is definitely worth a read. Carey, who is from Wayzata, Minnesota, was groomed as an offensive line coach at Wisconsin-Stout, Illinois State and North Dakota before taking over the offensive line duties at Northern Illinois in 2011. Since then, he's been on quite the ride...
Carey took over for Dave Doeren in 2012, who left to take the North Carolina State job, just minutes before the Top 25 Huskies learned they'd be playing in the Orange Bowl. Since then? Carey has compiled a record of 31-9 and won back-to-back Mid-American Conference championships (who doesn't love some MACTION), putting up gaudy offensive numbers along the way.
Current position: Head Coach, Navy
Ken Niumatalolo (that last name is a mouthful) may be one of the most underrated coaches in college football. As a player, Niumatalolo played quarterback for Hawaii in an option-oriented offense for a guy named Paul Johnson, and led the Rainbow Warriors to their first bowl game appearance. After staying on the island serving as an assistant coach for 4 seasons, he followed Johnson to Navy to serve as the running back coach. After staying 10 years, and coaching from tight ends to quarterbacks, he was promoted to head coach when Johnson departed for Georgia Tech.
In eight seasons at the Naval Academy, Niumatalolo owns a 66-36 record, and has taken the Midshipmen to seven bowl games. Thanks to playing and serving under the option guru in Paul Johnson, Navy runs their own variation of the triple-option.
Current position: Head Coach, Air Force
Let's keep things in the armed forces for a while, shall we? Troy Calhoun, a former quarterback for the Air Force Academy, has served as quarterback coach or offensive coordinator at every stop of his coaching career. After stints at Air Force, Ohio, and Wake Forest, his skills caught the attention of the National Football League. He served as an assistant to Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak in 2003, and eventually followed him to Houston before taking over as the head man for Air Force in 2007.
Calhoun's team, like most military schools, run an option-oriented offense. In his nine years at the helm, he owns a 67-47 record and has appeared in seven bowl games.
Current position: Head Coach, Georgia Southern
Fritz is the elder statesman of this group, and nearly has more coaching experience than the rest of this list combined. Fritz has been coaching since 1982, and has climbed the proverbial coaching ladder from junior college to D-1 football. He is known best for his years at Blinn College, where he won two junior college national titles, and was eventually inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame. He then moved on to Central Missouri (D-2), where he went 97-47, before leaving to be the coach of Sam Houston State (FCS). While at Sam Houston State, he took the Bearkats to back-to-back FCS title games, and was named the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year in 2012.
In 2014, Fritz left Sam Houston State to become the coach at Georgia Southern, finally making it to Division 1. Not taking long to succeed, the Eagles won the Sun Belt Conference Championship in his first season, and he currently has the team at 7-3.
Current position: Head Coach, Illinois State
Brock Spack, a defensive-minded head coach, has turned Illinois State into a perennial FCS power. Spack played his college ball at Purdue, where he was a three year starter and All-American at linebacker. After serving as a defensive assistant coach at Eastern Illinois, Purdue, and Wyoming, Spack was hired to run the defense at his alma mater, Purdue. Following 12 years of running solid defenses in West Lafayette, Spack left in 2009 to coach the Redbirds.
In just seven years, Spack's Redbirds have won 55 games, made the FCS quarterfinals in 2012 and the title game in 2014, and won two Missouri Valley Conference championships.
He also has a killer mustache.
Current position: Offensive Coordinator, Oregon
A kid from Nebraska with Iowa connections and an NFL resume!? Scott Frost's career has been an interesting one, as it seems he does everything well. After transferring from Stanford to Nebraska, Frost quarterbacked the Huskers to a 24-2 record and two national championships (1995, 1997), and became the 10th player to run and throw for 1000 yards in 1997. This led to a six year playing career in the NFL at special teams, defensive back, and quarterback.
His coaching career got started with the Huskers and Kansas State as a graduate assistant, but his first break came with UNI, where he coached the linebackers and helped run the defense. In 2008, he became the wide receivers coach for Oregon, and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2013. Being Oregon, Frost's offense is obviously very pass-oriented, and is played at a quick tempo. His coaching style is greatly influenced by the coaches he played for, which is an impressive list: Bill Walsh, Tom Osborne, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden.
Current position: Head Coach, Toledo
You all should know who this guy is, as his team knocked off the Cyclones earlier this season. As a player, Campbell won three NCAA Divison-III titles at Mount Union in Ohio, just down the road from where he grew up. After serving as a GA for Bowling Green, and a brief stint at his alma mater, Campbell got his start start at Bowling Green as an offensive line coach, a position he later held at Toledo. After a few years and a promotion to offensive coordinator, he was named the interim head coach in 2011, making him the youngest-ever FBS coach.
As of today, he is still the second youngest coach in football at age 34, and his team has Rocketed to success, going 35-14 and appearing in two bowl games.
Current position: Head Coach, Utah State
Matt Wells is yet another little-known, under-valued college football coach. The South Carolina native spent his college days playing QB for Utah State. Shortly after his playing days were over, he spent years journying all over the country (Navy, Tulsa, New Mexico, Louisville) , coaching nearly every position on the offensive side of the ball (FB, TE, WR, QB). In 2011, he got his chance to return to Utah State.
After coaching the QB's and serving as the offensive coordinator, he was promoted to head coach in 2013. Since then, the Aggies have won 25 games and a Mountain West Championship.
Wells is an interesting candidate for two reasons: he currently coaches for his alma mater, which may be his dream destination, and he is scheduled to make 750,000 next season, something Iowa State could easily double or even triple.
Current position: Head Coach, Western Michigan
PJ Fleck, like many on this list, is a rising star of the college football world. After playing for Northern Illinois, and later the San Francisco 49er's, he got his start for a guy named Jim Tressel at Ohio State. After spending the season on a team ranked #1 most of the season (and who lost the 2007 title game to Florida), he was hired by NIU to coach their wide receivers and serve as a recruiting coordinator. After spending a year coaching the WR's at Rutgers, he then followed Greg Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was known for wearing and running the drills with the wide outs during practice.
In 2012, he was hired by Western Michigan, making him the youngest coach ever in FBS history, and the first head coach to be born in the 1980's. Though his first team went 1-11. he has won 14 games in the two years since, and is known for his ability as an elite recruiter.
Fleck is an interesting candidate because he is known for his somewhat odd recruiting tactics, sideline antics, and for being a players coach.
Current position: Assistant Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach, Ohio State
Tony Alford is a name that Iowa State fans should be very familiar with. As a player, he ran for 1,000 yards as a junior for Colorado State (under former Cyclone coach Earl Bruce), and was a Doak Walker Award nominee. After graduating, he was brought in by Dan McCarney to serve as the running backs coach. After a brief stint at Washington and a return to Iowa State from 2002-06, he ended up at Notre Dame in 2009.
After a few years in South Bend, he eventually added the responsibilities of coaching WRs as well as taking over as the head recruiting coordinator. He currently serves in those capacities for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Alford is an interesting option for many different reasons. Tony has never served as a head coach and has limited experience in calling plays. He is a man who has coached in the Midwest for years, and has very strong connections to Iowa State. In addition to being a great running back himself, he coached the likes of Darren Davis, Ennis Haywood, Victor Anderson and Michael Floyd. Alford is also known as one of the best recruiters in the business and is the guy who attempted to recruit Allen Lazard to Notre Dame. Finally, his list of coaching influences is an impressive one: Earl Bruce, Jim Tressel, Dam McCarney, Charlie Weiss, Brian Kelly, and Urban Meyer.
Current position: Head Coach, Montana
Bob Stitt may not seem like a conventional choice, but is a guy who should absolutely be considered. Stitt is a Nebraska kid who played his college ball at NAIA Doane College. After starting at Northern Colorado, he returned to Doane to run the offense, and coached 19 All NAIA players on offense in his four years there. After moving on to Austin College as the OC, he got a chance to call plays at Harvard in 1999, where he set Ivy League records for total offense. Stitt was then hired by the Colorado School of Mines (D-II) in 2000, where he coached for 14 seasons, compiling a 108-62 record. Currently, he is wrapping up his first season as the head coach of the Montana Grizzlies, where he has led the Griz to a 7-3 record.
Here's a few interesting tidbits on Coach Stitt... First of all, the man is an offensive genius who has led incredible offenses everywhere he's coached. He is a legendary figure across college football as well, as plays he has designed have been run by West Virginia, Texas A&M, and many others. In his first game at Montana he beat No. 1 North Dakota State, and has gotten the Grizzlies to the FCS playoffs.
Have any more names you've heard or would like to see ISU take a look at? Drop them in the comments!