An Indiana coaching search wish list that looks at seven replacements for Kevin Wilson. The Hoosiers abruptly fired Wilson on Thursday due to issues reportedly unrelated to wins and losses.
Indiana fired head football coach Kevin Wilson on Thursday afternoon. The move was somewhat out of left field, given Wilson’s recent run with a program not commonly associated with successful football. Early reports suggest the dismissal was not due to wins and losses – potentially player mistreatment.
Indiana is coming off a 6-6 season in which the Hoosiers won their final game – a home against Purdue – to reach bowl eligibility. This comes on the heels of last year’s 6-7 campaign that saw the Hoosiers attend the Pinstripe Bowl. The back-to-back bowl berths is a first for Indiana since 1990-91 under Bill Mallory, the program’s winningest head coach.
Despite only being .500 on the season, Indiana played competitively against some of the Big Ten’s top teams – leading Penn State after three quarters and Michigan at halftime. By all intents, this is a team on the upswing.
Now, with its architect having been ousted, Indiana must embark on a coaching search less than two weeks before the recruiting dead period commences on Dec. 12. Here’s a list of coaches who will likely be on the Hoosiers’ wish list as replacements for Kevin Wilson.
Indiana Coaching Search Wish List
P.J. Fleck – Western Michigan Head Coach
Just put Fleck at the top of every vacancy out there. He’s dynamic, he’s young, and he knows how to build a program from the ground up. Fleck could seemingly have his pick of high-profile jobs – such as Oregon – but maybe he’s more cut from the jib of a Chris Petersen (see: a coach who judges his employment based not on prestige but comfort). Indiana resides in the nation’s toughest division, but its proximity to Ohio and Michigan (areas with which Fleck has familiarity) could be enough of a recruiting boon to keep him in the Midwest.
Seth Littrell – North Texas Head Coach
If Indiana wants a familiar face, Littrell might be the man. It’d be a quick turnaround – Littrell has only been with UNT for one season – but such can be the nature of big-time athletics. Littrell coached under Wilson at Indiana in 2012-13, serving as offensive coordinator, and has also worked under the likes of Mike Leach and Larry Fedora. Moreover, he has proven his ability to resurrect a program. The season prior to Littrell’s arrival, North Texas was 1-11; this year the Mean Green are 5-7 and a favorable candidate to go bowling on account of a solid APR.
Jason Candle – Toledo Head Coach
Candle stepped in for Matt Campbell when the latter left Toledo for Iowa State, and the Rockets have hardly skipped a beat. In Candle’s first season at the helm, the Rockets have gone 9-3 with their only two conference losses coming at the hands of the MAC’s two division winners, Ohio and Western Michigan. An offensive minded coach, Candle has the Rockets ranked No. 5 nationally in total offense (529.8 yards per game) and No. 20 in scoring with 38.8 points per game.
Jeff Brohm – Western Kentucky Head Coach
Speaking of offense, enter Jeff Brohm. His Hilltoppers put up a blistering 44 points per game (tied for third nationally) and 505.8 total yards per game (No. 13). Brohm knows the regional terrain between his time playing at Louisville and coaching Western Kentucky, and he has proven himself a consistent winner – never registering fewer than eight wins in a season.
Greg Schiano – Ohio State Defensive Coordinator
While at Rutgers, Schiano turned a perennial loser into a bonafide winner. He rebuilt Rutgers into a formidable football team, taking the Scarlett Knights as high as No. 7 in the AP Poll – a high-water mark for the program. With one year at Ohio State now under his belt, Schiano has the lay of the land in the Big Ten East. Not for nothing, his Buckeyes defense ranks No. 4 in both points allowed (14.2) and yards allowed (281.6).
Matt Canada – Pitt Offensive Coordinator
Canada is an Indiana alumnus, and after the season Pitt’s offense just turned in, his stock is on the rise. Pitt notched 447.5 yards per game and really leaned on its offense given that the defense, at times, was a sieve. The recency effect might bode well in Canada’s favor, given that the Panthers are coming off a 76-point performance against Syracuse. A former offensive coordinator for the Hoosiers and an Indiana native, Canada will most certainly get a look.
Chuck Martin – Miami (OH) Head Coach
Martin is turning Miami around in a fashion similar to what Fleck has done at Western Michigan. The RedHawks did not win a single game in the season prior to his arrival, and since Martin’s hiring, they have won two, three and now six games respectively. He built a name for himself within the state of Indiana while serving as Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish’s run to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. Martin’s reputation while at Grand Valley State (D-II) precedes him – taking the program to three title games and winning two championships.