UNLV's Next Coach?

With Dennis Franchione and Bobby Hauck visiting UNLV the past two days and interviewing for the school's head football coach position, it appears to be a two-man race for who's replacing Mike Sanford. See all stories on the coaching search.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2009.

Candidate Current Job Why Why Not Odds

Bobby Hauck

Bobby Hauck, 45

Head Coach, Montana

As far as FCS — formerly known as I-AA — ball goes, this guy is royalty. Hauck is 80-17 in seven seasons at Montana, including three appearances in the FCS title game. If UNLV simply wants someone to come in and win, Hauck would be a pretty good candidate. He interviewed with UNLV AD Jim Livengood on Sunday, and is flying back on Tuesday for a second go-around.

Hauck's coached in the Pac-10 and Big 12 as an assistant, but he's from Missoula and graduated from Montana. He's building a powerhouse. Why bolt? It sounds is if he has the itch to be a coach in the FBS ranks. But is he looking at it as a stepping stone? Plus, off-field problems for his players during his tenure at Montana warrant being looked into some.

3:2

Dennis Franchione

Dennis Franchione, 58

N/A

Franchione interviewed with new UNLV AD Jim Livengood on Monday. He's turned around two programs in the MWC — New Mexico (1992-97) and TCU (1998-2000) — and had a successful two-year run at Alabama. His exit from Texas A&M in 2007 had a controversial twist to it, but the guy can flat-out coach. He has the itch, and he could do wonders with the talent already in place at UNLV. The kicker? His son, Brad, is the head coach at Blinn College in Texas, which is regularly one of the most well-stocked jucos in terms of football talent.

There will always be concerns, despite his age, that he could jump for a better opportunity if things go well early on. But, again, at 58 years old, he could also just as easily make this his final coaching destination.

2:1

Below are the original odds from their original posting Nov. 19, given by Johnny Avello, Wynn Las Vegas Race and Sports Book Director.

Candidate Current Job Why Why Not Odds

Dennis Franchione

Dennis Franchione, 58

N/A

It's been confirmed that Franchione has expressed his interest to UNLV directly, and the administration would be crazy not to give him an interview. He's turned around two programs in the MWC — New Mexico (1992-97) and TCU (1998-2000) — and had a successful two-year run at Alabama. His exit from Texas A&M in 2007 had a controversial twist to it, but the guy can flat-out coach. He has the itch, and he could do wonders with the talent already in place at UNLV. The kicker? His son, Brad, is the head coach at Blinn College in Texas, which is regularly one of the most well-stocked jucos in terms of football talent.

There will always be concerns, despite his age, that he could jump for a better opportunity if things go well early on. But, again, at 58 years old, he could also just as easily make this his final coaching destination.

4:1

Robb Akey

Robb Akey

Head Coach, Idaho

Akey's defenses from 2003-06 at Washington State were almost always strong, so that automatically makes him intriguing. Plus, Idaho's seven wins so far this season makes him a candidate for more than a few openings, surely. He coached in the Pac-10 from 1995-2006, and turned Idaho around almost immediately. This guy carries several positives which would translate to the UNLV post well.

Would moving from a program on the rise at Idaho to a struggling program in a little bit better of a conference be considered a lateral move at best? Still, the conference depth alone might make it intriguing.

5:1

Dirk Koetter

Dirk Koetter, 50

Offensive Coordinator, Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)

Took Boise State from obscurity to national prominence in late '90s, has a sharp mind has a track record for putting together prolific college offenses that is beyond impressive. If he's looking for a chance at redemption in the collegiate ranks, UNLV could be a good fit.

He's proven that his coaching chops are good enough to keep him employed in the NFL for as long as possible, so why take the risk? Also, would he leave UNLV if he succeeded early? Or, at 50 years old, would he stick around for the long haul? Plus, with the Jags still in playoff contention, how early could he be available? He may have bit off more than he could chew at Arizona State, but if he jumped back to the college ranks would he want a BCS conference program again?

6:1

Bobby Hauck

Bobby Hauck, 44

Head Coach, Montana

As far as FCS — formerly known as I-AA — ball goes, this guy is quickly becoming royalty. He flat-out win. Heading into this season, he was 66-16 in six campaigns, including a 39-6 mark in Big Sky play.

Hauck's coached in the Pac-10 and Big 12 as an assistant, but he's from Missoula and graduated from Montana. He's building a powerhouse. Why bolt?

10:1

Ty Willingham

Ty Willingham, 55

N/A

Rumored to have already contacted UNLV. Since fading away following his departure from Washington after the 2008 season, it sounds as if he has the itch to get back into the game ... badly.

Say what you will about his ousting at Notre Dame in 2004, but four seasons of minimal results at Washington tarnished his luster in the coaching ranks quite a bit. Does he still have the want-to or ability?

12:1

Mark Banker

Mark Banker, 53

Defensive Coordinator / Secondary Coach, Oregon State

Banker's defenses regularly rank in the upper crust among Pac-10 programs, and in 2008 the unit was second in the country, allowing just 312.2 yards per game. Obviously, this is an area needing to be addressed at UNLV. Plus, he recruits the San Fernando Valley, the Central California Coast and Hawaii. Those are all areas from which UNLV has poached talent regularly in recent years. He's also sent loads of players to the NFL.

Again, no head coaching experience. But, of the potential assistants turning into candidates on the West Coast, this guy might be the most qualified.

25:1

Andy Ludwig

Andy Ludwig

Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach, Cal

Highly-regarded offensive coordinator who helped lead Utah to a BCS bowl victory. Sound familiar? However, as opposed to Mike Sanford, who was a position coach for much of his career, Ludwig has a long list of success stories as an offensive coordinator, including stops at Oregon (2002-04), Fresno State (1998-01) and currently Cal.

Sure, he's been a finalist for several postseason coordinator awards in recent years, but Ludwig has no head coaching experience on his resumé. Plus, boosters and fans might be hesitant about another coach without experience on the defensive side of the football.

35:1

Steve Johns

Steve Johns

Linebackers & Special Teams Coach, Navy

Johns has more of a tie to the UNLV program than almost any other name floating around. He served for six years under John Robinson, first as a graduate assistant in 1999, then as a linebackers and special teams coach. He was also Robinson's recruiting coordinator for five seasons.

If UNLV is truly looking for prior head coaching experience, well, this would not be the way to go.

40:1

Dan Hawkins

Dan Hawkins, 49

Head Coach, Colorado

The rumors are swirling faster and faster as the weeks go by that Hawkins will be bought out from his contract at Colorado following this season. But there also are stories floating around that CU is having a tough time coming up with the money to do so. If Hawkins finds himself out of work, UNLV makes sense. After Koetter left for Arizona State, Hawkins made it work in Boise. He's still relatively young and brings good energy to the table. He also recruits California very well.

Does he want to jump right back into another position if he's let go in Boulder? He'll get a hefty buyout if he does, so taking a sabbatical might not be completely out of the question.

45:1

Kirby Wilson

Kirby Wilson, 48

Running Backs Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)

Wilson interviewed for UNLV's head coaching post last time around, and his extensive experience in the NFL could be a potential chip to use in recruiting.

A long-time NFL assistant who hasn't coached college ball since the mid-1990s? This wouldn't do much to drum up a ton of excitement from a fan base craving excitement.

50:1

Jeff Jagodzinski

Jeff Jagodzinski, 46

N/A

Jagodzinski won't be out of work for long. Let go as the Tampa Bay Buccanneers' offensive coordinator before the season, he was fired by Boston College after interviewing for the New York Jets' head coaching spot. Still, he's a proven success as a head coach. In those two seasons at BC, he was 20-8 and helped develop current young NFL star QB Matt Ryan.

He's never coached west of the Mississippi River, so ties to the area — especially in recruiting — appear to be minimal.

60:1

Nick Holt

Nick Holt

Asst. Head Coach / Def. Coordinator, Washington

A story in the Seattle Times had Holt saying he has no idea where the idea is coming from that he's a candidate for the UNLV job. But, still, he's a defensive coordinator who coached some pretty top-level talent at USC under Pete Carroll before going to Washington with Steve Sarkisian.

His level of interest appears to be low, plus Washington's defense hasn't been anything spectacular this season. He might need a couple more years as a coordinator/assistant head coach to prove himself before moving on.

65:1

Pat Hill

Pat Hill, 57

Head coach, Fresno State

In his 13th season at FSU, Hill has produced nine winning campaigns — he's on pace this season for a 10th — and earned the Bulldogs a reputation as a mid-major threat, year in and year out. Obviously, that would make him attractive in Las Vegas. His recruiting ties in California are beyond strong, too. He also coached at UNLV previously as an offensive coordinator from 1981-82.

Of course, the only way Hill would come to UNLV is if he were to be fired at Fresno State. His team is 6-4 right now, so FSU might be crazy to do that.

75:1

Jim Fassel

Jim Fassel, 60

Head Coach, Las Vegas Locomotives (UFL)

Well, he's proven he knows how to produce a winning football product in Las Vegas.

Fassel coached in the NFL from 1984 to 2006. Wouldn't you think that would be his next destination? His last college gig was as a Stanford assistant from 1979-83.

100:1

Dick Jauron

Dick Jauron, 59

N/A

Jauron was fired this week from his head coaching post with the Buffalo Bills. How fast does he want to be working again? Like Fassel, does he want back in the college ranks?

He's never coached college ball. Don't expect that to start now.

500:1

Chris Ault

Chris Ault, 63

Head Coach, Nevada-Reno

Mike Sanford said at a press conference following his firing that more of a commitment is needed from the administration and community for football to succeed at UNLV. Well, Ault coached at UNLV as an assistant (1973-74) and has made it work in Reno for a long time, sometimes working with much less.

Leave UNR for UNLV? Now? While the Wolf Pack could be a power in the WAC for several years to come? Yeah, right.

1,000:1

Charlie Weis

Charlie Weis, 53

N/A

It's widely assumed that following his recent firing from Notre Dame, Charlie Weis is probably headed back to the NFL to be an offensive coordinator. Can't fault the guy. But, heck, the six wins he posted each of the past two seasons in South Bend which were deemed not good enough? UNLV would kill to achieve that.

UNLV or the NFL? UNLV or the NFL? Hmmm. You decide.

5,000:1

Anyone else

Anyone else not on this list

 

 

 

3:1

Odds — which are for entertainment purposes only — originally provided courtesy of Johnny Avello, Wynn Las Vegas Race and Sports Book Director. Banker photo courtesy of Greg Keane, Johns photo courtesy of GoMids.com, and Ludwig photo courtesy of CBSSports.com. All other photos courtesy of Associated Press.

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