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TCU Coaching Rumor Mill: Leader (s) in the Clubhouse

From the moment the news broke that Gary Patterson and TCU were going their separate ways, Frog fans have been curious to see who would take on the lead role.

TCU sporting director Jeremiah Donati gave clues last Tuesday as to who TCU plans to be the next head coach. During his press conference, Donati was asked about the qualities he was looking for in the next coach, and he gave us these clues:

  • Not necessarily required to have ties to Texas, although that would be nice
  • Currently Head Coach / Head Coaching Experience
  • Potentially more offensive (Donati went on to explain that it might be “unfair” to have a more defensive coach trying to replace Patterson).

TCU conducted seven interviews last week, including Tony Elliott and Billy Napier, and continues to have more conversations this week.

With that in mind, here is an updated list of potential candidates for the TCU coaching position.

Sonny Digues | SMU HC

Dykes still feels like the leader of the clubhouse, even as the peloton is catching up. Dykes currently has a contract extension with SMU sitting on his desk waiting to be signed, but Dykes has yet to put pen to paper.

TCU is fascinating work for Dykes, who has elevated the SMU schedule exponentially in less than four full seasons on the job.

Advantages: He knows Texas, is highly regarded offensively, and understands how to market and recruit in the new era of NIL and social media.

The inconvenients: Dykes is only 70-60 years old as a head coach, including a single P5 stint at Cal which saw his teams go 19-30. I am not sure

Billy Napier | Louisiana HC

Napier interviewed TCU and is one of the hottest names in coaching right now. His desires to one day train the SEC are well known. That being said, he turned Louisiana into a powerhouse for the G5, taking them to a 36-12 record (including 8-1 this year).

Napier has turned down interviews with Auburn and South Carolina in the past, so why would TCU be any different? At a non-SEC P5 school, he would be able to build a respectable winner, gain more recognition, and do so without losing favor (beating them) with the people around the job he seems to want: Alabama.

Advantages: Napier has proven that he can create a winner and recruit well, you just have to look at Louisiana’s schedule historically before you get there.

The inconvenients: If he builds a winner at the TCU, how long will he be left? Is he even really a jerk? I am not sure.

Tony Elliott | Clemson OC

Elliott interviewed TCU last week, and it’s easy to see why TCU is interested. Elliott has been instrumental in the Clemson offense for the past decade, most notably as a 2015-19 co-OC and an OC in 2020.

In 2021, Elliott was promoted to assistant head coach with his title of offensive coordinator.

Advantages: Elliott has the offensive spirit to lead a quality offense.

The inconvenients: Elliott, a Clemson graduate from California, has no ties to Texas and has never been a head coach.

Matt Campbell | State of Iowa HC

Campbell is flagged as a candidate by both Drew davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Campbell would seriously leave Iowa State for TCU? Who knows, but what’s done is how Campbell elevated the state of Iowa to a national brand. And he did so without successfully winning against key rivals or conference championships.

Advantages: Well recruited and bred an Iowa State program that has always had the game against them.

The inconvenients: No ties to Texas, he’s a Midwestern dweller through and through. Finished only once with less than three losses in the Big 12.

Jay Norvell | Nevada downtown

Norvell has been the Nevada head coach since 2017, where he was 32-24. Prior to Nevada, Norvell spent time as an assistant under Bob Stoops in Oklahoma, and a season in Texas as a WR coach (he also had play call duties for part of that season) .

Advantages: Has recruiting experience in Texas, is an offensive-minded coach.

The inconvenients: Never managed to win Mountain West, is only 3-5 against P5 schools.

Jamey Chadwell | Coastal Carolina HC

Chadwell made Coastal Carolina a well-known commodity, which is an impressive feat in itself. He clearly has the coaching skills to turn lightly recruited prospects into field demons, which was a staple of Gary Patterson during his two decades on campus.

Advantages: Offensive spirit, can develop talent.

The inconvenients: No connection to Texas, had to cancel victories in Charleston Southern.

Chris Petersen | Former Washington HC

Petersen is an interesting name, considering TCU fans knew him well when he was at Boise State. With an overall record (147-39) that rivals Patterson’s, Petersen knows what it takes to make a program a lasting giant.

Advantages: Recruited Texas moderately well while at BSU, he was successful wherever he coached. Offensively brilliant.

The inconvenients: Has retired once because he was physically and mentally exhausted.

Kellen Moore | Dallas Cowboys OC

Moore is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and it looks like he’ll be the NFL head coach before he becomes a college head coach. That being said, Moore seems to have a legitimate interest in TCU, and TCU in him, although the two sides actually reuniting is a long shot.

Advantages: Offensive genius.

The inconvenients: Never been an HC, no ties to Texas, not knowing how he would handle NIL issues and recruiting.

Deion Sanders | Jackson State HC

Another long-standing candidate, the folks at Coach Prime reached out to TCU to express their interest in the job offer. There is no doubt that hiring Deion Sanders would attract a lot of attention to the program.

Advantages: He’s a head coach with ties to Texas, can recruit under his name, understands NIL, and was successful during a short stint at Jackson State.

The inconvenients: Would his brand eclipse the programs? How do we treat its history with things like Prime Prep as part of its legacy?

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