This coaching search is amazing. After Petrino was fired in April, visions of every top coach in the country danced in Razorback fans' heads. Jon Gruden! Pete Carroll! Sean Payton! Bill Cowher! Nobody was too far out of reach. Then Jeff Long announced the hiring of L and Razorback fans farted in Long's general direction.
The coaching front was pretty quiet over the summer but has been full blast since the Louisiana Monroe game in September. As the football team's biggest question became "In which circle of hell are we?" many of the lower-tier coaches developed a following. It was kind of like Razorback fans became indy music fans and wanted to share the discovery of some cool new coach. Sonny Dykes. Willie Taggert. Mark Hudspeth. Paul Rhoades. Butch Jones. All of them had followers in Arkansas.
But now as the search is finally winding down, we've gone back to silly season. Gruden is back at the top of every message board. Have you heard "Hey Grude"? John Daly is talking about him on the radio. [UPDATE: Jim Harris reported today that Gruden has been offered the Arkansas job. Stay tuned for more updates.] And we've got Mike Gundy on the radar now as well. A lot of people seem to believe an issue with his AD or an issue with T. Boone Pickens will be enough for him to leave his alma mater for Arkansas. Last week, Gary Patterson was the hot name. A few media people even tweeted that Patterson was highly likely to be the guy. A couple of people have publicly stated that the search is actually done (but don't state who the coach is), and just waiting to make it official. And that doesn't begin to discuss the Bo Pelini rumor. This is going to be BANANAS!
Now that Tennessee has officially fired Derek Dooley, it is fun to see Vols fans going through the exact same things Arkansas fans have been going through for months. They think the exact same things we do.
Remember, this isn't just a list of everybody who might be a good fit for Arkansas, it's more a list of people who are mentioned either by folks in the media or frequently seen names on the message boards. There are several other coaches not seen here who may be getting looked at but we haven't heard much about them.
As always, with most coaching searches, we have no idea who's actually on Jeff Long's list and the next coach could very well be someone completely out of left field.
CANDIDATES FROM WITHIN THE CURRENT STAFF
OTHER COLLEGIATE HEAD COACHES