ATHENS, GA (WTVM) – Since it was announced on Sunday, a number of potential candidates from across college football have been pointed at as the successor to Mark Richt at UGA.
During a press conference on Monday, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said that they would begin their search with the help of an outside search committee, but did not say when that search would begin officially.
"We will retain the services of a search firm at some capacity and I think the job is wide open," McGarity said.
Some of the potential candidates are popular coordinator choices and other are true dark horses. Here's a short-list of potential candidates for the job:
- Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart – The UGA alum and former player is a top candidate at EVERY major job in the country, and UGA is no exception. Already familiar with the Classic City experience, Smart is the popular choice. What does Smart have to say about all of this speculation? Not much - Alabama head coach Nick Saban has not made his coordinator available to speak with the media, but said "he'd make an outstanding head coach."
- Houston head coach Tom Herman – The former offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Ohio State has led the University of Houston Cougar’s team to an impressive 11-1 season in the American Athletic Conference. The coach is also a top pick for other jobs – and Richt’s firing has folks feeling that Herman’s interests to bigger and better things has been piqued. Also, Herman has killed the rumors that he’s going to South Carolina. UPDATE: Herman signed an extension with UH and will be staying for the next year - probably.
- Current Colorado State head coach and former Georgia OC Mike Bobo – Another UGA alumnus and former offensive coordinator under Richt just left for his first head coaching job – but given the fan base’s opinion on his play-calling, the powers at be at Georgia might be hesitant to hire him back.
- University of Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville - the former Auburn Tigers might be itching to get another shot in the SEC - and the other half of the deep south's oldest rivalry might be the perfect shot for Tuberville to get back in the conference.
- Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly – A longshot, but the current NFL coach and former Oregon Ducks HC could be a name heard among the rumors in Athens.
- Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen – A logical choice: already familiar with the SEC and has a few years of head coach experience, Mullen is another hot commodity coordinator-turned head coach with he left the Florida Gators to take over the job in Starksville.
- Current UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt – If a coach with the credential of studying under Nick Saban is a hot commodity, why not promote from within? While this season has been rife with speculation that he and Richt butted-heads, Pruitt’s passion would be approved in Athens. Plus, Pruitt already has the support of current players.
- Former head coach and current ESPN commentator Jon Gruden: He’s been a name dropped in a lot of high profile jobs in the last few years. A total dark horse, Gruden seems comfortable at his role alongside Mike Tirico on Monday Night Football for the foreseeable future.
Who do you think should replace Mark Richt? Take our poll by clicking here.