Bronco Mendenhall has decided to step down as head coach at Virginia. They are now in the market for a new head coach. Here are five potential head coach candidates for the Virginia Cavaliers.
1. Jamey Chadwell
Chadwell has helped Coastal Carolina transition to the FBS level with style. In four seasons as head coach, he has posted a 29-19 record. Over the last two seasons, he has compiled a 21-3 record with two double-digit win seasons. His offense has garnered a lot of attention, as the Chanticleers have been highly efficient. The jump in the competition didn’t bother the Chanticleers, which is indicative of how good of a coach Chadwell is.
Coastal Carolina is in decent proximity to Virginia, so Chadwell can use some of the same recruiting ties he has made while he has been head coach of the Chanticleers. His offense can be successful in the ACC and Chadwell can be successful because he is familiar with getting the most out of his talent after the jump from the FCS level. If Virginia can convince him to leave Coastal Carolina, it would be a dream hire.
2. Brent Venables
Venables has been Dabo Swinney’s defensive coordinator at Clemson since 2012. He has implemented one of the best defenses in the country, which is more important this season with the Tigers’ offense struggling. Before he coached at Clemson he was at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops.
Oklahoma seems to be the favorites to land Venables at the moment because of his familiarity with the program. If he gets that job he will likely go. If he doesn’t he may be ready to move on from Clemson. He can recruit in the same region as Clemson and can help get Virginia’s defense to be one of the toughest in the conference if he decides to take the job.
3. Mike Elko
During his time as Texas A&M defensive coordinator, Elko has helped Jimbo Fisher improve the program and develop NFL talent. Before he was at Texas A&M, he spent time at Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Bowling Green and a few FCS schools. His defenses have helped him become a decently hot name on the coaching market.
While he is currently in Texas, Elko did spend some time in the ACC with Wake Forest. Notre Dame also plays a lot of ACC games. He could take the job and go back to the east coast if he feels he is ready for a head coaching job. Elko is currently a well-paid defensive coordinator, so there may not be too much motivation for him to leave other than him finding the right opportunity for him to be the head coach.
4. Tony Elliott
Elliott was a Clemson player in the early 2000s and has since become a coach for the university. He is the offensive coordinator and has also spent time as the running backs coach dating back to 2011. Prior coaching at Clemson, he coached at Furman and South Carolina State at the FCS level.
His experience in the ACC and in the Carolinas could help him if he decides to leave Clemson for Virginia. He may choose to stay at Clemson and wait for a better offer in due time. If he is itching for a coaching job, this could be a good opportunity, as several of the bigger power five jobs have already been filled.
5. Joe Moorhead
Moorhead is currently the offensive coordinator for Oregon. He has held the position for two seasons and has helped jumpstart the offense when available to coach. Before Oregon, he was the head coach at Mississippi State and the offensive coordinator at Penn State. He is a football journeyman as he previously had stops at Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Akron, UConn and Fordham as an assistant.
Mississippi State didn’t give Moorhead too long to establish himself. If given more than a few seasons to implement his offense, he can be successful at a power five job. With time spent on the east coast earlier in his career, Moorhead could be a good fit if given the chance to coach the Cavaliers.
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