Matt Rhule led Baylor to a great season and a Sugar Bowl appearance after a successful turnaround. He has now left for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. Baylor now has to search for a new head coach very late compared to other schools. Here are five potential head coaching candidates for the Baylor Bears.
1. Blake Anderson
Anderson has coached Arkansas State for six seasons with a 47-30 record. The team has made a bowl game every year he has been there, winning two of them. With one of their best coaches of all time leaving, they could benefit from the stability of Anderson.
One thing connecting Anderson to the job is that he played quarterback and wide receiver at Baylor. Anderson may wish to stay at Arkansas State, but going back to his alma mater could draw him in. The Bears should look to interview Anderson and gauge his interest.
2. Sonny Dykes
Dykes has experience at three different schools as the head coach. He has experience at Louisiana Tech, California and now SMU. His 56-55 record is solid considering the situations he has been in. He won a high of nine games at Louisiana Tech, eight games at California and 10 this past season at SMU.
Not only has he been a head coach in Texas at SMU, but he also spent time in the Big 12 at Texas Tech. With his explosive offense at SMU, which scored 41.8 points per game, he should be able to lead the Baylor offense well. Dykes should be on the shortlist of coaches to hire.
3. Luke Fickell
Cincinnati has found a good coach in Fickell, who has successfully turned around their program. After winning just four games in his first season as head coach, he has won 11 games in each of the last two seasons. He was also a long-time defensive assistant at Ohio State, which he has carried over to Cincinnati.
Fickell will likely not be Baylor’s top choice, but would be a good hire this late in the coaching change cycle. For Fickell to take the Baylor job, he will have to be convinced to leave Ohio, which is where he is comfortable coaching and recruiting.
4. Billy Napier
Napier has been at Louisiana for two seasons now with a 18-10 record. This season, the Ragin’ Cajuns won 11 games including the Lending Tree Bowl. His journey has had stops at Clemson, Alabama and Arizona State.
He was up for other jobs this offseason, most notably Mississippi State, which he turned down. Baylor could offer a program that has more stability than Mississippi State, which might be a factor to lure him away. Napier would take some convincing, but would be a good selection for Baylor.
5. Joey McGuire
McGuire has been an assistant for three years at Baylor. He was promoted in 2019 to associate head coach to go along with the role as defensive ends coach. Before Baylor, he was a high school coach in Texas and won three championships in 14 years.
Because he was a high school football coach in Texas, McGuire will have recruiting ties all across the state. He would also keep some stability in the program, as the players on the roster would already know him. McGuire would be one of the more conservative hires Baylor could make, but he can coach.