Scott Frost was supposed to be the answer. After years of searching for a coach that could lead Nebraska back to national relevancy, one of their own was coming off an unbeaten season at Central Florida and was one of the “rising stars” of the profession. Nebraska canned Mike Riley and made the “no-brainer” move of bringing former star quarterback Frost back to Nebraska. Unfortunately for the Huskers, the hire did not go as expected, and a few weeks into the 2022 campaign, athletic director Trev Alberts ended the Scott Frost era. Another former Husker quarterback, Mickey Joseph, was named the interim coach. Nebraska has competed under Joseph, but the results have been poor, and the list of coaching candidates is long.
Nebraska Coaching Candidates
-Matt Rhule – Former Carolina Panthers and Baylor Bears Head Coach
As soon as Matt Rhule was fired from the Carolina Panthers, he became a popular name for this job. Rhule went to Carolina after an impressive tenure with Baylor. His most remarkable coaching work may have come at Temple when he led the Owls to a 10-2 record, a stunning defeat of Penn State, and back-to-back division titles with one conference championship. Rhule succeeded at Baylor and parlayed that into the Panthers’ job. He flopped in the NFL, but there are countless examples of coaches that struggle in the NFL and come back to college and win big. Rhule is known as a great program builder and talent developer. If he hired a strong recruiting staff and took advantage of the built-in NIL support from Nebraska fans, Rhule could win big in Lincoln. If there is a “favorite” for the job, it’s probably him.
-Lance Leipold – Kansas Jayhawks
A proven program builder and winner, Lance Leipold is being tossed around for every open job, thanks to Kansas’ turnaround. While the Jayhawks have come back to earth in recent weeks, the progress is evident, and Leipold’s career results are good everywhere he goes. He won six national titles at Wisconsin-Whitewater, turned the Buffalo Bulls around quickly, and succeeded at Kansas. Leipold would not be a splashy hire, but he would win games and make Nebraska competitive. Do they want a more prominent hire, and if Leipold is the target, is he interested in leaving Lawrence?
-Jeff Monken – Army Black Knights
At first glance, Jeff Monken’s inclusion does not make much sense, but there are rumors that Trev Alberts is somewhat interested in him as a candidate. Nebraska has a rich history of successfully deploying the triple option, and Monken knows how to win with that system. If the Cornhuskers were interested in going back to some version of that attack, Monken would make a lot of sense. He may not be tied to that system, but the bottom line is Monken knows how to win football games. His stability and proven collegiate success are appealing.
Other names that have been linked to the Nebraska head coaching position have varying degrees of seriousness, including Bill O’Brien (Alabama offensive coordinator), Luke Fickell (Cincinnati), Urban Meyer (TV analyst, and no, Nebraska is not hiring him). It would be surprising if the eventual hire came from somewhere other than this list.
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