FIU dismissed head coach Ron Turner after an 0-4 start. Where might the Golden Panthers look during their hiring process?
Ron Turner was dismissed as head coach at FIU following his team’s blowout loss to Central Florida on Saturday.
The Golden Panthers sit at 0-4 after showing signs of life last season, but athletic director Pete Garcia decided to pull the plug on the Turner era after this season’s poor start.
Which replacements might Garcia be looking at as he composes his coaching wish list?
Let’s take a look at five names that ultimately could emerge as potential candidates.
Geoff Collins, Florida Defensive Coordinator
He is considered one of the rising assistants in college football and would bring a newfound energy to a program that desperately needs it. It’s an obvious choice—maybe too obvious for an AD that fired a young energizer in Mario Cristobal who worked relentlessly to build the program and delivered two winning seasons before getting canned. Collins is in the $1 million salary club, though, so he doesn’t have to feel like he needs to accept just any job. But getting a head gig in the state of Florida could be a big lure, and he had interest in this job in the past. In addition, he is well liked at the high school level in Florida.
Butch Davis, TV Analyst/Former Miami Head Coach
Garcia actually thought he had a real chance to land Davis when he dismissed Cristobal, but that turned out to not be the case. Davis would relish an opportunity to get back into the coaching game in a very familiar state. All indications are that he wants to coach again. Can he go the Group of Five route and maybe parlay it into a bigger gig down the road? Davis and Garcia are close, so it makes all the sense in the world.
Art Briles, Former Baylor Head Coach
I am of the belief that Briles will not get another head gig in the college game for a while. However, Garcia is the type of AD that will swing for the fences. Briles needs to rehab his image, and a place like FIU would allow him to do so. Of course, it would be a very hard sell in the collegiate landscape. But I would not be shocked if Garcia puts out feelers, as Briles put Baylor on the national map during his tenure.
Jedd Fisch, Michigan Assistant
The current quarterbacks coach/wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator at Michigan, Fisch has been a longtime college and NFL assistant. He has worked under the likes of Steve Spurrier, Dom Capers, Brian Billick, Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll and now Jim Harbaugh. He deserves a shot at a head gig, and FIU would be the perfect starting point. He is also familiar with the state from his work at Florida, Miami, etc.
Ron Cooper, FIU Assistant
With Turner being let go, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Ron Cooper will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the year. While it is very likely that Garcia will look outside the program for a new permanent head coach, Cooper does have a lot of head-coaching experience and could have a chance to be retained if he can steer this season in the right direction. He was the head man at Eastern Michigan (1993–1994) and Louisville (1995–1997), where he went a combined 22-33, and he has a ton of experience as an assistant as well.