FAU’s coaching candidate wish list is flush with assistant coaches as potential replacements for Charlie Partridge.
On Sunday, FAU officials made the decision to fire head coach Charlie Partridge. The decision was not that surprising, given the embattled coach’s record in Boca Raton and the way the Owls finished the season.
Partridge was consistent in Boca Raton, unfortunately it was to the tune of three consecutive 3-9 seasons (an overall record of 9-27). There were some close calls along the way, such as last season’s 20-14 overtime loss to Florida, but an inability to win more than three games in Conference USA play ultimately felled Partridge. His fate was ultimately sealed after FAU gave up 77 points in a loss to Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.
Much like rival FIU, the Owls now set sights on a new coach to govern the program in 2017. Unlike FIU, who hired a veteran in Butch Davis away from ESPN, Florida Atlantic very well could pluck a talented assistant hungry to make a name for himself in the head coaching ranks. The location is great for recruiting, the weather is fantastic, and the right hire could do some damage in C-USA.
Below are potential coaching replacements for Charlie Partridge in Boca Raton.
FAU Coaching Candidate Wish List
FAU could really stick it to FIU with this hiring of a former Panthers coach. There’s a prevailing thought that Cristobal was run out of town by FIU AD Pete Garcia without warrant, just one year after guiding the program to its best-ever record (8-5). He’s a native to South Florida, is one of the nation’s best recruiters and has been cutting his teeth under Nick Saban at Alabama.
The Minister of Mayhem made a name for himself as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. In what Dan Mullen called a lateral move, Collins took his talents to Gainesville and has since helmed one of the nation’s best defenses. The Florida Gators have won consecutive SEC East titles on the back of Collins’ unit. With a large swath of his players likely leaving for the NFL, Collins might pack up for a head coaching gig while his stock is peaking.
Coaches from the Urban Meyer tree tend to do very, very well once they set out on their own. Dan Mullen, Doc Holliday, Kyle Whittingham, Charlie Strong (he was awarded the Texas job for a reason), and Tom Herman have all found success as head coaches. Fickell helped steady the transition from Jim Tressell to Meyer, and currently guides one of the nation’s top defensive units.
Another Miami native, Diaz has shown a propensity to jump from job-to-job over the past few seasons. As a member of March Richt’s defensive staff in Coral Gables, Diaz helped drop the Hurricanes’ yards allowed from 405 per game down to 355. He could jump in and immediately recruit the South Florida area.
It’s a credit to the job Dan Mullen has done in Starkville that so many former assistants are on this list. Gonzales has guided the Bulldogs’ offense for the past few years, and is only two seasons removed from coaching a unit that posted 514 yards and 37 points per game. Even this past season, following the departure of Dak Prescott, the Bulldogs still put up 31.5 points per game.
A veteran assistant, Gran has lorded over units from Auburn to Tennessee to Florida State to, now, Kentucky. He’s coached some of the game’s best rushing attacks, and after the Wildcats’ victory over Louisville – and the ascent of Benny Snell and Boom Williams – Gran might be ready for a head coaching gig.
Brewster loves South Florida. Like really loves it. And if there’s any doubt, just check his Twitter feed. One of his small joys in life is heading down the turnpike, plucking top talent from the region and bringing them up to Tallahassee (hello, Dalvin Cook). Brewster had an unsuccessful stint as Minnesota’s head coach earlier this century, but since landing at Florida State has proved himself one of Jimbo Fisher’s top generals.