Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) vs. Brian Kelly (Cincinnati)
Kelly defeated Missouri coach Gary Pinkel in the second round by taking 64% of the vote; Bob Stoops slipped by Rich Rodriguez with a late surge in the second round, taking in 57%, and Stoops smoked Carolina Panthers assistant Mike Trgovac in the first round by a wide margin.
Brian Kelly [bio, Cincinnati official site] is a name that’s come up quite a bit with respect to this job. He was a strong candidate for the Spartan job but something happened somewhere along the way and MSU ended up with Mark Dantonio. Shortly thereafter Kelly then replaced Dantonio as the Bearcats coach. Word on the street is that there’s some serious hard feelings between Kelly and MSU following the hiring process, so much that Kelly wouldn’t release one of his players to rejoin Dantonio. Jim Carty of the AA News wrote on this during the summer.
Kelly’s pedigree is of course largely based in Michigan, first he had ridiculous success at Grand Valley State leading his teams to multiple national titles, and then in 2005 to Mount Pleasant where he led the Central Michigan to a league championship. He took over after current M offensive coordinator Mike DeBord quit.
There’s risk is giving Kelly the job. Let’s put aside the comments and his handling of the incident where CMU players allegedly stomped a man to death, Kelly hasn’t really had a chance to show what he can do at a top tier school. God bless him for the success at GVSU and CMU but it’s not the Big Ten. I think M fans would be more comfortable with coach with a little more seasoning, perhaps a few years into the Cincinnati job would make BK a better option. Either way, he’s at or on the top of most punits’ lists. For me, it’s just hard to see Michigan hiring a man who wasn’t good enough for Michigan State.
Stoops [bio from the Sooners official site] Also from Youngstown OH, Stoops coaching pedigree traces from Iowa (where he holds a degree), Kent State Kansas State, to Florida to the OU gig. Like Trgovac, he also has some cred as a player:
Accomplishments as a Player
# Four-year starter for the Hawkeyes (1979-82).
# Honorable mention All-America honors at defensive back, Iowa’s MVP (1982)
# Two-time All-Big Ten selection (1979 & 1982)
# Finished with 205 tackles and 10 interceptions and was called “the hardest hitter among Iowa defensive backs.”
Like Florida’s Urban Meyer, Stoops is a proven winner and still a hot name in the coaching ranks. Also like Meyer he’s had some player issues but no serious recruiting violations (yet). And again just like Meyer, Oklahoma isn’t exactly a stepping stone to bigger college football opportunities. Would he leave OU for a chance at the Michigan gig? Doubtful, but who knows. Here’s Stoops on this topic at a recent press conference:
“Where does that come from? Some guy throws out a pool of names, so now I’m out there,” Stoops said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I’m not a candidate for any job, not this one or any of the next ones that are coming in the next few weeks.”
Kelly advances over Stoops with 57% of the vote, here’s the current match-up: