Handicapping Maryland's search for a new football coach

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach remains favorite, but Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is making a push

  • Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn along the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Malzahn won the annual Broyles Award given to the nation's top college assistant coach and has emerged as a top candidate to become a head coach, possibly with the Terps.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn along the sideline… (Dave Martin, Associated…)
December 29, 2010

Here's a handicapping chart for the Maryland coaching search by reporter Don Markus, who is 1-1 in picking previous Terps head football coaching hires. Markus picked Sam Rutigliano over Joe Krivak in 1987, but had Friedgen over the field in 2000.

Pre-race favorite: Mike Leach (5-1)

Though various reports say that Leach's candidacy has cooled in recent days, this still appears to make the most sense. He's immediately available and was making at Texas Tech around what Maryland was paying Friedgen ($2 million per year). Has a combination of a strong coaching record (84-43) and a high graduation rate (around 80 percent).

Coming on strong: Gus Malzahn (8-1)

The only way the Auburn offensive coordinator stays involved is if Maryland alum and Under Armour founder Kevin Plank can't get Leach in the door and agrees to help out with Malzahn's contract demands. Malzahn already turned down a five-year, $3-million-a-year offer from Vanderbilt.

Dark horse: Randy Edsall (25-1)

His name has come up for a number of more prominent jobs than Maryland, but can Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson convince the UConn coach that College Park is a step up? Given that the Huskies are in Scottsdale right now getting ready to play Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, that's a stretch.

Long shot: Brian Billick (75-1)

The former Ravens coach could schmooze the search committee if he could get an interview, but it seems more likely that Billick would get another NFL job with all the vacancies right now.

Double long shot: Mike Locksley (150-1)

If it ever got out that Maryland flew Locksley in on the state's dime, even to talk, I don't think it would go over too well in Annapolis. He's gone 2-22 in two years at the University of New Mexico and has had off-the-field troubles.

Off the board: June Jones.

He'll either be working in the NFL or at Stanford next season, once Jim Harbaugh makes his next move. But the SMU coach certainly added a little excitement to the rather mundane search process by having his agent say the Terps are paying $3.5 million a year.

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