Paul Johnson is retiring from Georgia Tech after 11 years. Who are the five top replacement options to take over?
It’s been … interesting.
So here’s the issue if you’re Georgia Tech.
You’ve done the option thing, and it’s had its moments.
Paul Johnson was able to win an ACC Championship and the Orange Bowl back in 2009, but the program hasn’t been all that close to winning another title since taking down the Coastal in 2014. It was a good run, and the 61-year-old is going out with a winning season, but he also had two losing seasons in the last four, and he won ten or more games just once in the last nine years.
When the option worked, it was amazing, and it was unstoppable. But when the team was losing, it was an easy mark for critics to complain that the offense was past its prime.
So let’s go with one key assumption here – the program is going to want to pivot.
After 11 years of the 1980s offense – and God bless Johnson for bringing back the most wonderful offensive style in football – it’s time for a change.
Take out Army’s Jeff Monken and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo – two obvious and easy choices to step in and keep this all going. And also eliminate Tulane’s Willie Fritz and Georgia Southern’s Chad Lunsford – at least, if you want to buy into the premise that it’s time to change.
Also, Georgia Tech needs a boost.
With Georgia the big Dawg in the state, and with all of its success, Georgia Tech needs to take advantage of its Atlanta footprint and remodel the program to make it a big-time player again.
And remember, this is a hugely attractive job for a whole slew of reasons.
First, it’s in the Coastal – Miami and Virginia Tech are much easier to deal with than that Clemson thing and Florida State, eventually, from the Atlantic. Second, the recruiting base is terrific. And third, Atlanta. Don’t discount just how big a deal it is to some coaches – and the wives of some coaches – to be in a major metropolitan area over College Town USA.
So with all that in mind, here are five names that athletic director Todd Stansbury should probably take a look at.
5. Kliff Kingsbury, former Texas Tech head coach
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the fan base would be all ticked off that it’s getting a guy who couldn’t win at his former job. However, there’s some thought out there that he really is that good and really does have the potential to be special, but coaching at his alma mater wasn’t quite right.
If QB Alan Bowman had stayed healthy – and if the Red Raiders weren’t scrambling in the final weeks with a third or fourth option at quarterback – the team would’ve gone bowling and Kingsbury would’ve still been in Lubbock.
Not that there was too much pressure, but he might be the type of head coach who could flourish with a bit of a clean slate and a fresh start – and a break.
At least, that’s what a whole lot of others think.
There isn’t a hotter name going right now in the assistant coaching circuit, with NFL teams all over the former Red Raider head man to try bringing him aboard.
Considering North Carolina just went old with Mack Brown, and Miami and Virginia Tech are stumbling a bit, bringing in the guy with the high-powered offense – and, don’t forget, the slam-on-desk chip to play in recruiting that he helped make Patrick Mahomes into this – and it just might work.
However, as crazy as it might sound at the immediate moment, Georgia Tech has no shot – he’s probably going to be the USC offensive coordinator as a stepping-stone to a giant gig – unless it breaks the bank.