Oregon lost head coach Mario Cristobal to Miami on Monday, leaving one of the West Coast’s premier programs without a leader just nine days before the Early Signing Period.
Cristobal was an internal hire after Willie Taggart departed for Florida State following his first and only season as head coach. The former Alabama associate head coach and FIU head coach, Cristobal transformed the Ducks into a winner with a combination of strong recruiting and staff hires. In Cristobal’s four years with the program. the Ducks won consecutive Pac-12 titles and just played for a third.
After losing two consecutive coaches to Power Five programs in Florida, Oregon has a decision to make. The Ducks can try to continue the East Coast recruiting pipeline that has taken the program to Pac-12 championships in recent year. The alternative is finding a coach that views Oregon as a destination job, one who will commit to the program long term.
Oregon has not made many hires over the past 40 years, so getting a feel for the priorities of this job is tricky. In fact, hiring Taggart from South Florida is the first external hire in Eugene since Rich Brooks in 1977. Cristobal, Mike Bellotti, Mark Helfrich and Chip Kelly were all internal promotions.
Here are nine candidates from a variety of different backgrounds that Oregon could consider for its next head coaching job. The list ranges from up-and-comers to West Coast retreads and even innovative coordinators that could transform the program.
Justin Wilcox, Cal coach
Wilcox is one of the best defensive coaches in college football and the former Ducks defensive back has extensive experience coaching in the region. The one drawback would be on offense; the Golden Bears have consistently been among the…