Will Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald be 2013's hottest coaching candidate?
We're just two weeks into the college football season, but two coaches of major programs already find themselves firmly in the hot seat. USC's Lane Kiffin and Mack Brown of Texas each stand at 1-1 on the year after disappointing Week 2 losses to unranked teams. Rumblings in Southern California and all around Texas suggest the fans are less than happy with their head coaches, and one name has been repeatedly raised as an up-and-coming star to replace them -- Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.
With a coaching resume that strong, the bigger programs are likely to start knocking soon, but would Fitzgerald want to leave? A former player at Northwestern, he obviously has a strong connection to the program. He's making good money, but nothing close to what Texas or USC could offer him, and the fans love him so much they want him to coach more sports at the school.
USC athletic director Pat Haden is apparently a fan of Fitzgerald's, and the two have reportedly spoken at functions. We will have to see if that is enough to sway Fitzgerald from his comfortable spot with the Wildcats, who are currently ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll. USC and Texas are both unranked.
Another rising star who could get hired by a major program is Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. After making an early recruiting splash with the Commodores, the coach was able to translate that onto the field. Vanderbilt made bowl games in each of Franklin's first two seasons, the first time in program history the team had back-to-back postseason appearances. The Commodores also finished ranked in both polls for the first time since 1948.
Franklin may be more likely to leave his current position than Fitzgerald, as he has no previous connections to the program. We will keep a close eye on these two and any possible destinations for them as the season progresses.
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