Florida State made the bold decision to move on from Willie Taggart, just midway through his second year in Tallahassee, and despite a huge buyout. After a rough end to Jimbo Fisher’s tenure, and a two-year failed Taggart era, the Seminoles need to make a big hire to rebuild the program.
One major name has come up a lot in connection with the job over the last few weeks: former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. He stepped down and passed that job along to Lincoln Riley, but is set to return to coaching next year.
Stoops will coach the Dallas Renegades in the XFL, which relaunches next year. While his departure from OU was initially framed as an early retirement, he hasn’t shut down the possibility of coaching college again, either.
That doesn’t mean he’s the next coach at FSU, though. After reports emerged that he was “finalizing a deal” with the school, he denied the story.
Now, the Tallahassee Democrat reports that Bob Stoops is not, in fact, a candidate for the job.
“Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position, according to two sources familiar with the search.
“Meanwhile, FSU has been conducting interviews and will continue to do so over the course of the next two weeks, the sources said Friday.”
That doesn’t mean Florida State won’t target some major candidates. The same report names a number of big-name coaches from throughout the college football world.
Penn State’s James Franklin is the most prominent coach mentioned, but the report also names Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, who is one of the hottest commodities in football coaching, and Memphis’ Mike Norvell as potential options.
“Top candidates on the Tallahassee Democrat’s Hot Board include Memphis head coach Mike Norvell, Penn State coach James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, among others.”
Franklin has already addressed these connections to jobs like this and USC, saying that he and his family love it at Penn State.
Even if Bob Stoops doesn’t take the Florida State job, the Seminoles could have a Stoops on the sideline in 2020. His brother Mark Stoops, currently the head coach at Kentucky, has experience bringing a program out of the doldrums, and has also been mentioned as a potential fit for the ‘Noles.