Colorado football continues its very late offseason coaching search. With a few of the major candidates out of the picture, it looks like the search is expanding.
Colorado alum Eric Bienemy was always viewed as a longshot. The Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator has been up for NFL head coaching jobs over the last two years. His failure to land one of them was a real controversy this year, especially as the sport struggles to land minority coaches in head coaching roles.
Even so, it seemed unlikely that he would head to Colorado with the potential to land a head coaching job in a year. Late last night, he reportedly turned down his alma mater. That came after news that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is out of the running as well. With those two out, the three major names left are former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, who is now a New York Giants assistant, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, and Colorado assistant Darrin Chiaverini, a passionate alumnus who has coached under Bienemy and Mike MacIntyre.
That list may not be final, though. According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the school now has sights on two big-time young coordinators with Pac-12 experience. The school is considering reaching out to Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who previously held the same job at Ohio State and Washington State, and USC offensive coordinator Graham Herrell, a Mike Leach disciple who helped improve the Trojans attack in his first year under Clay Helton.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 21, 2020
Both have been tabbed as future head coaches in recent years. After the 2017 season, when Leach was up for the Tennessee job, there were rumors that Wazzu could promote Grinch to head coach. Instead, Leach stayed for two more seasons before taking over Mississippi State this offseason, and Grinch left for Ohio State.
Harrell is newer to coaching, but is quickly rising through the ranks of air raid coaches. After playing for Leach at Texas Tech, he coached receivers under him at Washington State for two years, before three seasons as offensive coordinator at North Texas, and one at USC. For all of the team’s struggles, and the many significant injuries it dealt with this season, the Trojans’ offense finished No. 9 in the country per ESPN’s SP+ metric.
We’ll see if one of these younger names gains traction here. If not now, expect both to be involved in big coaching searches in the near future.