With the Gus Malzahn coaching era coming to an end at Auburn, names are already being floated around for a potential replacement.
The list of options is a mixed bag to say the least.
Yahoo Sports college football reporter Pete Thamel mentioned Mario Cristobal, Hugh Freeze, Dan Quinn and others as possible replacements on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal is certainly an attractive option for the Tigers. In 2019, Cristobal led the Ducks to an outstanding 12-2 record and a Rose Bowl victory. Getting the fourth-year Oregon coach to leave his successful program may be a tough task though.
Auburn is open. Names to watch: Mario Cristobal, Hugh Freeze, Dan Quinn, Billy Napier, Scott Satterfield, Brent Venables, Tony Elliott, Bill O’Brien and Mike Gundy. https://t.co/21b9aBU6cQ
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 13, 2020
A couple fired NFL coaches in Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien have also made their way into the conversation
As head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Quinn collected a 47-45 overall record since taking over in 2015. After starting the 2020 season at 0-5, Quinn was fired by the franchise on Oct. 11.
O’Brien faced similar circumstances this year as he was fired following an 0-4 start with the Texans. In his seven years as Houston head coach, O’Brien boasted a similar barely-winning overall record of 52-48.
While Quinn may not boast too much coaching success in recent years, he comes from a coaching tree that has proven success switching between the NFL and college games. Quinn coached under Nick Saban and Pete Carroll, both of whom have made successful transitions between levels.
When a huge Power-Five coaching job like this opens up, there’s always going to be some enticing options.
The most attractive name on this list has to be Hugh Freeze.
He has everything the Tigers program needs: prior SEC success and the ability to dominate at any level.
In his five years as head coach at Ole Miss, Freeze collected four winning seasons and three bowl-game victories. The only losing season of his eight-year head coaching career came in his final season with the Rebels in 2016.
Freeze is one of the hottest coaches in college football right now, making him a high-value target for any program looking for a new coach. In his second year at Liberty, Freeze has led the Flames to an outstanding 9-1 record.
Auburn finished this season at 6-4.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see where the program goes from here.
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