Who will replace Jeff Scott as USF football coach?

USF is looking for a new football coach after firing Jeff Scott on Sunday. So who is next for the Bulls?

Let’s address some realistic candidates and some long-shots:

Related: USF football coach Jeff Scott fired after three seasons

Jackson State coach Deion Sanders

Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders likely will have Power Five suitors. [ ROGELIO V. SOLIS | AP ]

We’ll start here because multiple USF fans (and at least one former player) have brought up the Florida State and NFL legend. He would be a dynamic recruiter and bring the sizzle USF needs to stand out in a pro market. He is also 24-5 (9-0 this year) in three seasons at Jackson State. But we can’t see him leaving the HBCU for anything other than a Power Five job.

Former Houston/Texas coach Tom Herman

Tom Herman flopped at Texas but won big at Houston.
Tom Herman flopped at Texas but won big at Houston. [ CHARLIE NEIBERGALL | AP ]

The Bulls have already failed with one former Longhorns coach (Charlie Strong), but Herman is intriguing and is believed to have interest in the job. His 22-4 stint in the AAC at Houston included a Peach Bowl win over FSU. He is working as a CBS Sports analyst this season.

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt

Jim Leavitt is the most successful (and controversial) coach in Bulls history.
Jim Leavitt is the most successful (and controversial) coach in Bulls history. [ Times (2002) ]

A section of the Bulls fan base will clamor for Leavitt, who coached the program from its first game until his controversial exit after the 2009 season. He took the Bulls to five bowl games and No. 2 in the country in 2007, but it’s hard to see USF going back to this well. He hasn’t been a head coach since the Bulls fired him after concluding he struck a player and interfered with the school’s investigation.

Former UCF/Nebraska coach Scott Frost

Scott Frost turned things around at another American Athletic Conference school.
Scott Frost turned things around at another American Athletic Conference school. [ NATI HARNIK | AP ]

Like Herman, he failed in the Power Five but dominated the AAC; just ask the Knights about the national title they claim from 2017. The idea of ​​Frost coaching UCF’s rival is juicy.

Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken

Todd Monken was a Bucs assistant in the Jameis Winston era who is the offensive coordinator for No.  1 Georgia.
Todd Monken was a Bucs assistant in the Jameis Winston era who is the offensive coordinator for No. 1 Georgia. [ Times (2017) ]
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The former Bucs assistant helped the Bulldogs win it all last year and took Southern Miss from 1-11 to 9-5 as its head coach. Would this job interest him?

Indiana coach Tom Allen

Indiana coach Tom Allen has a better job than USF, but his Hoosiers are having a rough season.
Indiana coach Tom Allen has a better job than USF, but his Hoosiers are having a rough season. [ DOUG MCSCHOOLER | AP ]

No, we can’t envision Allen leaving a Big Ten job for the Bulls. But if things go south at Indiana — he’s 3-6 this season and 1-5 in the conference — maybe he’d go south to USF. He was the Bulls’ defensive coordinator in 2015 and started his coaching career in Hillsborough County at the now-defunct Christian high school, Temple Heights.

Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham

Oregon's Kenny Dillingham is another candidate who likely will be pursued by Power Five programs.
Oregon’s Kenny Dillingham is another candidate who likely will be pursued by Power Five programs. [ SEAN MEAGHER | oregonlive.com ]

The former FSU assistant has ties to the state and is viewed as a rising star in the profession. We expect the Arizona native to be in the mix for the Sun Devils job, though he might need to start his head coaching career in the Group of Five.

Florida State offensive coordinator Alex Atkins

Alex Atkins revamped FSU's historically bad offensive line.
Alex Atkins revamped FSU’s historically bad offensive line. [ RYALS LEE, JR. | Courtesy of FSU athletic department ]

Like Dillingham, Atkins is a promising young assistant pegged as a future head coach after rebuilding a historically bad offensive line. His name has been mentioned in the Charlotte search, but USF would be a step up from that.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh

Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh is a key figure in the Volunteers' breakthrough season.
Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh is a key figure in the Volunteers’ breakthrough season. [ WADE PAYNE | AP ]

Golesh is involved in one of the best offenses in years, helping the Volunteers to a breakthrough season. He was also Josh Heupel’s co-offensive coordinator at UCF in 2020, so he has some history in the state and with the conference.

Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz

Would former Miami head coach Manny Diaz be interested in returning to Florida?
Would former Miami head coach Manny Diaz be interested in returning to Florida? [ CHRIS SEWARD | AP ]

He was the architect of Miami’s elite 2017 defense but was fired after going 21-15 in three seasons as the Hurricanes’ head coach. The Miami native and FSU alumnus has connections all over the state. Would he generate enough buzz and wins for a Bulls program in need of both?

Former Florida coach Dan Mullen

Dan Mullen led the Florida Gators to three New Year's Six bowl games before getting fired in Year 4.
Dan Mullen led the Florida Gators to three New Year’s Six bowl games before getting fired in Year 4. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

We don’t expect Mullen to stay in his ESPN analyst role for long. We also wonder whether his sights are set on bigger jobs.

Former Memphis/Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente

Justin Fuente, left, fared well at Memphis before getting fired at Virginia Tech.
Justin Fuente, left, fared well at Memphis before getting fired at Virginia Tech. [ MONICA HERNDON | Times (2017) ]

Like Frost and Herman, Fuente succeeded in the AAC (19-6 in his last two years with one conference title) but failed at the Power Five. Unlike Frost, he doesn’t have any obvious Tampa or Florida ties.

Toledo co-offensive coordinator Robert Weiner

Former Plant High head coach Robert Weiner knows this area and has a knack for recruiting.
Former Plant High head coach Robert Weiner knows this area and has a knack for recruiting. [ Times ]

He coached Plant High to four state championships, so he is well known among area coaches. He is in his third season with the Rockets (who ended October with one of the nation’s top 25 criminal offenses) and is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the Mid-American Conference. Weiner also briefly took a job on USF’s staff in 2013 before changing his mind.

Howard coach Larry Scott

Howard coach Larry Scott helped build USF from the ground up.
Howard coach Larry Scott helped build USF from the ground up. [ NICK WASS | AP ]

The Sebring native was a member of the Bulls’ inaugural recruiting class, worked at Tampa’s Freedom High and Wharton High, and was a USF assistant from 2005-12. He was also an assistant with the Gators’ and Miami’s interim coach in 2015, so he’s well established in the state. But he is only 6-16 since taking over Howard in 2020.

Former Florida coach Urban Mayer

Urban Meyer is a Fox Sports analyst now, but we're obligated to mention him as a potential coaching candidate.
Urban Meyer is a Fox Sports analyst now, but we’re obligated to mention him as a potential coaching candidate. [ PAUL SANCYA | AP ]

An obligatory inclusion because we’ve been asked about the three-time national champion. It seems highly, highly unlikely that the Bulls would hire him after his turbulent tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars or that his ego would allow him to take this job.

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