Highly regarded Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst interviewed for the Kansas University job, but KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger’s focus recently has turned to “NFL guys,” according to an industry insider.
Three former NFL coaches are believed to be interested in heading college programs: Brad Childress, Herman Edwards and Jim Mora, Jr. (It’s not yet known whether KU graduate Jack Del Rio, recently fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has any interest in trying college coaching. An All-American linebacker at USC, where he earned 1985 Rose Bowl honors, Del Rio attended KU to finish up his degree while on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster.)
Also, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been on Zenger’s radar.
Childress, Minnesota Vikings head coach from 2006-2010, has the most extensive college experience among the former NFL head coaches testing the college waters and the lowest name-recognition with national recruits.
Childress, 55, regarded as having an innovative offensive mind, held offensive assistant positions at Illinois (1978-84), as quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 1985, then held offensive assistant jobs through 1998, working for Northern Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin (1991-1998). He worked as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles for the next seven seasons, the last three as offensive coordinator.
Childress’ interest in college jobs has taken place under the radar, much as has Zenger’s search.
Edwards has limited college coaching experience and the highest profile of the three with national recruits, who feel as if they know him because he’s so telegenic in his work for ESPN.
A hard-hitting defensive back in the NFL who in nine seasons never missed a game because of injury, Edwards’ only college coaching experience came at San Jose State (1987-89) as an offensive assistant. He worked as a scout and then defensive assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a defensive backs coach/associate head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the compiled a 54-74 regular-season record as a head coach with the New York Jets and Chiefs.
Mora was a graduate assistant at his alma mater, University of Washington, in 1984 and has worked in the pros ever since. He compiled a 31-33 record as head coach for the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. Mora’s name had come up in the Arizona State search, but ASU reportedly has more interest in SMU coach June Jones.
Edwards’ name has come up for the UCLA job.