Texas Longhorns Coaching Hot Board: Top 10 Replacements For Charlie Strong

Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong was on the hot seat when the season started, but after losing to Kansas on Saturday, Texas has made the decision to fire Strong, effective after Texas plays their season finale against TCU on Friday.

So, who could take over the Longhorns program after Strong? Nick Saban was the Longhorns' top target last time before they hired Strong, but that's an absurd pipedream at this point in Saban's career. Former Baylor head coach Art Briles may also be interested, but it would be toxic for the Longhorns to hire him given the scandal he was at the center of at Baylor. With that in mind, here are Strong's top 10 potential replacements:

10) Major Applewhite, offensive coordinator, Houston

A former Longhorns quarterback, Applewhite has had a ton of success as Houston's offensive coordinator. He has led the high-flying offense that has made the Cougars one of the top teams in the country, and will be getting a head coaching job sooner rather than later. That time is thought to still be a year or two away, but his ties to Texas mean he should at least get a call.

9) Todd Graham, head coach, Arizona State

Graham has been a job-jumper in the past (he went from Tulsa-Pittsburgh-Arizona State in three years), but Texas could keep him in one place for a long time. ASU's so-so records the last year and half keeps him from being in the top two groups, yet past success (back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014) means he could get a call.

8) Jim Mora, head coach, UCLA

Texas offered Mora the job before it went to Strong, but Mora turned it down. If Strong is fired, Texas could try to lure Mora away from UCLA again. He has dropped down this list with UCLA underachieving this year, but that also means he could be more likely to leave.

7) Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator, Alabama

Yes, this may seem like a horrible idea, but Kiffin has rehabbed his image enough under Nick Saban for him to get another head coaching job. Texas would undoubtedly quiz him on what he learned under Saban and wouldn't give him a long-term deal. It would be a gamble, but someone is going to take it. Remember, Kiffin is still young (41) and one of the best coordinators in the country. 

6) Larry Fedora, head coach, North Carolina

Fedora's name has been mentioned with every job opening this offseason due to his success at North Carolina. After leading the Heels to an 11-3 record last year, he has them at 8-3 this year and among the better teams in the country. He also has surprising ties to the state of Texas. Fedora attended Austin College, coached at Garland High School and started his D-I coaching career as a position coach at Baylor. 

5) Dan Mullen, head coach, Mississippi State

Mullen showed what he can do by taking Mississippi State to the No. 1 ranking in the country for most of the 2014 season, but it appears that he's taken the Bulldogs has far as he can take them and could be looking to a job upgrade. If he was able to make the Bulldogs one of the best teams in the country, imagine what he can do with everything Texas has to offer.

4) Les Miles, former head coach, LSU

Miles had run his course at LSU, but he's still known as one of the best coaches in the country, particularly defensively - which Texas really needs to upgrade. He is also one of the best recruiters in the country, and would bring a high level of talent to Austin. There are questions about what he can do offensively, but his track record speaks for itself.

3) Jim McElwain, head coach, Florida

A USA Today report says that Texas has McElwain in a group of candidates behind their top choice, and it certainly makes a lot of sense. After serving as Alabama's offensive coordinator under Nick Saban, McElwain took the head coaching job at Colorado State before moving on to Florida. All he has done is go 39-22 record in nearly five seasons, including 7-2 with the Gators this year. Last year, he led UF to a 10-4 record and a SEC East title - the kind of proven track record that makes him appealing.

2) Hugh Freeze, head coach, Ole Miss

Freeze is also mentioned in the report as being in that second group of candidates. He has only been coaching college football at the Division I level since 2006 (tight ends coach at Ole Miss), but his nearly five years as the head coach Ole Miss have been impressive. The Rebels have improved every season under Freeze, culminating in a 10-3 season with a Sugar Bowl victory last year. 

1) Tom Herman, head coach, Houston

This is where Texas' search starts, and where it is expected to end. Herman led Houston to national prominence in each of his two seasons at the school. He will get offers from every program with a vacancy, but Texas is his top choice given the fact that he has spent a large majority of his coaching career in the state. Texas has already reached out to Herman's agent

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Related Topics: Texas Longhorns Football, Big 12 Football, NCAA Football, Charlie Strong