Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/28/11
With Dennis Ericksons ouster, Arizona State is in the market for a new head coach. Theres plenty of debate over who the next ringleader will be, from offensive gurus (Kevin Sumlin) to pirate-admiring personalities (Mike Leach) to retreads (Mike Bellotti). Theres even talk of bringing a red-hot Boise State coach to Tempe. Where have we heard that before? Yep, its the same group of prospects (only with new names) that come up in every coaching search as Lisa Love & co. looks for the next big thing. Maybe its time to throw out the usual suspects and go in a totally new direction. If Love wants to make a true splash, she should turn to popular culture for her talent pool. Weve assembled a list of what we think are the strongest candidates with their pros and cons. Non-fictional coaches are disqualified (with apologies to the Titans' Herman Boone, the Bears George Halas and Notre Dames Knute Rockne and Dan Devine). Also, for what its worth, serious spoiler alerts below. TONY DAMATO Current: Head Coach, Albuquerque Aztecs Past Jobs: Head Coach, Miami Sharks Why This Makes Sense: An established commodity and winner. Has been in pro football for 30 years, so hed know how to bring in the recruits and juggle egos. Many said ASU played uninspired football in the second half of the season; DAmato gave one of the most inspiring locker-room speeches of all time. Arguments Against: A little old-fashioned and doesnt always have his players respect. Maybe past his prime. Isnt he the pro version of Dennis Erickson? A resume with two Pantheon Cups sounds a lot like the 2 national championships Erickson brought to Tempe. ERIC TAYLOR Current: Head Coach, Pemberton Pioneers (PA) Past Jobs: Head Coach, Dillon High and East Dillon High (Tex.). Assistant Coach, TMU. Why This Makes Sense: This is a fickle fan base that doesnt want to wait five years to rebuild. In five years, rebuilt East Dillion High and took them to a championship. Signature slogan, Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Cant Lose trumps ASUs Its Time. Also, weve been watching a lot of Dillon games, and Taylors teams strangely win almost all of their games on the last play -- they know how to close ballgames, unlike the 2011 Sun Devils. Strong Texas recruiting ties. Arguments Against: Will he stick with it? Once forfeited a game at halftime. Quit a college job at midseason. Plus, he's a committed family man who promised his wife she could keep her job in Philadelphia (going to take a big buyout to get her that dream house she saw with Katie McCoy). ED STRAIGHT ARROW GENNERO Current: Head Coach, Texas State University Fightin Armadillos Why This Makes Sense: The maroon and gold have been one of the most penalized teams in college football during Ericksons tenure. They need a guy with Straight Arrow Generros reputation. Gennero led a team with no scholarships to an upset of the top-ranked University of Texas Colts. Strong Texas recruiting ties. Arguments Against: Health risk. Allegedly had a heart attack; turns out it was just indigestion. COACH KLEIN Current: Head Coach, South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs Why This Makes Sense: Took a waterboy with a serious anger-management issue and helped him harness that anger into one of the best and most feared players in college football. Imagine if Coach Klein could do for the mercurial Vontaze Burfict what he famously did for Bobby Boucher. Arguments Against: Lost his playbook to rival University of Lousiana Cougars. ASU has lost three of four to UA. Cant afford that. PAUL "WRECKING" CREW Current: PlayerCoachInmate, The Mean Machine Why This Makes Sense: Colorful personality. Strong evaluator of football potential even among criminals and misfits. If the Sun Devils lose Ericksons highly touted recruiting class, theyre going to need a guy who can make something out of nothing. Arguments Against: Crew has a lengthy rap sheet (including cringe-inducing point shaving). Might spawn awful copycats 21 years later. Also, incarcerated. SAM WINTERS Current: Head Coach, ESU Timberwolves Why This Makes Sense: Longtime college coaching experience. Won the Eastern Athletic Conference (Were assuming this is mid-major). Arguments Against: Does not run a tight ship. Daughter once took a test for the backup quarterback. Players had issues with performance-enhancing drugs, fighting and -- most controversially -- lying down in the middle of a highway to prove their toughness. DANNY O'SHEA Current: Head CoachParent, The Little Giants Why This Makes Sense: ASU loses 24 seniors at the end of the season. Theyre going to be young. They need a guy who can related to young players. Despite Cardinals frequent sellouts and ASUs attendance struggles, not afraid of a One Town, One Team policy. Has John Madden, Emmitt Smith, Tim Brown and Steve Emtman as consultants. Creative coordinator has the gall to call the Fumblerooski from the opponents 1-yard-line. In fact, Michigan States Mark Dantonio used a game-winning play called Little Giants in 2010. Arguments Against: Nepotism. Dennis employed his son Bryce. Danny might play his daughter Becky. Has mostly coached 10-year-olds.
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