With Black Monday – the day following the conclusion of the regular season when a number of NFL head coaches will inevitably lose their jobs – about a week away, clubs will soon take a circumspect look at the available candidates. Many of those replacement options will come from the NFL ranks, but college coaches will naturally engender interest, as well. Two such NCAA coaches, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, are Jim Mora of UCLA and Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern.
Mora, 54, spent 2004-06 as head coach of the Falcons, earning a postseason berth during his first season; he was also the Seahawks’ head coach during a forgettable 2009 season. He’s been much more successful during his NCAA time, posting a 37-16 record in Los Angeles. Per La Canfora, More might not be too eager to make the jump to the NFL, as he has long-term job security and one of the top collegiate rosters at UCLA. But the Chargers job, if open, would be particularly appealing to Mora, as he’d be able to stay on the West Coast while leading a team with a franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers.
The 41-year-old Fitzgerald has been garnering NFL interest for years, per La Canfora, as clubs are impressed that Northwestern has been able to stay competitive in the Big 10 despite lacking top-end talent. NFL teams are even more impressed this season, says La Canfora, and search firms are actively testing Fitzgerald’s level of intrigue in leaping to the NFL. One possible roadblock? Fitzgerald might be reticent to leave the greater Chicago area (and the Bears job isn’t likely to open up any time soon).
The Titans and Dolphins will certainly be searching for new head coaches this offseason, while the Rams, Browns, Giants, 49ers, Lions, and Saints could also be in the hunt.