Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.
Today’s program is Charlotte, coached for the past 3+ seasons by Will Healy (fired on Sunday).
- Shawn Clark – Appalachian State head coach
- Clark will likely get courted by bigger programs, but depending on how many big name jobs are available he may not end up with one of them. Charlotte moving to the AAC raises the profile of the program, and its relative newness (the first football season was 2013) makes it an interesting destination – a bigger name league and the chance to cement the program’s first “football legacy.” Certainly makes sense for Charlotte to explore, availability is the main hurdle.
- Warren Ruggiero – Wake Forest OC
- If AD Mike Hill wants someone with P5 experience and local ties for recruiting, he should be considering Ruggiero, the OC at Wake Forest for the last nine seasons. Wake will go bowling for the seventh time of that tenure this year and Ruggiero is at the helm of one of the best offenses in the ACC. Ruggiero has been a head coach before, having led D-II Glenville State to a 15-8 record over two seasons in the late 90s. Between Glenville and Wake, he also coached at Bowling Green, Kansas State, Elon, Hofstra and William & Mary.
- Phil Longo – North Carolina OC
- The only offense that is producing more yards and points per game this year than Wake is North Carolina, helmed by fourth-year OC Phil Longo. A proponent of the crowd-pleasing “air raid” offense, Longo has also served as OC at Ole Miss (2017-18), Sam Houston State, Slippery Rock, Southern Illinois, UM-Duluth and La Salle. He has some head coaching experience, spending two seasons leading D-II La Salle (2004-05).
- Brad White – Kentucky DC
- White is a former Wake Forest linebacker (and later graduate assistant) who has been at Kentucky since 2018 (and has been DC since 2019). He also spent six seasons on the defensive coaching staff of the Indianapolis Colts before heading to Lexington and the SEC. White has been at the head of some of league’s best defenses over the last few years, with this year’s squad currently ranked second in terms of yards and points allowed per game.
- Joe Cox – Alabama TE coach
- A Charlotte-native and former UGA quarterback, Cox is in first season with the Tide after spending last year on Healy’s staff coaching tight ends for the 49ers. Prior to that, he spent one year at South Carolina, five at Colorado State and actually started his coaching career as the OC at Mallard Creek HS in Charlotte in 2014. He lacks head coaching experience but is a familiar face who is now learning from Nick Saban as part of this era’s premier college football program.
- Drew Cronic – Mercer head coach
- Maybe a bit of a stretch, given that Charlotte is moving to the AAC, but Drew Cronic is working his way up the coaching ranks by winning at every level. He went 22-3 in two years at NAIA Reinhardt, then 25-3 at D-II Lenoir–Rhyne (which is in NC, by the way) and is now 17-10 in 2+ seasons at FCS Mercer. Though he played in the SEC at Georgia, Cronic has never actually coached at the FBS level in any capacity, which means he may need to show he can win at a Sun Belt/C-USA/etc school first.