Kentucky already has announced that offensive coordinator Joker Phillips will become coach when Rich Brooks retires. We asked Merritt Norvell to help us come up with a list of 10 other black assistants who are ready to become college head coaches. Norvell is executive vice president and managing director of DHR International, the fifth-largest executive-search firm in the United States. Norvell, a former athletic director at Michigan State, also runs the Minority Football Coaching Academies for the NCAA.
WHO'S NEXT? THESE GUYS ARE READY
1. DeWayne Walker, UCLA defensive coordinator: He has built some of the top defenses in the nation of late. He's considered a big-time recruiter. His star may cool a bit if UCLA has a poor season.
2. Jay Norvell, Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator: The former NFL assistant has strong credentials and is considered an excellent teacher. Needs to be with hot team to get the right head-coaching call. This could be the year. (Jay is Merritt Norvell's son.)
3. Mike Locksley, Illinois offensive coordinator: A great recruiter and teacher. Illini need to have a big offensive season for him to get the call. On a lot of short lists.
4. Tyrone Nix, Ole Miss defensive coordinator: He's young (35) but has had a lot of success with his defenses. Has worked for excellent head coaches at Southern Miss (Jeff Bower) and South Carolina (Steve Spurrier).
5. Woody McCorvey, Mississippi State offensive coordinator: Excellent coach with strong credentials, but his age (57) will be a factor for some schools.
6. Mel Tucker, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator: Young (36) but moving up the coaching chain quickly. He was named the Browns' defensive coordinator in January after spending three seasons as the secondary coach. Has had excellent mentors at Ohio State (Jim Tressel), LSU (Nick Saban) and Cleveland (Romeo Crennel).
7. Charlie Strong, Florida defensive coordinator: Has had lots of interviews and should have been a head coach by now. Good coach but needs to work on off-field skills.
8. Ron English, Louisville defensive coordinator: Former Michigan defensive coordinator needs more exposure and probably is two or three years from serious offers.
9. James Franklin, Maryland offensive coordinator: Immediate fortunes depend on how Maryland does. Young (36) coach with strong credentials and will run Ralph Friedgen's offense.
10. Garrick McGee, Arkansas quarterback coach: Bright guy, and former Northwestern offensive coordinator (and former Oklahoma quarterback). Exposure to Bobby Petrino will be good for his future. Lots of potential, but two or three years from serious offers.
OTHERS TO WATCH:Charlie Baggett, Washington wide receivers coach; Mike Haywood, Notre Dame offensive coordinator; Calvin Magee, Michigan offensive coordinator; Marvin Sanders, Nebraska secondary coach; David Shaw, Stanford offensive coordinator; Eric Studesville, Buffalo Bills running backs coach; Don Treadwell, Michigan State offensive coordinator; Tom Williams, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant; Kirby Wilson, Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach.
PAST BLACK HEAD COACHES
"Previous job" refers to job prior to becoming head coach.
Jerry Baldwin, Southwestern Louisiana
Record: 6-27. Previous Job: LSU defensive ends coach.
Current Job: Minister in Ruston, La.
Tenure: 1981-85 at Northwestern/1989-91 at Stanford
Record: 10-45 at Northwestern/16-18 at Stanford (0-1 in bowls) Previous Jobs: Stanford offensive coordinator/San Francisco 49ers wide receivers coach.
Current Job: NFL broadcaster.
Fitz Hill, San Jose State
Record: 14-33. Previous Job: Arkansas wide receivers coach.
Current Job: President of Arkansas Baptist College.
Willie Jeffries, Wichita State
Record: 21-32-2. Previous Job: South Carolina State coach.
Current Job: Retired.
Wayne Nunnely, UNLV
Record: 19-25. Previous Job: UNLV running backs coach.
Current Job: San Diego Chargers defensive line coach.
Tenure: 1995-2001 at Stanford/2002-04 at Notre Dame.
Record: 44-36-1 at Stanford (1-3 in bowls)/21-15 at Notre Dame (0-1 in bowls). Previous Jobs: Minnesota Vikings running backs coach/Stanford coach.
Current Job: Washington coach.