May 12, 2011

Three and out: Mangino wants back in

Here is this week's "Three And Out," a weekly feature that will provide a quick but opinionated take from Tom Dienhart on three hot topics.

1. Mangino wants back in. Mark Mangino recently spoke to the New Castle (Pa.) News in his first expansive interview since his ouster as Kansas coach following the 2009 season. Mangino lives in Naples, Fla., and has been dabbling in the sport. He has spent time at Oklahoma, Robert Morris, Akron and Delaware. The BYU offensive staff visited with Mangino, who spent some time consulting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "The juices are still flowing," Mangino told the News. "I'm getting the itch." He also said that while he'd like to be a head coach, "if that is not in the cards, then I will be the best assistant coach I can be." Mangino, 54, said he feels "rejuvenated" by his time off and hopes by this time next year, "someone will have decided that they would like to make use of my services." Mangino has a terrific offensive mind, and I hope he is back in the game next year. Who knows? Perhaps he'll land on Oklahoma's staff with long-time friend Bob Stoops.

2. Will Buckeyes need a new boss? Will Jim Tressel survive the scandal that has enveloped Ohio State's program? Whispers already are growing about possible successors for Tressel, should he be fired or resign. Here is my top six: 1. Urban Meyer; 2. Bob Stoops; 3. Bo Pelini; 4. Gary Pinkel; 5. Gary Patterson; and 6. Mark Dantonio. All but Patterson have Ohio ties of some sort, but the only names on the list that would satisfy the Buckeyes' fan base would be Meyer, Stoops and Pelini. Stoops and Pelini would be longer shots than Meyer just because they already have terrific jobs. That makes Meyer - currently working as an ESPN analyst - the obvious target, no matter what one of his daughters tweets. Meyer is a native of Ohio, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a former Bowling Green coach who was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1986-87. Meyer, who turns 47 in July, has a sterling resume that includes two national titles and a 104-23 record in 10 seasons.

3. How long will Fitzgerald remain? Nice job by Northwestern signing Pat Fitzgerald to a contract extension that will run through the 2020 season. Since stepping in after the sudden death of Randy Walker before the 2006 season, Fitzgerald has emerged as the top young coach in America. Fitzgerald, who already is in the College Football Hall of Fame as a player, is 34-29 in five seasons at his alma mater. But how long can Northwestern hang onto him? Yes, school officials will commit greater resources for assistant's salaries, and there are plans to upgrade Ryan Field and the football offices. Still, the ceiling at Northwestern is much lower than it is at other schools. Will Fitzgerald ever want to "scratch the itch" of coaching at a traditional power? I hope Fitzgerald stays at Northwestern forever, but I doubt he sees the end of this contract in Evanston.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for He can be reached at, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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