Bookmaker gives odds on South Carolina's next head coach
Bookmaker Bovada has listed Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as the odds-on favorite to become South Carolina’s next head coach.
Smart, who has led the Crimson Tide’s defense since 2008, is a 5-2 favorite to replace Steve Spurrier as the Gamecocks’ coach.
Shawn Elliott, South Carolina’s interim head coach, is next in Bovada’s odds at 3-1.
Memphis head coach Justin Fuente and former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron, who is currently LSU’s defensive line coach, both have 4-1 odds.
Bovada also listed Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm, Toledo head coach Matt Campbell, Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth, Utah State head coach Matt Wells and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio as potential hires.
Steve Spurrier resigned earlier this week after 11 seasons coaching the Gamecocks. He went 86-49 during that time.
A look at the head coaching candidates:
Kirby Smart – Smart, 39, has been Alabama’s defensive coordinator since 2008. He was the 2009 Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in college football. Since Smart joined the Crimson Tide’s staff in 2007, Alabama has won three national championships and three SEC titles. Before becoming the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, he was an assistant coach under Nick Saban in 2004 at LSU, 2006 with the Miami Dolphins and 2007 at Alabama. He was also the running backs coach at Georgia in 2005, where he helped the Bulldogs win an SEC title.
Shawn Elliott – Elliott, 42, took the reins of the Gamecocks after Spurrier resigned. Elliott has been on the South Carolina staff since 2010, and has been the co-offensive coordinator since 2012. Under his guidance, the Gamecocks averaged 31.5 points per game in 2012, 34.1 points a game in 2013 and nearly 33 points per game in 2014. Before coming to South Carolina, Elliott was the offensive line coach at Appalachian State, where he helped the Mountaineers win three consecutive Division I-AA national championships from 2005-07.
Ed Orgeron – Orgeron, 54, was the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07, when he went 10-25. More recently, he was the interim head coach at Southern Cal in 2013, when he led the Trojans to a 6-2 record after taking over for Lane Kiffin. This is his first season on Les Miles’ staff at LSU. Orgeron earned two national championship rings as an assistant coach at USC in 2003 and 2004. He has also been an assistant coach at Tennessee, Syracuse, Miami (Fla.), Arkansas and with the New Orleans Saints. He is widely regarded as one of college football’s top recruiters.
Justin Fuente – The 39-year-old Fuente is in his fourth season as Memphis’ head coach. He currently has a 22-20 record, but is 15-3 in his last 18 games. In 2014, he led the Tigers to a 10-3 record and a share of the American Athletic Conference championship, which was Memphis’ first conference title since 1971. Memphis has started this season 5-0. Before going to Memphis, Fuente was TCU’s co-offensive coordinator from 2009-11.
Jeff Brohm – Brohm, 44, is in his second season as the head coach at Western Kentucky. He led the Hilltoppers to an 8-5 mark last year, and they have started the 2015 season 5-1. Before becoming Western Kentucky’s head coach, Brohm was the Hilltoppers’ offensive coordinator in 2013 and held the same position at UAB in 2012 and Louisville in 2008. Brohm spent seven years in the NFL as a quarterback with the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns.
Matt Campbell – The 35-year-old Campbell is in his fourth season as Toledo’s head coach. He has led the Rockets to a 31-13 record and two bowl wins. In 2014, Toledo went 9-4 and earned a share of the Mid-American Conference title. Campbell is one of the youngest FBS head coaches.
Mark Hudspeth – Hudspeth, 46, has gone 38-18 in four-plus seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns have gone 9-4 and won the New Orleans Bowl in each of the past four seasons. They earned a share of the Sun Belt Conference title in 2013. Before going to Louisiana-Lafayette, Hudspeth went 66-21 in seven seasons at Division II power North Alabama, and reached the Division II semifinals three times.
Matt Wells – Wells, 42, has a 22-11 record in two-plus seasons at Utah State. In 2013, his first season, the Aggies went 9-5 and won the Mountain West Conference championship. Last year, they went 10-4. Wells was previously an assistant coach at New Mexico, Louisville, Tulsa and Navy.
Mark Dantonio – The 59-year-old Dantonio is a former South Carolina defensive back, and arguably the most prominent name on this list. In eight-plus seasons as Michigan State’s head coach, Dantonio has gone 81-31 and has four seasons of 11-plus wins. In 2013, the Spartans went 13-1, won the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl and finished third in the nation. Last year, Michigan State went 11-2, won the Cotton Bowl and finished fifth in the final AP and Coaches polls. Before going to Michigan State, Dantonio spent three seasons as Cincinnati’s head coach, going 18-17.