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Five Possible ULM Head Coaching Targets

Most of the big names will be headed to greener pastures than Monroe. The Warhawks will have to find someone willing to work a rebuild. Who will that be?

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Many of the problems at ULM go beyond the head coach and whatever is happening on the field. In order for the Warhawks to start stringing together winning seasons, there needs to be more support and resources invested in the program. I'm not sure administration is willing to do that. We'll probably get a good sense of that with this new coaching hire. Here are some names to keep in mind.

John Mumford

ULM Interim Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach

Whenever a coach gets fired and possible replacements are brought up, the interim should be in the discussion. This is an interesting case, because neither offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Steve Farmer nor co-defensive coordinators Travis Niekamp and Adam Waugh were chosen as the interim coach, which one would usually expect when the head man gets canned.

Before it was announced that Mumford was the choice, I had assumed it would be Farmer. But Farmer is a Berry guy, having played and then coached under him at Illinois State. It could be that ULM AD Brian Wickstrom didn't want to be faced with the decision of giving the reigns over to someone so closely tied to the guy he just fired if Farmer succeeded in the interim role.

As for Mumford, the odds are certainly against him. He briefly served as the interim head coach at Army when Berry was fired there in 2003. Aside from that, his other head coaching experience came at Southeast Missouri State, from 1990-1999. Mumford led the Warhawks defensive front that was one of the most dominant units in the Sun Belt in 2014 and, with most of the pieces back, looked to improve in 2015.

But those improvements never came, and the defense regressed. Unless the Warhawks absolutely dominate Texas State, New Mexico State and Hawaii in their last three games and it is clear that the players respond positively to Mumford, I don't see him getting the nod, and even then it's a longshot.

Kendal Briles

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach - Baylor

If you want a young, up-and-coming coach armed with a fun air raid offensive playbook, you can't do much better than Kendal Briles. At just 33 years old, he would become the youngest head coach in the FBS. He only took the reigns as offensive coordinator in Waco late last season, but he's been the Bears' passing game coordinator for the last three years prior to the promotion. His offense currently leads the FBS in scoring, total yards, and yards per play.

Briles is known for his recruiting prowess, winning multiple Big 12 Recruiter of the Year awards over the last few years. But obviously, he's mostly stayed in Texas. Would he be able to keep those connections while also building up a base in Louisiana?

More importantly, would he want to leave Baylor and the comfort zone he's currently in to take on a rebuilding job? His name is not quite on the level of Tom Herman or Justin Fuente in the coaching carousel rumor mill, but he might be more willing to wait a few years and find a better situation for his first stint as a head coach.

Matt Viator

Head Coach - McNeese State

The Cowboys head coach is 9-0 and currently has his team ranked 2nd in the FCS coaches poll. Viator is a lifelong Louisianan, having coached at a few prep schools in the area before getting the assistant job at McNeese and working his way up. He has a proven track record of success, having gone 68-32 in nine seasons as the head man. He's also been a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award three times.

McNeese is only about three hours away from Monroe, and Viator probably wouldn't have a problem with recruiting the area. But after spending almost his entire professional career at McNeese, would he be willing to leave for a job like ULM?

Viator recently signed a contract extension that pays him about $150,000 per year. Berry was making about $350,000. That kind of raise might be just be too much to pass up.

Major Applewhite

Houston Offensive Coordinator

The former Texas quarterback, who previously served as his alma mater's OC as well, is another up-and-comer who would bring some youthful energy to Monroe, along with a high-powered offensive attack.

The big question here would be if Herman does in fact leave Houston for a big-time coaching gig, would Applewhite be in line for the promotion there? Even if Herman does leave, the writing is on the wall that he'll probably jump ship in a year or two. It would seem to make more sense for Applewhite to wait it out in Houston, although there are of course no promises that he would get the head job when Herman leaves.

Ed Orgeron

LSU Defensive Line Coach

The Louisiana native got another taste of being the head man in 2013 when he was named the USC interim head coach and went 6-2. His players adored him and clamored to bring him back full-time, and that's certainly something Orgeron wanted, but the Trojans athletic department went with Steve Sarkisian instead. He's probably comfortable with where he is at LSU, but the rumors are always circulating about Les Miles possibly leaving. If that were to happen, would it be in Coach O's best interest to jump ship?

Orgeron is probably the best recruiter in the state of Louisiana and would bring enthusiasm and excitement to a downtrodden program and apathetic fan base. But does he have the ability to bring the Warhawks to respectability? He went 10-25 at Ole Miss in addition to his 6-2 record at USC.

It is important to note that Orgeron makes $450,000 per year at LSU. Would the ULM athletic department be able to find the money to make him a competitive offer?