The shocking firing of Ruffin McNeill has finally been given some room to breathe, so it is only fair to -look forward and figure out what kind of coach the Pirates would go with moving forward.
What ECU athletic director Jeff Compher wants is a coach that will come in and make East Carolina one of the G5 heavyweights. He wants a coach that will lead an explosive offense and a shutdown defense and own the AAC. That is not realistic to ask out of any coach and there is a chance that Compher is completely insane, but all he wants is his own Nick Saban. Is that too much to ask for?
With that being said, let's take a look at ten of the possible candidates that have been thrown around this past weekend for the head coaching vacancy.
Lincoln Riley, OC, Oklahoma:
Riley is young at only 32 years old. He is experienced as an offensive coordinator since the 2010 season when he was with East Carolina. He has a history with the program, having coached for the Pirates from 2010-2014. Riley will not take the job. He is a good friend of Ruffin McNeill and credits the former ECU head coach for his big break as an assistant coach. Riley is way too loyal to McNeill to take this job, especially in the way that ECU got rid of him.
Matt Canada, OC, North Carolina State:
Part of the Northern Illinois coaching staff as offensive coordinator in 2011 when Compher was the AD at NIU. He is now the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State, a position he has held since 2013. The NC State offense has not been all that incredible, but they do average 33 points per game. While he has no personal history with ECU, he has a history with Compher. This would not be a hire that would help with the PR disaster of McNeill's firing.
Trent Miles, HC, Georgia State:
There is no direct link from Miles to either East Carolina or Compher. Miles has instead had his name bandied around as a hot coaching prospect after leading Georgia State to a 6-6 record and first bowl berth in school history. He does have a history with NIU as an assistant from 1991-1994, but that was way before Compher's time. Miles is an interesting candidate, but needs to prove that this season's 6-6 record was more than a fluke.
Rod Carey, HC, Northern Illinois:
Another of the coaches for NIU while Compher was the AD, Carey was hired by Compher as the head coach after Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State. He is 31-11 as a head coach with three straight MAC West Division titles. He seems to have a good thing going at NIU and it would seem foolish to take over an ECU program that is in turmoil following the firing of McNeill.
Scott Satterfield, HC, Appalachian State:
Satterfield is a coach that will get several looks in the near future from programs. He is only 42 and has led the the Mountaineers to the upper echelon of the Sun Belt in his short time as head coach. He is a native of Hilliborough, North Carolina, a city that is only about 120 miles from East Carolina. Satterfield is an Appalachian State alum, so he would have to decide if this job was better than coaching his alma mater.
Doc Holliday, HC, Marshall:
While he has no ties to Compher or the ECU program, Holliday is a coach that is constantly mentioned when openings become available. He is a coach that could come in and win with the current roster, but being 58 years old, he would be a hard sell for the fan base. They want a young coaching wizard to come in and take the job. In addition, I think Holliday is perfectly content at Marshall.
Shawn Elliott, Interim HC, South Carolina:
The four letter network has thrown out Elliott as a replacement for McNeill. Elliott is part of the Applalchian State coaching tree. He played for the Mountaineers and coached for them, before moving to South Carolina as an assistant and eventual interim head coach. While not directly connected to ECU, he did play for Ruffin McNeill from 1993-1995. I believe he would listen if contacted.
Sonny Dykes, HC, California:
I must admit I was very surprised to see his name on any list for ECU. It seems like wishful thinking more than anything else. Dykes is a good coach, but tends to wear out his welcome quickly and want to move on to another job. He is not happy at California, but I would be stunned if he went from the Pac-12 to the AAC to coach the Pirates. I will shave my head if Dykes gets this job.
PJ Fleck, HC, Western Michigan:
Fleck is part of the coaching staff that was at Northern Illinois while Compher was the AD. He is young, 35 years old, and one of the better up and coming coaching prospects nationally. Right now, Fleck is in a great spot at WMU with a perennially good team that he took from 1-11 to 8-5 and 7-5 seasons. If the the ECU athletic director wants a coach that is offensively oriented and can win, Fleck is a solid pick. I would expect Fleck to at least listen if he is contacted.
Rick Stockstill, HC, Middle Tennessee:
We can knock this one out of the way quickly. Stockstill has no desire to leave Murfreesboro with his son as the starting quarterback and go to East Carolina. He does have a connection with ECU as the offensive coordinator during the 2003 season, before leaving for South Carolina. Maybe if Brent Stockstill wasn't the starting quarterback, he might listen, but this is like a 0% chance in my opinion.