Five years ago, the University of Colorado hailed a rising coaching star named Dan Hawkins as the man who could restore a once-proud football tradition in Boulder.
Now, after a Hawkins era filled with tantalizing promise, but more persistent disappointment, CU renews its search for the coach who can return the program to its glory days of the early 1990's.
Among the candidates rumored to be in the running are the 70-year-old Bill McCartney, who led the team to its last national championship in 1990, and former Superbowl champion Jon Gruden, along with a host of others.
At a press conference Tuesday, Athletic Director Mike Bohn cautioned that the school would be limited in the salary it could offer the next football coach thanks to the high cost of a buyout for Hawkins, who was under contract through 2012.
Here are a few of the names being rumored as potential successors to Hawkins.
The only Buffs coach to lead CU to a national championship (1990), McCartney retired in 1994. However, he was mentioned specifically at AD Mike Bohn's Tuesday press conference, and told the Denver Post on Monday that "If Colorado was interested in me, I would definitely be interested in returning."
The ESPN Analyst and former Superbowl-winning coach was mentioned by the Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo as a potential candidate.
Another name dropped by the Daily Camera's Ringo, former CU assistant Miles has coached the national-powerhouse LSU Tigers since 2005. It's unclear whether he has interest in leaving his current position
The former CU running back and current Minnesota Vikings assistant head coach/running backs coach is considered a rising star in the coaching profession. Asked if he had interest in becoming an NFL head coach earlier this year, Bieniemy said "I’m going to take it step-by-step. Obviously, I do have some aspirations. But right now, I’m enjoying what I’m doing."
Another name dropped by Ringo, Bellotti became the winningest coach in University of Oregon history before retiring to become Athletic Director and, shortly after that, an ESPN commentator.
Malzahn's read option offense has catapulted Auburn to a #2 ranking this year. Granted, he has benefited from the dynamic play of Heisman candidate Cam Newton.