Ron Zook has been dismissed for less than 48 hours, but Illinois has already compiled an impressive list of coach candidates who could be potential replacements. While former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach remains the most appealing name -- if not a long-shot -- the Illini aren't short desirable options. The latest round of involves Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and Toledo head coach Tim Beckman.
Narduzzi has ties to Illinois AD Mike Thomas, the man charged with replacing Zook. Both spent time at Cincinnati. Narduzzi's Big Ten ties could also make him appealing.
Greg Schiano is another name that might pique some interest in Illini fans. Says the Chicago Tribune:
Schiano, who was a Bears defensive assistant under Dave Wannstedt, has been the head coach at Rutgers since 2001. The Scarlet Knights struggled as a Big East doormat early in his tenure but matured into an annual title contender from 2005-09, playing in five straight bowl games and winning four. He won most of the 2006 coach of the year awards after the significant program turnaround.
College football fans will likely remember Schiano's name being mentioned in past coaching vacancies at Michigan and Miami.
Beckman has gone 8-4 the last two seasons at Toledo.