Les Miles, Lane Kiffin & Charlie Strong Top The List Of USF Coaching Candidates

USF will start with Miles and Kiffin as big name replacements for Willie Taggart

Willie Taggart will be the next head coach at Oregon and now USF will start a search for their next head coach. There will be plenty of quality candidates for the USF job led by two men former LSU head coach Les Miles and Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

The Bulls search team headed by athletic director Mark Harlan will have plenty of big name coaches to interview. But they are also likely to pour over the resumes of some coaches at the small schools as well as Power 5 coordinators.

Must Read: Willie Taggart is heading to Oregon


This USF team finished the regular season with a school record 10 wins and two losses. They will face South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. So, there is no way that Harlan will let the program slip and landing the right coach is his top priority, along with hiring a search firm to assist in the search.

The USF program has been a success under Taggart but it has come without the buzz that it takes to get the Bulls the national recognition it needs. The Bulls need a coach with style to stand out as a quality program worthy of consistent Top 25 poll results and becoming the team that is the best non Power 5 conference program in the nation.

Kiffin or Miles, are the two names that move the needle in Bulls Nation and either are very capable of getting USF to the next level.  Look for those two men to get very strong consideration for the job replacing Taggart at USF.

Let’s start with the 63-year-old Miles, he was fired by LSU after a 2-2 start this season. His buyout is approximately $9.7 million over the next 6 years. There is no head coach on the market with a better resume than Miles has and he should be a serious target for USF.


Consider that he went 114-34 in 12 seasons at LSU, which included two SEC titles, two national title games and a BCS championship. His .770 winning percentage is the best in school history.

Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Kiffin has a solid resume when it comes to coaching, he spent two seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders before returning to college to coach Tennessee and USC, is 35-21 as a collegiate head coach, going 28-15 in four seasons with the Trojans.

He has been fired from all three places but he remains someone respected for his talents as a great offensive mind as well as super recruiter.

Kiffin, in his third season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, but his ties to Tampa are very deep and it would be a homecoming. His father Monte Kiffin was the longtime defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

His present boss Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked if he spoke to Kiffin about his return to being a head coach.


“We’ve had conversations about it,” Saban said. “He wants to be a head coach. I want him to be a head coach. I want to help him to get a head-coaching job. The rest of it, we have not discussed, and I don’t think it’s the right time. Maybe the right time will be sometime in the next couple weeks, but right now we’re focusing on him trying to get a head-coaching job.


Another name worthy of consideration is former Texas head man Charlie Strong, a former Florida defensive coordinator, also has strong ties around the state and this could be a good landing spot for the 56-year-old. Strong built his Louisville program in large part around Florida-bred talent.

He was the chief former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier’s recruiter and landed more than his share of talented kids.

Strong did an outstanding job at Louisville and left the cupboard well stocked the Texas program with lots of young talent, but he was fired after going 16-21 with the Longhorns. He is expected to be a candidate for the Cincinnati vacancy but word is he’d prefer USF over UC.

There will be more names but for now this should be enough to get you started.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.