Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades doesn’t have a long list of criteria for the football coach that will succeed Gary Pinkel. At a press conference Wednesday evening, Rhoades was asked about his checklist.
He was then asked for a more specific idea of the type of candidate he’s looking for.
“I’m not locked into any certain candidate,” Rhoades said, according to the Missouri athletics’ official Twitter account. “Because it’s about fit. I’m not into the hottest names, I’m more about winning titles.
“I fully believe you can win a national championship at the University of Missouri.”
It’s not an outlandish idea. In 14 years under Pinkel, Missouri has gone 118-71, with five 10-win seasons. The Tigers have finished first in their conference five times in that span.
It will certainly be a daunting task to replace Pinkel — who is stepping down at the end of the season to battle non-Hodgkin lymphoma — but Rhoades does have his eye on a couple candidates.
Rhoades says he's "certainly partial" to Tom Herman. Says Fuente is "another terrific coach" … Cautions he's not locked in on anyone.
— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) November 18, 2015
Herman is in his first year at Houston and the Cougars are undefeated. Rhoades worked at Houston and hired Herman before leaving to become the athletic director at Missouri. Justin Fuente is the head man at Memphis, who along with Herman is among the most popular names for the various marquee coach openings in college football.
Rhoades did not bring their names up in the press conference, but rather was asked about the pair specifically. The athletic director made it very clear that he isn’t confining his search to head coaches.
“I’m open to hiring the best guy,” he said, according to Brandon Kiley of The Sports Wire. “And that could be an assistant.”
Rhoades doesn’t have a strict list of boxes to check for his next coaching candidate. But the first-year athletic director knows what he wants.
“Your head football coach is really coaching your coaches and running a program,” Rhoades said, according to Gabe DeArmond of Rivals.com. “Much like a CEO.”
And the hunt for Missouri’s next CEO is in open season.