Auburn football coaching search: UAB, Coastal Carolina head coaches in play

UAB head coach Bill Clark and Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell are Auburn football head coaching candidates according to Athlon Sports Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
UAB head coach Bill Clark and Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell are Auburn football head coaching candidates according to Athlon Sports Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Auburn football has vacated its head coaching position via the long-awaited firing of Bryan Harsin on October 31. In the wake of the Boise native’s dismissal, coaching candidates are being revealed and the spectrum of names is wide.

On the spectacular side, there’s Deion Sanders sitting alone at the top of the list of the most coveted coaches in the sport. Sanders’ elevation of Jackson State and the SWAC has brought the No. 1 overall recruit in the country and ESPN College Gameday to Jackson, Mississippi for the first time in history in just three seasons.

Slightly below that is the risky but rewarding gamble on Lane Kiffin, who has lifted Ole Miss beyond Auburn and most of the SEC West in three seasons himself. Kiffin has SEC experience but would prove in yet another head coaching jump that he isn’t interested in laying roots down anywhere. He’s been a good fit in Oxford and has already done the building for the Rebels program. He’d have to kickstart yet another rebuild if he made his way to the Plains, though the transfer portal makes things easier for a short-term turnaround. 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello listed Kiffin as the top name to watch.

Below them are the Group of Five names with proven success. Hugh Freeze is oft-mentioned, including by Paul Finebaum this past weekend, but he can have a statue built in Lynchburg if he were to stick it out with Liberty. Athlon Sports named two more candidates, including an in-state option and the locker room leader of the perennially-ranked Sunbelt sensation, Coastal Carolina.

Bill Clark and Jamey Chadwell named as Auburn football coaching candidates

Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan named UAB Bill Clark and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell as potential names that could pop up in the Auburn football head coaching search kicked off by John Cohen dropping the hammer on Bryan Harsin on Halloween.

Clark, an Anniston native, had stints at South Alabama and Jacksonville State before making the jump to UAB in 2014. As Lassan points out, Clark was an option during the Allen Greene-led coaching search following Gus Malzahn’s firing in 2020, but his name hasn’t grown in prominence since due to a 4-4 start to the 2022 season.

Chadwell, on the other hand, has made Coastal Carolina a perennial AP Poll crasher, and has made the Chanticleers a Group of Five favorite due to their high powered RPO. He’d be far from a JABA hire and would be the best option out of any non-Deion Sanders candidate lacking Power Five experience.