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Mr. Scot

Potential Head Coaches

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Jim Harbaugh - Head Coach, Stanford University

Russ Grimm - Offensive Line Coach / Run Game Coordinator / Assistant Head Coach, Arizona Cardinals

Perry Fewell - Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants

Sean McDermott - Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles

Ron Rivera - Defensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers


Mike Zimmer - Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

Winston Moss - Inside Linebackers Coach / Assistant Head Coach, Green Bay Packers

Mike Heimerdinger - Offensive Coordinator, Tennessee Titans

Keith Butler - Linebackers Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers

Brian Schottenheimer - Offensive Coordinator, New York Jets

Mike Pettine - Defensive Coordinator, New York Jets


Leslie Frazier - recently named interim Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings

Jason Garrett - named Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys


Greg Manusky (49ers DC)

Ray Horton (Steelers DB Coach)

Todd Bowles (Dolphins DB Coach)

Clarence Shelmon (Chargers OC)

Hue Jackson (Raiders OC)

Charlie Weis (Chiefs OC)

Rob Ryan (Browns DC)

Pat Shurmur (Rams OC)

Bill O'Brien (Patriots QB Coach)

Chuck Cecil (Titans DC)

Rick Dennison (Texans OC)

Mike McCoy (Broncos OC)


Coaching 101 (what does the process of coaching really involve, and what will the man who gets the Panthers job need to be able to do?)

Coaching Qualifications (things to be considered as you look at what type of coach the Panthers will be looking to hire)

Coaching Dilemmas (questions of philosophy that will need to be answered in the search for a new head coach)

Coaching Philosophies (predicting the offensive and defensive preferences of the candidates based on current jobs and prior history)

Potential Assistants (notable assistants who could be available next season due to possible coaching changes with their current teams)


10/14 - This will be my update to last year's "Next Head Coach" thread, but rather than try to do it all at once, I'm going to look at one prospect at a time.

10/19 - A couple of recent additions to the existing profiles (new sections added).

10/21 - Listed some possible assistant coaches from staffs that could be broken up at season's end (link).

10/28 - Added another profile and got some better pics and videos for some of those already completed.

11/07 - Prioritizing the candidates (based strictly on my own thoughts; feel free to disagree).

11/25 - A little reordering in the ranks; also news updates on Leslie Frazier, Jason Garrett and Mike Heimerdinger.

11/28 - A few minor updates here and there. Several updates on Jim Harbaugh.


In last year's thread, Panthersphan suggested adding pictures. Didn't do it then, but I'm doing it now.

Also, credit to DPantherman for posting videos. It gave me the idea to add those in where I could find them.

Thanks also to Cavscout who spurred me to also investigate the coaching backgrounds of current Panther assistants.


Pro Football Weekly: Ranking the Defensive Coordinators (based on the 2009 Season)

Pro Football Weekly: Ranking the Offensive Coordinators (likewise, from the 2009 Season)

Adam Schefter: Attention Shoppers (a discussion of head coaching candidates from this past offseason)

Jason La Canfora: Coaching turnover is inevitable (commentary on teams that might make coaching changes after this season)

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CURRENT JOB: Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings

HISTORY: Vikings DC (2007-present. given assistant HC title in 2009), Colts DB Coach (2005-2006) Bengals DC (2003-2004), Eagles DB Coach (1999-2002) eleven seasons of college coaching, nine as head coach at Trinity College, two on the staff of former Bears OC Ron Turner at Illinois

DOB: 04/03/59 (51)

STRENGTHS: Defenses have been consistently good in his time with the Vikes, high pressure, forcing turnovers, etc. Players love him. Has worked under some strong defensive minds (Jim Johnson, Marvin Lewis, Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin) as well as playing for Bears coaching legend - and noted tough guy icon - Mike Ditka.

QUESTIONS: How much is Frazier and how much is the talent on the Viking roster? His first stint as a DC didn’t go so well (Marvin Lewis fired him)

PANTHER CONNECTIONS: Was coaching at Trinity College around the time former Panther Karl Hankton would have been there. Is a member of a Christian organization called "All Pro Dad" which also includes Panthers DL Coach Brian Baker as a member.

WHO HE MIGHT BRING WITH HIM: Eric Bieniemy, Vikings RB Coach; considered a coach on the rise, Frazier could conceivably offer Bieniemy a shot at being an OC

WHY WE MIGHT NOT GET HIM: He's a hot ticket, so it'd be no surprise if another team made a better (or merely quicker) offer than the Panthers.

ODDS AND ENDS: Started at corner for the 85 Bears. Led the team in interceptions but blew out his knee in the Super Bowl.

ANALYSIS: Frazier is arguably the hottest commodity in league circles right now. Many expected he’d get a head coaching job this season, but it didn’t happen. Me? I’m iffy. I think there are still some questions, but it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t at least get an interview here. My gut feeling is that he will be a head coach somewhere in the NFL next season. Not sure it’ll be in Carolina though. If it is, it'll continue Carolina's preference for hiring defensive coordinators.

READ UP: Vikings Coaching Bio

WATCH: Frazier Press Conference (10/21)

UPDATE (11/08): The situation in Minnesota (following the Randy Moss disaster) is leading me to believe that Frazier will take over the Vikings next season.

UPDATE (11/25): Frazier was named head coach of the Minnesota Vikings after the firing of Brad Childress. Unlikely he loses this job next year. He can effectively be crossed off the list of candidates. Though it's still remotely possible, it's highly unlikely.

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Woohoo, bring and leslie and we get the samething we got now... joy...

Get an offensive coach and give the fans something to actually get excited about... People want some offense around here.

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Woohoo, bring and leslie and we get the samething we got now... joy...

Get an offensive coach and give the fans something to actually get excited about... People want some offense around here.

The Vikings may be 1-4 after this weekend, the luster may start ot come off Frazier as it has Ron Rivera in San Diego.

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The Vikings may be 1-4 after this weekend, the luster may start ot come off Frazier as it has Ron Rivera in San Diego.

I hope so, tired of the same old thing... if we are gonna change direction, change complete direction, go from defensive to offensive.

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After all the talk I've heard so far about Frazier from a bunch of people around here I was expecting a lil more bling in the career highlights department. Sounds like he could be good though given his current experience level and from what you say.

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CURRENT JOB: Head Coach, Stanford University

HISTORY: Stanford Head Coach (2007-present) San Diego University Head Coach (2004-2006) Raiders Offensive Assistant (2002-2003, given title of QB Coach in 2003) Western Kentucky University Volunteer Assistant (1994-2001)

DOB: 12/23/63 (46)

STRENGTHS: Great offensive mind, comes from a coaching family (worked with father Jack at WKU, brother John is head coach of the Baltimore Ravens) Has been on the rise and gotten pro attention (Jets interviewed him before going with Rex Ryan)

QUESTIONS: Minimal pro coaching experience. College coaches haven’t had such a stellar record coming into the NFL lately, and while he’s had some success as a college coach, he hasn’t contended for a national championship just yet


His defensive coordinator is Vic Fangio, the very first DC of the Panthers (under Dom Capers). Harbaugh also employs another coach from the early Panther days. Specifically, Greg Roman, who was a defensive assistant and assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1995 to 2001. And then there’s special teams coach Brian Polian. Three guesses whose son he is.

(ironically enough, one of Bill Polian's first moves with the Colts was to ship Harbaugh out of town)

In addition to that, Harbaugh finished his 15 year pro playing career with the Panthers in 2001 (dressed for six games, no playing time). The Panthers salary cap manager at the time of Harbaugh’s signing was a fellow by the name of Marty Hurney, so you’d expect the two to at least be acquainted. Hurney mentor Bobby Beathard had brought Harbaugh to the Chargers for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. It's quite possible that Beathard suggested acquiring Harbaugh to Hurney in 01. One of the scouts working for Beathard at the time was Don Gregory, now the Panthers Director of College Scouting. Unknown if Gregory and Harbaugh are acquainted. Beathard's son Jeff - then a scout for the Chargers, now one for the Panthers - may also have met Harbaugh a time or two out in San Diego.

Harbaugh is probably more than just "acquainted" with a couple of Panthers assistants. TE Coach Geep Chryst was director of research and quality control for the Chicago Bears from 1991 to 1995. Harbaugh was the Bears starting QB till 1994 when he left for the Colts. He and Chryst were reunited in 1999 when Chryst became the OC for the Chargers. Chryst's Panthers bio (link) includes this blurb:

While with San Diego, Chryst was instrumental in the implementation and development of the team's productive, no-huddle offense. In 1999, the Chargers completed the most passes (332) in 13 years, and quarterback Jim Harbaugh enjoyed the second-highest passing output of his 15-year NFL career and became San Diego's first quarterback since Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to pass for 400 yards in a game.

Harbaugh also has worked with Panthers Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Simmons for two seasons. One, of course, was his season with the Panthers in 2001. The other year was 1998, when Simmons was working for the Ravens. Harbaugh spent one season in Baltimore - starting 12 games - right after his four year stint with the Colts. Harbaugh might also have a passing acquaintance with OL Coach Dave Magazu. Magazu was a graduate assistant / coaching intern working with the offensive line at the University of Michigan in 1983, Harbaugh's freshman year. Former Panthers DL Coach and DC Mike Trgovac was also on the Michigan staff in 84 and 85.

Having mentioned the Colts, Harbaugh spent four years playing for them. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson played two years for the Colts. That, of course, was three years before Harbaugh was born, and in Baltimore rather than Indianapolis.

As far as teammates who actually played in the same era, Harbaugh played alongside more than a few guys who also wore a Panthers jersey at some point. The list includes center Jeff Mitchell, fullbacks Bob Christian and Chris Hetherington, runningbacks Natrone Means, Vince Workman and Dewell Brewer, tight end (temporarily) Freddie Jones, defensive backs Emmanuel McDaniel, Donnell Woolford and Derwin Gray, linebackers Steve Tovar, Paul "Dr. Psycho" Butcher and Phil Yeboah-Kodie, punters Tommy Barnhardt and Rohn Stark, and long snapper Mark Rodenhauser. Harbaugh also played in Chicago with safety John Mangum, older brother of Panthers tight end Kris. Another Bears guy - for three games in 1987 anyway, as a replacement player - was a young quarterback by the name of Sean Payton (yep, that Sean Payton).

And make of this what you will. After a 2008 game between Notre Dame and Stanford (the Irish won 28-21) Jimmy Clausen went to shake hands with Harbaugh, but Harbaugh turned and walked away. Harbaugh later said that he didn't see Clausen whom, incidentally, he had recruited before Clausen committed to Notre Dame.

Last but not least, Harbaugh's brother - Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh - was the TE Coach for the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. Pitt's defensive coordinator / secondary coach that year was current Panthers head coach John Fox. Fox and John Harbaugh are friends. Whether or not he knows Jim, and/or what effect this might have on Jim should he be offered the Panthers job, are unknown.

WHO HE MIGHT BRING WITH HIM: Fangio and Roman would be no shock, but no lock either. Polian would be ironic, and unlikely. Should the Chargers not retain him, he could offer a landing spot to old Bears teammate Ron Rivera as a DC or an LB coach. The same could be said of Mike Singletary (who's probably more likely to be looking for a job than Rivera, though both are possible). Also, you have to wonder, if the Panthers had a high enough pick to nab Stanford QB Andrew Luck, would Harbaugh go for him and perhaps attempt to trade current starter Jimmy Clausen to whatever West Coast Offense team would give up a decent offer?

WHY WE MIGHT NOT GET HIM: Jerry Richardson's interview and hiring history has focused primarily on pro-level coordinators and/or coaches. The only exception I can think of is Steve Spurrier, whose interview didn't go particularly well.

ODDS AND ENDS: Harbaugh once slugged former Bills QB Jim Kelly for questioning his toughness - he apparently called Harbaugh "a baby" - while Kelly was an analyst for NBC. He later apologized (sort of). Also had a bit of a dustup with Pete Carroll over comments he made about Carroll leaving for the NFL (turned out he was right). He's got a pinky finger on his right hand that doesn't quite go in the right direction, not that it means anything. Has a Twitter page (http://twitter.com/jimharbaugh) which is a bit unusual for a football coach. Also is co-owner of an Indy Racing League team called, ironically enough, Panther Racing.

ANALYSIS: Harbaugh’s definitely one of the more intriguing options, but it’s up in the air whether he’s really ready to be a pro head coach. To quote the old Magic 8-Ball though, the signs point to "Yes". If he were to be hired, he’d likely have an easy time getting acquainted since he already seems to have met or worked with half the employees in the organization at one time or another.

Harbaugh would be the first primarily offensive-minded coach in Panther history. Some would say that’s a plus, since hiring offensive minded coaches are the hot thing these days. Throw in that, given what I've seen about his personality, there's a good chance he'd give the beat writers a lot more to write about than John Fox ever did.

I'll admit I didn't take him quite as seriously at first, but the more I've researched, the more I've come to believe that he's the right man for the job.

Here's hoping he gets it.

READ UP: Stanford Coaching Bio


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Although the knock to his success is that he is a college coach his pedigree and his brother's pro success I think make him a very interesting candidate. I could go for this one. The Panther connection is fun.

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Harbaugh has pulled Stanford out of the dumpster in 4 years and has brought them to elite status.

I simply can't see Jerry Richardson pulling the trigger on this kind of hire however.

This is Al Davis Jon Gruden/Lane Kiffin type material here.

Although Gruden had so much more Pro coaching experience. Harbaugh is virtuall bare in this category.

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