Current status: Second year at Minnesota (8-13)
Alma Mater: Illinois
Background: New Jersey native was tight end and captain of Illinois 1984 Rose Bowl team. Got his coaching start under Mack Brown at UNC and Texas. Moved to NFL and helped develop Antonio Gates in San Diego. Coached for Denver for two years before landing University of Minnesota job in 2007. First team went 1-11, but the Gophers are 7-2 this year. Reputation as tough recruiter. One son is junior-college quarterback, another is freshman DB at Texas.
Current status: Second year at North Carolina (10-10)
Age: 57 as of Nov. 17.
Alma Mater: Arkansas
Background: Oklahoma native suffered career-ending injury early in Arkansas career. First college job was assistant at Oklahoma State. Spent five years with Jimmy Johnson at Dallas Cowboys, the last two as defensive coordinator. Left for University of Miami in 1995, where he went 51-20 in six seasons, including 11-1 in 2000. Head coach Cleveland Browns from 2001-04 (24-35). Hired to turn North Carolina around in November, 2006. Went 4-8 first year and Tar Heels are 6-2 in 2008.
Current status: Eighth year at Wake Forest (51-42)
Alma Mater: Virginia
Background: Played defense at Virginia. Was 33-33-1 in six years at Ohio University before going to Wake Forest in 2001. Led the Deacons to 2006 ACC title and won ACC and Associated Press national coach of the year honors.
Current status: Seventh year with Tampa Bay Bucs (54-51)
Alma Mater: Dayton
Background: Ohio native’s first college job was grad assistant at Tennessee in 1986-87. Later worked for 49ers and Packers before becoming offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Was Oakland Raiders head coach 1998-2001 (38-26) before he went to Tampa Bay in 2002. Won Super Bowl in his first season. Wife Cindy is from East Tennessee and attended UT.
Current status: Third year at Cincinnati (17-5)
Alma Mater: Assumption
Background: Massachusetts native was linebacker at Assumption. Went 118-35-2 in 13 seasons as head coach at Grand Valley State (NCAA Division II) in Michigan. Then was 19-16 at Central Michigan, including 9-4 in 2006. Hired at Cincinnati to replace Mark Dantonio in time for 2006 International Bowl, then went 10-2 in first full season with Bearcats.
Current status: Fired by Oakland Raiders on Sept.30 with 5-15 record.
Alma Mater: Fresno State
Background: Joined Pete Carroll’s staff at Southern Cal in 2001 and was offensive coordinator in 2005-06. The ‘05 Trojans averaged 49.1 points a game. Hired at 32 to coach Raiders. Son of college and NFL coach Monte Kiffin. Graduated from high school in Bloomington, Minn. Kiffin was also recruiting coordinator at Southern Cal, which had three consecutive classes ranked No. 1. Reported to be candidate for University of Washington vacancy. Brother Chris is assistant coach at Ole Miss.
Current status: Ninth year at Texas Tech (74-37)
Alma Mater: Brigham Young.
Background: Born in California, grew up in Wyoming. Influenced by BYU passing game. Was offensive coordinator at Valdosta State and Kentucky for Hal Mumme; also OC at Oklahoma 1999. Did not play football in college. Has a law degree from Pepperdine.
Current status: Defensive coordinator at Texas
Alma Mater: Georgia
Background: Georgia native played for the Bulldogs 1991-94. Was defensive coordinator at LSU 2001-04 for Nick Saban. Followed Saban to the Dolphins in 2005, then left to be Auburn’s DC in 2006-07 before moving on to Texas. Rumored to be candidate for Clemson job and for possible Auburn vacancy if Tommy Tuberville leaves.
Current status: Ninth year at TCU (71-26)
Alma Mater: Kansas State
Background: Kansas native got his first head coaching job at Texas Christian in 2000 after two years as defensive coordinator, replacing Dennis Franchione. Horned Frogs are 9-1 and on way to a fifth 10-win season under Patterson. Reportedly turned down Minnesota offer in 2007 to stay at TCU. Has been mentioned in Clemson search.
Current status: Third year Boise State (31-3)
Alma Mater: UC-Davis
Background: California native has western ties other than 1992 season on University of Pittsburgh staff. Was QB coach at Portland State and receivers coach at Oregon prior to becoming offensive coordinator at Boise State in 2001. Succeeded Dan Hawkins in 2006 and led the Broncos to 13-0 season that year, topped by Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. Boise is undefeated again this year.