By Steve Mims

The (Eugene) Register-Guard

Ducks coaching possibilities

Here’s a list of a few possible candidates for Oregon’s football coach opening:

Oregon coordinators

Mario Cristobal: Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach under Taggart, Cristobal was hired in 2007 as the second coach ever at Florida International, which started its football program in 2002. He went 27-47 in six seasons before the school fired him following a 3-9 record in 2012. In 2010, FIU won the Sun Belt title and went 8-5 the following year to reach bowl games in back-to-back seasons.

Cristobal spent four seasons as the offensive line coach at Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide win the national title in 2015 before Alabama lost to Clemson in last year’s championship game.

Jim Leavitt: Taggart’s first hire at Oregon as defensive coordinator, Leavitt helped the Ducks rank fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense (359.8 yards per game) and seventh in scoring defense (28.2 points per game) after they were 11th in both categories the previous year. He is expected to follow Taggart to FSU, but Mullens did not rule him out as a candidate Tuesday.

Leavitt was hired to start South Florida’s program at the FCS level from 1997 to 2000 before the Bulls moved to FBS in 2001. He went 95-57 in 13 seasons with five bowl appearances but was fired in 2010 after being accused of hitting a player. Leavitt sued the school and received $2.75 million.

The ex-Ducks

Jeff Tedford: Oregon’s offensive coordinator during the Joey Harrington era from 1998 to 2001, Tedford moved to Cal, where he became the winningest coach in school history with 82 victories from 2002 to 2012. After Fresno State went 1-11 last year, Tedford returned to his alma mater — where he was offensive coordinator before coming to Oregon — and led the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, including 7-1 mark in conference play to reach the Mountain West Conference title game.

Justin Wilcox: The Junction City native and former Oregon defensive back went 5-7 at Cal this season in his first season as a head coach at any level. He also is a former defensive coordinator at Washington and USC, among other schools. One of the practice fields at Oregon is named after his family: both his father, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dave, and brother Josh also starred for the Ducks.

Another coordinator

Beau Baldwin: Baldwin completed his first season as offensive coordinator at California after going 85-32 in nine seasons as head coach at Eastern Washington, including an FCS national title in 2010.

He coached quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. for the Eagles before Adams transferred to Oregon in 2015. It seems unlikely that Oregon would hire a coach who was reportedly passed up by Oregon State.

Group of 5 coaches

Bryan Harsin: Hiring the Boise State coach would add some interest to the Las Vegas Bowl, where the Ducks will face the Broncos on Dec. 16. Harsin seems likely to get a Power 5 job soon after going 41-12 in four seasons as coach.

He led Boise State to the MWC title for the second time this year with a 7-1 record in conference, going 10-3 overall and defeating Fresno State in last week’s conference championship game.

Mike Norvell: The former Arizona State offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2015 took Memphis to the American Athletic Association title game in his second year before losing to Central Florida, 62-55, in double overtime. Has gone 20-7 in two seasons with the Tigers, including a 7-1 conference record this season.

Lane Kiffin: After Florida Atlantic went 3-9 last season, Kiffin was hired and led the Owls to a 10-3 mark and Conference USA championship. He spent the previous three seasons as offensive coordinator at Alabama, reaching the CFP championship game twice, including a national title in 2015.

Attention and controversy seem to follow the 42-year-old, who coached the Oakland Raiders before taking over programs at Tennessee and USC, but Kiffin seems certain to be moving up to a bigger program soon.

Fallen stars

Kevin Sumlin: Sumlin went 51-26 in six seasons at Texas A&M before being fired last month after the Aggies finished 7-5. In his first season, Texas A&M went 11-2 and quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, but the Aggies never finished above .500 in Southeastern Conference play during his final five seasons.

Sumlin’s first coaching job came as a graduate assistant at Washington State in 1989, but he has spent the past 17 seasons coaching in Texas or Oklahoma. Considering Taggart fled to Florida after one season, Mullens may not want to bring in another coach who could leave for a southern school if he finds success with the Ducks.

Butch Jones: Jones became one of the nation’s top coaching candidates after going 19-6 at Cincinnati in 2011-12. Colorado wanted Jones before he chose Tennessee, which fired him after a 4-6 start this season. He won nine games the previous two seasons with the Volunteers and went 34-27 in five years on the job. Tennessee went winless in the SEC this year.

Bret Bielema: Another coach who had plenty of success in the past but recently joined the unemployment line after going 4-8 at Arkansas, Bielema went 29-34 in five seasons with the Razorbacks, including an 11-29 record in the SEC. He won 68 games in seven seasons as coach at Wisconsin from 2006 to 2012 and led the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, including a 45-38 loss to Oregon in the 2012 game.

Les Miles: Somebody is going to hire Miles, who won the national title at LSU in 2008 and was national coach of the year in 2011 when the Tigers lost to Alabama in the championship game. He went 114-34 in 12 seasons with the Tigers and has a 142-55 record, including four seasons at Oklahoma State.

EUGENE — The Oregon Ducks quickly promoted Mario Cristobal to interim head coach for the Las Vegas Bowl after Willie Taggart left for Florida State on Tuesday.

Cristobal, the former Florida International coach, appears to be one of many candidates for the full-time job.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens is seeking a football coach for the second year in a row after pulling Taggart out of South Florida last year only to see him head back home with the Seminoles after a 7-5 season with the Ducks.

Mullens hired Taggart on Dec. 7 last year, eight days after firing Mark Helfrich.

There is a greater sense of urgency this season because of the new NCAA early signing period for recruits that runs Dec. 20-22.

Taggart compiled a recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the country by 247Sports.com, but after the coach’s departure, Oregon has already lost some players who had committed to the program. Because of that, the next coach will have to be hired quickly to keep as many commitments as possible.

Some candidates who might have intrigued Mullens are off the market, including former ­Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, who was hired by Nebraska on Saturday after he took Central Florida from winless to undefeated in two seasons.

TCU’s Gary Patterson has been rumored to be on Oregon’s radar during each of the past two coaching searches because of his friendship with UO boosters Phil Knight and Pat Kilkenny. Patterson, however, just signed an extension through 2022 that will pay him nearly $5 million per year.

Last year, Oregon reportedly showed interest in Florida coach Jim McElwain and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. They probably are not on Mullens’ list this time: McElwain was fired in October when the Gators were 3-4. Tennessee was ready to hire Schiano last month before fans protested because he was on the staff at Penn State with former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing children.

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