It didn't take long for speculation to start swirling about potential replacement candidates after BYU announced that Ty Detmer had been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator.
Heck, some fans started making their suggestions during BYU's inept offensive season, anticipating what might happen with the coaching staff of a subpar 4-9 team.
Humorous recommendations — or not so humorous, depending on your sarcasm meter — included the likes of Urban Meyer (The Coach In The Midwest, you might say), Andy Reid (kinda busy in the NFL right now), Norm Chow (been there, done that), Robert Anae (been there, burned by that) and all members of the CougarBoard.com fan website.
Gary Crowton's name has also been thrown out there, though it's hard to determine whether that was a joke (his BYU tenure was rather interesting, to say the least) or a real suggestion (his BYU offense was also rather interesting). By the way, Crowton is currently the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin after stints at, well, a heck of a lot of places, including in the NFL (Chicago), the CFL (Winnipeg), the SEC (LSU), the Pac-12 (Oregon), the ACC (Maryland) and even the Big Sky (SUU until he abruptly departed mid-season in 2015).
The Deseret News has compiled a spaghetti-against-the-wall list of non-sourced potential replacements. This collection might look exactly like the list Kalani Sitake has in his hands. Or it might not resemble it at all.
Either way, here are some possible candidates for the Cougars’ job opening (listed in no particular order):
Aaron Roderick: If there’s a front-runner, Roderick seems like he could be the man. The 44-year-old has connections to both BYU from his college playing days (1996-98) and to Sitake from his time coaching at the University of Utah. He also spent some time hanging out with Sitake and the Cougars this fall. Roderick began his coaching career at BYU as a grad assistant under LaVell Edwards from 1999-2001 before moving on to Snow College (running backs, 2002) and Southern Utah (OC/QB/recruiting) from 2003-04. The bulk of his coaching experience was at Utah where he coached from 2005 until being fired by Kyle Whittingham in 2016. Roderick was a co-offensive coordinator in 2010 and again from 2015-16. Roderick liked his time at Utah so much he returned to the Utes on two separate occasions only days after being hired away by Washington (2009) and BYU (2013).
Fesi Sitake: Yes, there’s a reason why the name looks familiar. Weber State’s Sitake is the younger cousin of BYU’s Sitake. Fesi Sitake is in his second season as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and in his fourth year in Ogden overall. Weber State’s offense averaged 34.5 points (15th best) a game this season as the team earned a co-Big Sky championship (with SUU) and hosted an FCS playoff game for the first time. Sitake, a Sandy native, was one of the best receivers in SUU history. He coached for the T-Birds from 2011-13 after his college career wrapped up.
Paul Peterson: The former Bingham High standout quarterback, who also had a nice playing career in Ephraim and at Boston College, had a solid first season as Snow College's head coach. Peterson began his coaching path at BYU as a grad assistant in 2006 and has since garnered experience at North Carolina State (GA, 2007), SUU (position coach, 2008-11) and Sacramento State (OC/QB, 2012-17). Sixth-ranked Snow leads the NJCAA in scoring (50.9 points) and offensive yards (536.2 ypg) this season. The Badgers are 8-1 in Peterson’s first year after a disappointing 6-4 2016 season.
Kevin McGiven: An Orem native, McGiven was the Oregon State offensive coordinator the past two seasons and coached alongside Sitake with the Beavers as the quarterbacks coach in 2015. McGiven was an offensive grad assistant at BYU from 2002-04. The 40-year-old’s coaching résumé also includes stints at Louisiana Tech (student assistant, 1998), SUU, Weber State, Utah State, Memphis and Montana State.
Dennis Simmons: Though he excelled as a three-year starting linebacker at BYU in the mid-1990s, Simmons has carved out a nice coaching career on the offensive side of the ball. He has been a receivers coach at Oklahoma since 2015 and previously spent time being honed by Mike Leach at Washington State and Texas Tech. Simmons, who’s from Memphis, Tennessee, has also coached at BYU, East Carolina and Cornell. While Simmons was at Wazzu, national writer Bruce Feldman lauded him for proving himself as “one of the nation’s top recruiters and receivers coaches.” Simmons played on the same BYU team as Sitake in 1994.
Jason Beck: The former BYU quarterback — playfully known as “The Other Beck” (in other words, Not John Beck) — has been the quarterbacks coach at Virginia for Bronco Mendenhall the past two seasons. Beck previously coached with Mendenhall at BYU from 2013-16, helping the Cougars have offensive success despite injuries to quarterback Taysom Hill. Beck, who was John Beck’s backup from 2004-06, also coached at LSU (intern on Gary Crowton’s staff), Weber State (QBs) and Simon Fraser (OC).
Charlie Stubbs: The BYU alum retired as Nicholls State’s coach in 2014 because of “major health issues,” but the 62-year-old would bring a wealth of experience with him to his alma mater. Over the years, Stubbs has also coached at BYU (a grad assistant on the 1984 championship team), Oregon State, Memphis, UT Martin, UNLV, Alabama, Tulsa, Louisville and Central Missouri. He most recently coached in 2016 at Oceanside Collegiate Academy, a public charter high school in Mount Pleasant, California. He was named offensive coordinator of the year in 1999 with Alabama’s SEC championship squad.
Bob Stitt: Considered an offensive mastermind, the 53-year-old entered the job market recently after being fired by the University of Montana. He took the Grizzlies to the FCS playoffs in his first season but was let go after compiling a 21-14 record in three seasons in Missoula. Stitt had a successful stint in NCAA Div. II with the Colorado Mines Orediggers, going 108-62 with three playoff appearances from 2000-14. ESPN had a positive profile on Stitt in 2015, predicting he’d eventually become a household name. “(O)ver the last few seasons, Stitt developed a devoted following. Among his biggest fans are the offensive-minded coaches who have changed the way major college football is being played. Spread-offense believers like Washington State's Mike Leach, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Cal's Sonny Dykes, Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury and (West Virginia’s Dana) Holgorsen are among Stitt's biggest admirers.”
Jeff Grimes: The former BYU offensive lineman coach has vast experience around the nation coaching big guys in the trenches. His coaching career also includes stops at Rice, Texas A&M, Hardin-Simmons, Boise State, Arizona State, Colorado, Auburn, Virginia Tech and LSU. He’s been with the Tigers since 2014. Grimes, who was at BYU from 2004-06 under Mendenhall, received a hearty endorsement from ex-Coug lineman Jake Kuresa. “All I want for Christmas is for BYU to make a run at my guy Jeff Grimes!” Kuresa tweeted. “The guy is primed to be a top notch OC. He knows this school and the area. His name has to be in the mix....” Kuresa, a four-year letter winner at BYU who played for the New Orleans Saints and Utah Blaze, added a follow-up tweet to endorse Grimes. “The Case: Proven D1 coach. National Champ at Auburn. Current OL at LSU. Experience in multiple successful systems. Known & paid like one of the best OL coaches in the land. Primed 4 the next step. Loved his time at BYU. Amazing mentor that already lives the Honor Code on his own.”
Justin Walterscheid: The SUU alum, who has been coaching at his alma mater since 2010, figures to be a hot prospect for vacancies after helping the T-Birds to their best season in school history. Thanks in large part to Walterscheid’s explosive offense, SUU will host Weber State in the second round of the FCS playoffs this Saturday. The T-Birds are ranked ninth in total offense (455.5 ypg) and 12th in scoring (35.5 ppg). Walterscheid, a Grand Junction, Colorado, native, began his coaching journey as a grad assistant on 18th-ranked Utah’s Poinsettia Bowl-winning team in 2009 before returning to his SUU roots. He took over as SUU’s offensive coordinator after Gary Crowton unexpectedly stepped down during the 2015 season.
Norm Chow: Some jokingly mentioned his name as a possibility, but Chow could be intriguing. Considering his past accomplishments and familiarity with BYU, perhaps the 71-year-old should be considered to get the program's offense back on track. Chow has an enormous amount of experience, having helped coach the Cougars offense to national prominence while there between 1973-99 as well as stops at N.C. State, USC, Tennessee (NFL), UCLA, Utah and Hawaii. The offensive talents he's coached is impressive: Marc Wilson, Steve Young, Jim McMahon and Detmer at BYU, Philip Rivers at N.C. State and Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer at USC. Chow has reportedly been on BYU's campus this fall, so you never know (or will soon).