Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.
Justin Fuente, Memphis head coach
Possibility scale: 7/10
Ed. note: The newly named "possibility scale" in this series goes from 1/10 (almost definitely not happening) to 10/10 (could very plausibly happen). The fractions represented on the scale do not indicate a percentage chance that someone is hired.
Fuente started his coaching career at Illinois State, where he was the quarterbacks coach for six years before jumping to TCU to become co-offensive coordinator. For Horned Frogs, he worked with the quarterbacks, namely Andy Dalton, during their undefeated, Rose Bowl-winning season in 2011. Fuente was hired as Memphis' head coach after the 2011 season and turned a team that won once over its first nine games in 2012 into a top-25 team in 2014, finishing with 10 wins for the first time since 1938. At present, his Memphis team has won 13 straight games dating back to last year, including a victory over No. 13 Ole Miss this past weekend.
His track record with offenses is pretty good, having been a part of top-10 units at TCU that ran a pretty decent spread offense with Dalton under center. His offense at Memphis is currently 10th in the country in yards per game, and he has turned the Tigers from a scrub team in the American Athletic Conference into a team generating legitimate College Football Playoff buzz. He'd be a sexy hire for any college football team in need of a coach right now. He's also 39 years old, which is a nice age for the centerpiece of any program's future.
Fuente doesn't have any apparent, major connections to Maryland or the D.M.V. area. He's known more as an in-game coach than as a recruiter, and with Maryland situated atop a hotbed of high school talent, he would have to fight off big-name schools for local prospects. He also hasn't won as a head coach in a power-five league, so he's a touch unproven there. With all the buzz surrounding Memphis, he could realistically wait another season or two for what he may see as a better chance at another school. Or he could get one of those jobs right now.
In one sentence
Fuente is going to be a hot coaching commodity for a reason, and he could thrive at Maryland despite not having any sort of local background.