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. (Or, maybe a little longer.)
Dino Babers, Bowling Green head coach
Possibility scale: 5/10
A Honolulu native who grew up in California, Babers was a running back and defensive back at Hawai'i from 1979-83. After graduating, Babers took a graduate assistant position with the Warriors in 1984, before bouncing around a number of Western and Midwestern schools (including Purdue). In 1995, Babers was hired as the wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks coach at Arizona, and he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1998.
The 1998 Wildcats went 12-1, scoring 33.8 points per game and finishing No. 4 in the AP Poll after a Holiday Bowl win against Nebraska. The next two years didn't go quite so well, as Arizona's scoring average dropped and head coach Dick Tomey resigned after the 2000 season.
Babers took over the offensive coordinator position at Texas A&M in 2001, and once again saw a long-time head coach resign during his tenure. The Aggies' offense improved from 2001 to 2002, but head coach R.C. Slocum resigned after a 6-6 season. That was the last coordinator opportunity for Babers, who then took a position as the running backs coach at Pittsburgh before leaving to be the assistant head coach, running backs coach and quarterbacks coach at UCLA.
After four years with the Bruins, Babers was hired as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for Art Briles at Baylor. Briles, Babers and the rest of the staff helped orchestrate one of the biggest program turnarounds in college football history, culminating in a 2011 season that saw the Bears win 10 games for only the second time in school history (they're now on track to do it for the third year in a row) and Robert Griffin III become the first Baylor player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
With Baylor's success at the national forefront, Babers was hired as the head coach of FCS Eastern Illinois prior to the 2012 season. Taking over a Panthers team that had gone 2-9 with a 1-7 Ohio Valley Conference record the year before, Babers installed an up-tempo offense and immediately went 7-5, with a 6-1 conference record good enough for the OVC title. In Year 2, Eastern Illinois went 12-2 with an 8-0 OVC record, making it all the way to the FCS Quarterfinals.
Big programs started to take notice, and Bowling Green hired Babers prior to the 2014 season. After an 8-6 debut season with a MAC East division crown and a Camellia Bowl win, the Falcons look even more dangerous this season -- you may recall the team's trouncing of Maryland earlier this year.
Babers certainly fits the "wide-open, exciting offense" category that Kevin Anderson and Wallace Loh have spoken publicly about, and he straight-up embarrassed Maryland in College Park. What better way for Maryland to make that up to the fans than by hiring the guy who did it?
He's still only been a head coach for less than four seasons, is 54 years old and has uncertain recruiting chops in this region.
In one sentence
Babers's offense is pretty much exactly what Maryland appears to be looking for, but if the Terps go the MAC route, they might check out younger candidates Matt Campbell and P.J. Fleck first.