Willie Taggart, 36, head coach, Western Kentucky: Bradenton Manatee graduate is former Stanford assistant, led WKU to upset at Kentucky and 7-5 record — headed to program's first bowl game at Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Has recruited state of Florida well from afar.
Mario Cristobal, 42, head coach, Florida International: Former Hurricanes player and assistant nearly got Rutgers job last year after upsetting Louisville and Central Florida. Panthers took step back in 2012 with disappointing 3-9 mark.
Mark Snyder, 47, defensive coordinator, Texas A&M. USF's defensive coordinator in 2010-11, Snyder has head coaching experience from his years at Marshall and has first-hand experience working in Woolard's athletic department. A&M has been a national success story in SEC debut, but he's someone Bulls could lure back to Tampa as head coach.
Dan Quinn, 42, defensive coordinator, Florida. If the best-coach-in-next-best-league strategy didn't work for Doug Woolard with Skip Holtz, the up-and-coming coordinator option might be Quinn, who has more NFL experience than college but has shined in two years running Will Muschamp's defense. Has recruited the Tampa area well in last two years.
Houston Nutt, 55, former Arkansas and Ole Miss head coach. Nutt spent this season as a studio analyst for CBS Sports, but his name is well-known in the Southeast, having gone 99-74 in his two stops as an SEC head coach.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer