The big names
Experience: Head coach at Auburn (1999-2008) and Mississippi (1995-98); defensive coordinator at Texas A&M (1994)
Ties to Florida: Was an assistant coach at Miami from 1986-93
Why he makes sense: Tuberville is a proven winner. Mississippi was under NCAA sanctions when he took over, and in 1997 he was named the Associated Press SEC coach of the year. Auburn was 13-0 in 2004 and he was the AP coach of the year. He was 85-40 in 10 years at Auburn and is 110-60 overall as a head coach.
Why he doesn't make sense: He has expressed interest in the Texas Tech job and may not be available to USF.
Experience: Head coach at Clemson (1999-2008) and Tulane (1997-98)
Ties to Florida: Was an assistant under his father, Bobby, at Florida State from 1978-79 and 1981-82. Has recruited well in Florida while at Tulane and Clemson. Experience in a major conference.
Why he makes sense: His last name might help him in Florida. Bowden would likely recruit well and would bring an exciting offensive play book. The Bowden name also could help in fundraising, a major factor at USF.
Why he doesn't make sense: His last name might hurt him, given the football rivalries of the state. Also, he was fired during the 2008 season after Clemson started 3-3. Was knocked for not taking the Tigers to the top of the conference, which also was a criticism of Leavitt.
Experience: Head coach at East Carolina (2005-present); Connecticut (1994-98); assistant head coach at South Carolina (1999-2004)
Ties to Florida: Graduate assistant at Florida State from 1987-88
Why he makes sense: Holtz is a hot prospect. He has led the Pirates to four straight bowl appearances and has won 38 games at ECU in five years. Also, coaching is in his genes. He is the son of longtime coach Lou Holtz.
Why he doesn't make sense: He has a job. Holtz signed a six-year extension in 2008. He earned a base salary of $605,000 this season, and his total compensation package takes him well over $1 million.
Experience: Head coach at Iowa State (1995-2006); assistant head coach at USF (2007); Florida (2008-present); assistant coach at Iowa (1977-89) and Wisconsin (1990-94)
Ties to Florida: He has coached in the state since 2007, when he joined Leavitt's staff. He is currently in Gainesville on Urban Meyer's staff.
Why he makes sense: He has three years of recruiting this state under his belt. He knows the USF program well after spending the 2007 season in Tampa. He does have head coaching experience.
Why he doesn't make sense: In 1994 McCarney was accused of domestic abuse by his estranged wife, Brenda. That incident is sure to come up if he replaces Leavitt.
Experience: Assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Michigan (2008-present); assistant coach at West Virginia (2001-07); USF (1996-2000)
Ties to Florida: Magee played for the Bucs from 1985-88 and was on Leavitt's first staff in 1996. He earned his master's degree from USF in 1990.
Why he makes sense: He is a familiar name in Tampa due to his years with the Bucs and the Bulls. He has been mentored by Rich Rodriguez for nine years and is trusted with running the offense at a big-time school like Michigan.
Why he doesn't make sense: He has no head coaching experience. And if USF wants to make a clean break from the Leavitt era, Magee isn't the choice.
Experience: Assistant coach at USF (2004-06), assistant at FSU (2007-present)
Ties to Florida: Played at FSU and for the Bucs. Also coached at Tampa Catholic High in 1998 and Blake High in 2002.
Why he makes sense: A young coach who has a USF background and knows how to recruit in Florida. He has coached at the high school and college levels.
Why he doesn't make sense: No head coaching experience. Dawsey hasn't even been a coordinator since he started coaching. USF might want somebody with a beefier resume.
Already on staff
Experience: Head coach at Duke (1999-2003); assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at USF (2004-present); assistant at Florida (1990-98).
Ties to Florida: He was an assistant with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the old USFL in 1985, as well as his time at Florida and USF.
Why he makes sense: He is the Bulls' recruiting coordinator and held the same job at Florida. He knows the state better than anyone else on staff. He also has head coaching experience and was named USF's interim coach.
Why he doesn't make sense: He did not have much success as head coach at Duke.
Experience: Offensive coordinator at USF (1996-2000; 2009); offensive coordinator at Arizona (2004-06); receivers coach with New York Jets (2003); offensive coordinator at Snow College (1987-94)
Ties to Florida: He is currently on the USF staff and knows the state inside and out.
Why he makes sense: It would be a seamless transition since Canales is familiar with the program. He might also be able to keep recruits for the 2010 class.
Why he doesn't make sense: Again, USF might want to make a clean break from Leavitt, and Canales is certainly close to the head coach. Strike two is that he has no head coaching experience.
Experience: Buccaneers director of pro personnel (2004-present); head coach at Grambling State (1998-2003)
Ties to Florida: He is a Bucs legend since his playing days (1978-82). He lives and works in Tampa, so he certainly knows the area well.
Why he makes sense: If USF wants to go out on a limb and hire a big local name, then Williams makes sense. He could be good at recruiting, and he would bring an offensive mind.
Why he doesn't make sense: Not much coaching experience. He did run Grambling, but USF and the Big East are a much bigger deal. He has not coached since 2003.
Experience: Associate head coach/special teams coordinator with Tampa Bay Bucs (2002-present); assistant at South Carolina (1988-93); assistant at Clemson (1994-98); assistant at Mississippi (1999-2001)
Ties to Florida: He has lived in Tampa for eight years as a Bucs coach.
Why he makes sense: He is an energetic coach who has college experience. His special-team units were one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dreadful Bucs season.
Why he doesn't make sense: It has been nine years since Bisaccia last coached in college. Also, he has no head coaching experience.
Compiled by Greg Auman and Rodney Page, Times staff writers