Owls to Play SMU in Boca Raton Bowl, as Head Coach Search Heats Up

The Owls will stay in South Florida – right in their own back yard, in fact – to play SMU in the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl on December 21 at FAU Stadium. Kick off is set for 3:30 ET, and the game will be televised on ABC.

The Mustangs (10-2) finished off their second season with a 37-20 win over Tulane in the regular season finale.

As the Owls prepare for their bowl game, speculation is underway as to who might replace Lane Kiffin in Boca Raton, to keep the momentum going. Kiffin resigned just after the Owls captured the C-USA National Championship in a 49-6 defeat of UAB Saturday. He is heading to Ole Miss for the same position.

FAU athletic director Brian White has announced that defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will serve as interim head coach while the school conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.

“I know there will be a great deal of interest in the position,” White said in a statement. “We have an extremely talented roster returning with an established culture of success. There are outstanding facilities here with the new Schmidt Family Complex about to open and recent renovations to FAU Stadium. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our football program.”

According to sources, here are some names the Owls may be considering:

Derek Dooley, Missouri offensive coordinator: Served as a head coach at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee, although he has a 32-41 career record. FAU Athletic Director Brian White also came to FAU from Missouri.

Doug Socha, Keiser head coach: This would entail a transition from NAIA to the FBS level. However, Socha has coached on both FBS and NFL staffs.

Eddie Gran, Kentucky offensive coordinator: He was a graduate assistant at Miami (1990-91), and served as an assistant on Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State (2010-12). He began coaching in 1987 as Cal Lutheran’s wide receivers coach, and has also been at Ole Miss, Auburn, Tennessee and Cincinnati.

Jedd Fisch, L.A. Rams assistant coordinator/offense: Fisch offers coaching experience in Florida, having been the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator (2013-14) and Miami’s offensive coordinator (2011-12). He was also a graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier at Florida (1999-2000) and coaching in 1997 as the defensive coordinator for P.K. Yonge High School in Gainesville. Fisch has spent the past two seasons working for Rams coach Sean McVay.

Jim Leavitt, former USF coach: Leavitt has not served as a head coach since he was fired from USF in January 2010 for allegedly hitting a player and interfering in the school’s investigation. However, he was USF’s first football coach and ended up with a 95-57 record during his time with the Bulls. He also coached with the San Francisco 49ers, Oregon and Colorado before joining Florida State as a defensive analyst for this season.

James Coley, Georgia offensive coordinator: As with Gran, Coley has local ties and a reputation as one of the best recruiters in the state. The Miami native began his coaching career as the quarterbacks coach at Miami Senior High School (1997-99). The FSU graduate was also an offensive assistant with the Dolphins (2005-06), the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at FIU (2007), spent five seasons (2008-12) with the Seminoles in multiple roles, and also worked as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Miami (2013-15), before heading to Georgia.

Glen Elarbee, UCF offensive line coach: He was a semi finalist for the Broyles Award (best FBS assistant coach) last year, and could help improve the Owls’ offensive line.

Glenn Spencer, FAU DC: FAU’s defense has made big improvements during Spencer’s first season. He went 28-7 at Division II West Georgia between 1998 and 2000. In addition, Oklahoma State won a Fiesta Bowl in January 2012 when Spencer was their co-defensive coordinator.

Former FSU coach Willie Taggart is also a possibility, although some sources believe he could also be in line for the head coach position at USF.

Let the interviews begin!