Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Memphis's head coaching search has its man.
According to multiple reports, including from the local Commercial Appeal, The Tigers will unveil TCU co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente as their new head coach Thursday at noon. Horned Frog officials have already issued their congratulations to Fuente on the new position on Twitter.
The Tigers search committee had reportedly settled on Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and had even begun ironing out the details of a contract, only to make a last-minute change-of-heart in Fuente's favor.
While McElwain would have been the bigger name and arguably would have created the bigger splash, Fuente's resume isn't anything to sneeze at. Fuente has called plays for the Horned Frogs the past three seasons after being promoted from running backs coach, helping Gary Patterson's 2010 team to their undefeated Rose Bowl campaign and school records in both total and scoring offense, a year after setting those same records in 2009.
But this year might have been Fuente's best yet, as even without Andy Dalton or Jeremy Kerley the Frogs once again finished ninth in the FBS in both scoring and yards per-play--TCU's third straight top-12 finish in yards per-play under Fuente.
Fuente will have to prove he can hire the right staff and fix a Tiger defense even more atrocious than its putrid offense. But given the energy he should bring to the job at just 35 and the excitement his offensive flair should bring, it's hard to say the Tigers could have done a whole lot better than Fuente regardless.