"Multiple sources have told the [Tallahassee] Democrat that FSU is expected to announce the hire of Memphis coach Mike Norvell as the Seminoles' next head coach Sunday," Wayne McGahee III wrote on Saturday, confirming reports that Norvell was Florida State's top candidate and a deal was all but done.
With Norvell done, who might Memphis hire as their next head coach?
It'll be the first football hire for athletics director Laird Veatch, who's been on the job only two months after a two-year run as associate AD at Florida. He's also worked at Kansas State (his alma mater), Iowa State, and Missouri, and is armed with one of the highest coaching salary allotments in the Group of Five, making Memphis an attractive and well-paying springboard job.
Chip Long is the headliner. Long, 36, followed Norvell from Arizona State to Memphis in 2016 and was the Tigers' offensive coordinator and tight ends coach for one season before landing the same positions at Notre Dame, where he's been since 2017. A lauded recruiter, Long has been the primary or secondary recruiter for several four- and five-star signees over the last three years and could provide a smooth transition at Memphis.
If Veatch wants an even smoother transition, he may consider an in-house hire with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kevin Johns, a highly experienced play-caller who previously worked at Indiana, Western Michigan, and Indiana.
Barry Odom knows Veatch well from their time in Columbia and spent three seasons at Memphis' defensive coordinator (2012-14) before returning to his alma mater in 2015. He's recruited every corner of the region and has spoken fondly of his time in Memphis.
If Memphis goes back to the Power Five coordinator well and doesn't hire Chip Long, there are several names to consider, including Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Nixon, USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko, and Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley. Harrell is a young up-and-comer with (if Veatch cares) instant name recognition and did marvelous work with a patchwork Trojans' offense this year. He's worked under Mike Leach and Seth Littrell and should receive a raise at USC or elsewhere if he doesn't land a head-coaching job.
Some Group of Five coaches: Seth Littrell had a tough year but is still highly regarded and has loads of experience, including two years guiding North Carolina's offense from 2014-15. Billy Napier led Louisiana to 10 regular-season wins and a divisional title in his second season and has worked under Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, and Todd Graham. Blake Anderson could also be an option, as could Will Healy, Charlotte's 34-year-old energetic coach who worked magic at Austin Peay and just led the 49ers to their first-ever bowl berth.