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Possible Coaching Candidates for Colorado State

Just hours after Jim McElwain's departure from Colorado State has become official, here is a list of potential candidates to become the next head coach of the Colorado State Rams.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Jim McElwain is officially the new head coach of the Florida Gators, Colorado State must start their search of a new head coach. It is important that the search begins soon due to the lack of commitments the Rams have for the class of 2015 as of right now and the fact that national signing day is only two months away. With a lot of names being thrown around right now, here is a list of candidates that could possibly be considered to be the next head coach of the Colorado State Rams. The good news, Colorado State has become a desirable job for other coaches in the industry.

Billy Gonzales, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Wide Receivers Coach, Mississippi State

Once it was announced that Jim McElwain was a serious candidate to become the next Gator head coach, Gonzales was one of the first names put out as a potential candidate to become Colorado State's next head football coach. In his first season as Co-Offensive Coordinator, the Bulldogs offense is ranked 9th in the country with 506 yards per game, averaging 266 yards passing and 240 yards rushing and 35.9 points per game.

Gonzales has been given praise for the development of quarterback Dak Prescott and is recognized as one of the better assistant coaches in the SEC. A big reason why Gonzales to Colorado State could be a realistic possibility; Gonzales was a Colorado State wide receiver in the early 1990s.

Ed Orgeron, Unemployed

Orgeron, a former Ole Miss head coach and Southern California interim head coach, has made it clear that he wants to get back into coaching football after taking a year off in 2014. Orgeron has expressed interest in the UNLV job, however, you would think that he would be open to talking to Colorado State if the opportunity presents itself. Known as a player's coach, Orgeron is a great recruiter and he gets players to play hard for him.

While his head coaching resume isn't overly impressive, 16-27 in three and a half seasons as a head coach, he has experience coaching in the SEC and PAC-12 and has recruiting ties in many different areas. His most success came in 2013 when he took over for Lane Kiffin who was fired. He went 6-2 with the Trojans and was looking like a possible candidate to become the new Southern California head coach, but that job was eventually given to another former USC assistant coach in Steve Sarkisian.

Matt Lubick, Wide Receivers Coach, Passing Game Coordinator, Oregon

This is probably the most interesting candidate that I have looked at. First and foremost, he is the son of Colorado State coaching legend Sonny Lubick who transformed the Ram football program and put Fort Collins on the map. His name and the fact that he is Colorado State Alumni make him an interesting candidate.

Lubick, along with his name, has the credentials to be a successful coach at Colorado State. Lubick's best skill set that would make him a good head coach is his ability to close when it comes to recruiting. During his time at Arizona State, Lubick is credited with the signing of Vontaze Burfict, who at the time, was Arizona State's highest rated recruit. While at Ole Miss, Lubick was a factor in getting Dexter McCluster to sign. McCluster went on to have a very solid career at Ole Miss. Along with recruiting, Lubick also is involved in the offensive game planning for the Oregon Ducks. With the implementation of some of Oregon's schemes with Colorado State's personnel, the sky could be the limit for the Ram's offense in the future.

Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, Colorado State

Whenever a team is searching for a new head coach, there are mile wide speculations that the new head coach will come from somewhere else. The job at Colorado State could go to someone from a "Power 5" conference, or they could hire from within. Hiring from within wouldn't be the strangest thing for Colorado State if they decided to go that route. Dave Baldwin, a person largely responsible for the Ram's explosive offense, could be an interesting hire for Colorado State. He has been a Division I offensive coordinator since 2001, but has never been considered for many head coaching opportunities at the Division I level. Baldwin had one stint as head coach at San Jose State and  went 18-27 in four seasons with the Spartans from 1997-2000. Since then, Baldwin has been at six different schools in 14 seasons. Depending on how the Rams do in their preparation for the bowl game will help determine whether or not Baldwin will be given an opportunity to interview for the job.

Gary Kubiak, Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens

This is one is a long shot for the Rams, but it is interesting none the less. Kubiak has ties to not only the state, but to the university as well. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 1995 until 2005, when he left to become the head coach of the Houston Texans. His ties with the university come from his sons, Klay and Klint, who both played football at Colorado State. Kubiak doesn't have any college football coaching experience, but he has been an NFL head coach for eight and a half seasons. He understands how to run a football program and how to control the game from the sidelines. Without experience recruiting, Kubiak could come into Colorado State and keep the majority of the staff that is in place, making recruiting efforts easier in his transition. While it would be pretty cool for most Ram fans to see Kubiak on the sidelines in the green and gold, I would highly doubt Kubiak is the guy.

Bob Stitt, Head Coach, Colorado School of Mines

I have seen Bob Stitt's name being tossed around as a possible replacement to Jim McElwain. Stitt is the head coach of the 17th ranked Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in Division II. Known as the innovator of the Fly Sweep play, Stitt is a very respected coach in college football. Stitt has a 90-57 record in 15 season with the Orediggers, which is more impressive than it sounds, due to the fact that every player he coaches has to be admitted into the very prestigious engineering school. Stitt has a recruiting foundation set in place in the state of Colorado, as well as in many other states in the region. The only major problem with Stitt is whether or not he can come into Colorado State and maintain his success at the Division I level.

Brady Hoke, Unemployed

The recently fired head coach of the Michigan Wolverines could be a potential McElwain replacement. Though he didn't have success at Michigan doesn't mean he isn't a successful coach. Hoke actually saw a lot of success during his time with San Diego State, which gave him the opportunity to coach at Michigan in the first place. Hoke's familiarity with the Mountain West and his recruiting network already established in California could be a major reason Hoke gets a head coaching opportunity with the Colorado State Rams.

Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, Alabama

No potential head coaching candidate list would be complete without the name Lane Kiffin being on that list. Why would he be successful at Colorado State after his time with the Southern California Trojans and the Tennessee Volunteers went south?

Less pressure at Colorado State. Yes, Colorado State is going to be in the media a little bit more after their successful season and push for the Mountain West Championship, however, the spotlight that USC or Tennessee football gets overshadows any spotlight Kiffin would receive here. Less pressure equals an opportunity for Kiffin to revive his head coaching career. Kiffin is a very knowledgeable offensive minded person and would do wonders with the weapons Colorado State has offensively. He would be able to recruit well in the state as well as in Texas and California. On top of that, Kiffin has some ties to Colorado State as well, He was a graduate assistant under Sonny Lubick in 1999. Not to mention, the last time the Ram's hired a Crimson Tide assistant coach, the program saw great strides.

Other Notable Names

Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator, Oregon

Tom Herman, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

The reason these two names are not on the list is due to the idea that they are too "high profile"  to be considered candidates to come to Colorado State. I have seen both Frost and Herman as possible replacements in Kansas, Michigan and Oregon State, not to mention any other "Power 5" school which might have an opening soon. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them interview for the job, I see them using Colorado State as a stepping stone rather than being a "lifer" with the Rams.

I know there are a lot more names out there, but this list is one that consists names that I have seen a lot of people suggest from all areas of the internet. I know a lot of the names being suggested are rumors and wishful thinking, but it is interesting and fun to talk about who might become the next head football coach of the Colorado State Rams.