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Six Potential Kentucky Offensive Coordinator Candidates

With Rich Scangarello out, Kentucky is now on the hunt for its fourth OC in as many seasons.

Rich Scangarello has been fired as Kentucky offensive coordinator after just one season in Lexington. 

The Wildcats' offense failed to pick up steam along the entirety of the 2022 season, as they averaged just 22.1 points-per game. Despite having a future NFL quarterback, workhorse running back and trio of potent wide receivers, Scangarello was never able to connect the dots through the playbook. 

Now, Kentucky is on the hunt for its fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons. Eddie Gran was let go following the 2020 season, Liam Coen returned to the NFL after helping UK get to a Citrus Bowl in his lone 2021 season, and now Scangarello's one-and-done tenure. 

Will Mark Stoops dip into the NFL for a third OC in a row? Or will he look into the college ranks, potentially plucking someone from his coaching tree? 

Let's speculate, shall we? Here are six potential candidates for Kentucky's currently vacant offensive coordinator position: 

Liam Coen, LA Rams OC

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Why not go back to the guy that helped you win 10 games a season ago? 

Coen's name will be one that's tossed around quite a bit in this coaching search. He knows the players, he knows the program and clearly knows what it takes to win at Kentucky. 

His first season as offensive coordinator for Los Angeles hasn't gone great, as the Rams are currently 3-8. It should be noted that he isn't the one doing the play-calling however. 

Another plus for bringing back Coen is like Scangarello, he'll have plenty of ties to quarterbacks across the nation, potentially making the process of landing Will Levis' replacement in the portal much easier. 

Coen was quick to jump back to the NFL...would he come back to Lexington for a second stint? 

Brian Hartline, Ohio State WR Coach

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Renowned as one of the best recruiters in the game, Brian Hartline would certainly be a needle mover if he were to come to Lexington. 

An Ohio State alum and current wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the Buckeyes, Hartline's name has been mentioned as a potential candidate for replacing Luke Fickell as Cincinnati head coach. 

For recruiting purposes, Kentucky doesn't want that to happen. If it can lure him down the highway to the Bluegrass for an elevated position as a play-caller, it would likely do wonders for the Cats in landing players out of Ohio. 

The Kentucky tie of course comes via his brother Mike, who played quarterback at UK from 2006-2010. 

Dan Mullen, ESPN Analyst

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If you're wondering where Dan Mullen went after getting fired as head coach at Florida in 2021, he's been hanging out as an analyst for ESPN. 

It's fair to think that he may be awaiting the right opportunity to get back in the coaching game, and an SEC OC gig could be just that. 

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Mullen was head coach at Mississippi State from 2009-17, most notably when the Bulldogs won 10 games in 2014. He then led the Gators from 2018-2021. His total record as an HC is 103-61. 

Mullen is well aware of what it takes to win in the SEC, he's also a QB guy, so the connections will be plentiful in that regard. Who knows if he's actively looking to get his feet wet again, but Stoops and UK would be foolish not to at least give him a ring. 

James Coley, Texas A&M WR Coach

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When fishing for connections to Mark Stoops, James Coley is a name that could cross the UK skipper's mind. 

Coley was the offensive coordinator at Florida State during Stoops' tenure as defensive coordinator and is a known top recruiter, helping land many of those players that created some of those highly-ranked classes that propelled the Seminoles from 2008-2012 He was a wide receivers coach and OC at Georgia from 2016-19, so the SEC past is there as well. 

He was mentioned as someone who could've joined Stoops when he originally became UK head coach, but that it wasn't the "right fit" back in 2014. Maybe it is now? 

Coley has reunited with Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, but if becoming a play-caller in the SEC is intriguing, he could certainly be an option. 

Phil Longo, North Carolina OC

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If you're looking for a change of pace compared to Scangarello's offense, Phil Longo would be just that. 

Longo has been the OC and QBs coach at UNC since 2019. He guided QB Sam Howell to multiple school records and has helped build a good offensive reputation for the ACC program. 

He went to Chapel Hill after a short stint at Ole Miss, so he does have experience in the SEC. Longo was under Hugh Freeze in Oxford, so expect his name to also be linked with reuniting with the HC at his new job in Auburn.

Rob Chudzinski, Boston College Special Assistant to the Head Coach

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Another coach with connections is current Boston College special assistant to the head coach Rob Chudzinski. 

He was the offensive coordinator during Stoops' time at Miami. Stoops even spoke with Chudzinski when hiring Brad White as Kentucky's defensive coordinator, as both coaches were with the Indianapolis Colts at the time. 

"Rob Chudzinski, their offensive coordinator, and I go way back,' Stoops said back in 2018. 

Before jumping to Boston College, he was an NFL coach from 2004-2017. He took a three-year break before going to BC, so possibly the Toledo, Ohio native is ready to jump into an OC role once again. 

The dots definitely connect. 

Wildcats Today will have updates on Kentucky's search for a new offensive coordinator. 

Want the latest on national football and basketball recruiting, including Cats targets? Head over to SI All-American for the latest news, blogs, and updates about the nation's best prospects.

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