7 non-football candidates to replace Bo Pelini
1. Gregg Popovich
The 5-time NBA title-winning coach could build a title condender out of tumbleweeds and aluminum foil. All Popovich does is win. The longest tenured coach in any of the big four American sports leagues, his history of fluid player development and brilliant in-game schemes would allow him to build anything if he so desires.
Popovich has a fantastic philanthropic reputation and has been heavily invested in countless charitable efforts during his time in the NBA, making him an ideal candidate to embrace the pride that is Nebraska football.
2. Rulon Gardner
Gardner, a Nebraska alum, is best known for defeating Russia's Aleksandr Karelin for the Gold Medal in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 2000 Olympic Games, but the imposing man is so much more. Gardner miraculously survived two catastrophic events, one of which occured in 2002 when he survived 18-plus hours in freezing conditions in mountains outside of Star Valley, Wyoming. Five years later, Gardner survived a plane crash into Lake Powell (Utah), where he and two others swam nearly one hour in 44-degree temperatures before spending the night on the shores without shelter.
The former NCAA All-American would be a perfect fit to lead his alma mater, one which initially offered him a football scholarship after he transferred from Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho). Need more proof Gardner would be a winner in Nebraska? Just check out all his vehement ramblings after his early exit from The Biggest Loser, in which he repeats the phrase "my life was about being a winner and I would not be able to reach my goals on the biggest LOSER," over and over and over again. Why couldn't he be a winner in Nebraska?
3. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Although this would be an impossible hire, the 34th President of the United States and 5-Star General in the United States Army would be a perfect fit. Why? Because like Popovich, all he does is win.
Considered by many to be the most successful military leader in American history, the former West Point football player never buckled under pressure while invading French North Africa or Tunisia during World War II in 1943. Furthermore, he led one of the greatest military missions in world history with Operation Overlord, the Allies' assault of Normandy, France on on June 6, 1944.
Nebraska stakeholders want a winner. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a winner.
4. Katniss Everdeen
Katniss Everdeen represents courage, selflessness, intelligence and the wit needed to lead any group into the teeth of battle. Her proven ability to make life-altering decisions while under immense pressure would transfer beautifully to the gridiron. And lastly, Katniss would enter the living room of any recruit with more presence, power, influence and beauty than any football coach in history (sorry, Jim Harbaugh).
In a pinch, Jennifer Lawrence will work (is there anything she can't do?). Football players do love The Hunger Games, after all.
5. Kenny Chesney
This might be a tough one for Tennessee fans to swallow, but Kenny Chesney could do wonders for the Huskers. The country music superstar is widely known as a huge football fan, but his latest career moves could provide even more inspiration for Nebraska.
Following years of dominating music charts and churning out worldwide hits, Chesney took a back seat, albeit ever so slightly, to the new wave of country singers over the last 5-6 years. However, his latest album, "The Big Revival," could provide serious relatable material for a program that might still be considered among college football's best, but knows it can so much more.
Plus, he wears that cowboy hat so low over his eyes that you can never tell what he's thinking. Other coaches won't be able to get a read on him. Very important.
6. Steve Ballmer
If Steve Ballmer is crazy enough to dump $2 billion into the Los Angeles Clippers, he might be willing to bring in the best of the best for an all-star coaching and recruiting staff for Nebraska.
It remains unclear if his role as Huskers head coach would be anything more than an enthusiastic stakeholder and sideline cheerleader, but his wealth of strategic decision-making and willingness to pour unlimited resources into the program could be a game-changer in the college athletics arms race.
7. Jimmy Fallon
Fallon might lack in the football side of the equation (despite his best efforts against Jadeveon Clowney and that time he used puppies to predict the Super Bowl), but the guy just gets it. He know how to inspire people. His football superlatives are beyond brilliant and he represents an unmatched level of light-hearted sophistication that the state of Nebraska could use. The Huskers program would become the envy of the college football universe with ingenious pre game festivities, in-game contests, and undeniably hilarious recruiting pitches. Plus, maybe The Roots would be there! How cool would that be?
Andrew Doughty is a writer for Next Impulse Sports