The UCF Knights will have to find a new offensive coordinator and QB Coach yet again this year after Chip Lindsey was hired away by North Carolina to the same positions.
With a coaching tree as large as Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s is, there are a number of names in his Rolodex that he could call.
So, here is our list of potential names:
Tim Harris Jr.
Back in 2021, Harris was hired by UCF to be the running back coach and the Co-Offensive Coordinator to G.J. Kinne. While Harris Jr. kept the “Co-OC” title after Kinne’s departure to Incarnate Word, the hiring of Chip Lindsey as the OC (no “Co-”) kept that title to just that, a title.
However, if Malzahn wanted to promote from within, he could take the “Co-” off Harris Jr.’s title and make him the full-time offensive coordinator.
In his time as RB coach, Harris Jr. has worked with Isaiah Bowser as he rushed for the 8th-most rushing touchdowns in school history, and RJ Harvey as he recovered from his torn ACL and ran for 767 yards on 112 carries this season.
Another option from within, Herb Hand has known Malzahn since their days at Tulsa in the late 2000s. Hand was co-OC with Malzahn from 2007-2008 and assumed the OC job outright in 2009 after Malzahn was hired away by Auburn to be their OC.
Prior to coming to UCF to be the O-Line Coach, Hand also served as Co-OC at Texas from 2018-2020 under Tom Herman.
When Gus Malzahn hired Chip Lindsey, Lindsey had just been fired as the head coach at Troy.
Back in late 2019, Malzahn did the same thing for Chad Morris after he was dismissed as the head coach of Arkansas. Morris comes from a similar high school coaching background as Malzahn, coaching in Texas from 1994-2009 before getting his first collegiate job at Tulsa in 2010.
He served as the OC and QB Coach in Malzahn’s last season coaching Auburn in 2020, where he worked with current Oregon QB Bo Nix. According to Yahoo Sports, Malzahn was quoted saying he had known Morris for almost 20 years to that point.
Morris returned to his roots to coach Allen High School in Texas in 2021. However, during the 2022 season, he served as an offensive analyst for South Florida. So, Morris would not have to move far if Malzahn were to hire him again.
While the wider football world may know Dell McGee as the run-game coordinator and running backs coach for the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, his first collegiate coaching job after coaching in high school from 2002-2012 was as an offensive analyst under Malzahn at Auburn in 2013.
Since joining the Dawgs in 2016, McGee coached the likes of Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift, and Sony Michel. Should McGee want to advance his own coaching career, joining Malzahn at UCF could be his next step.
Malzahn has shown as the head coach at UCF that he is willing to take a chance on a younger coach (see G.J. Kinne), and Ryan Aplin is not only that, but he also has a history with Malzahn.
Aplin was Malzahn’s QB at Arkansas State during his one season there as head coach in 2012, which ended in a Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Post-playing career, Aplin joined Malzahn at Auburn as a graduate assistant from 2014-2015.
Nowadays, Aplin is the Pass Game Coordinator for Georgia Southern, who led the Sun Belt this season in passing yards.
Aplin is also a Tampa native, so if Malzahn were to hire him at UCF, it would be his first coaching job in his home state.
Heading into the Big 12, perhaps Malzahn would want to hire someone with experience coaching in the conference. Enter Kansas RB Coach Jonathan Wallace.
Wallace played under Malzahn at Auburn from 2013-2015 and then joined Malzahn’s staff as a graduate assistant in 2016 and 2017. After stops at Bethel College and Air Force, he landed at Kansas in 2020, where he remains today under HC Lance Leipold.
This season, he worked with RB Devin Neal, who finished 5th in rushing yards in the Big 12 this season.
Bobby Bentley would not have to move far if he were to take the OC job. He is currently the WR Coach and passing-game coordinator for South Florida.
As far as history with Malzahn, Bentley served as an offensive analyst under him at Auburn from 2014-2015 and the two share a background in coaching high school football. Bentley coached at James F. Byrnes High School in South Carolina from 1990-2006, and briefly did so again in 2013.
If Malzahn wanted to hire someone else from SEC country, he has a history with Dameyune Craig.
A former Auburn QB, Craig served as Malzahn’s Co-OC and WR Coach at Auburn from 2013-2015. He currently serves under Jimbo Fisher as the QB Coach with Texas A&M, a position he’s only held for one season after being the Aggies’ WR Coach from 2018-2021.
No. Just... no.
While not a likely candidate for the offensive coordinator position, Chip Lindsey also served as the Knights’ QB Coach, a role that could suit McKenzie Milton should he decide now is the time to begin a coaching career.
Milton got some equivalent GA experience while he recovered from his leg injury in 2019 and 2020, working with Dillon Gabriel.
Back in June, Malzahn was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying he thinks Milton would be a “great coach,” and that he and Lindsey had offered Milton to be a graduate assistant. However, Milton declined the offer to focus on his family, including his newborn son, and his work in the NIL space with Dreamfield and Mission Control. However, Malzahn also mentioned that “you never know what the future holds.”
Well, it is now the future and the QB Coach position has opened up. The question now is: Is Milton at a point in his life where he wants to begin a coaching career?
Only one man knows the answer to that question.
We’ll look at some candidates for UCF’s Defensive Coordinator position tomorrow.