So begins the search

Josh Katzenstein

The search for Tim BrewsterâÄôs replacement is on, and since Minnesota is the first Football Bowl Subdivision program to fire its head coach this season, the options are plentiful.

Athletics director Joel Maturi said Sunday he wants âÄúto find a Tubby Smith,âÄù someone with distinction who can raise the excitement level.

Whether itâÄôs a current head coach, coordinator or someone who isnâÄôt coaching at all right now, Maturi wants someone who can come in and win right away.

EveryoneâÄôs talking about the Minnesota opening, and at some point in the coming months, the stars will align for the Gophers.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said he was âÄúin a position to listen to anybodyâÄù on his radio show Monday morning, but heâÄôs got plenty on his plate with a pending lawsuit that led to his firing in Lubbock.

Jeff Horton will serve as interim head coach and will certainly be a candidate, Maturi said, but here are eight other possible coaches that could send an application MaturiâÄôs way:

Kevin Sumlin, Houston head coach

Success as a head coach? Check. Minnesota ties? Check. Ready to jump to the next level? Yet to be seen.

Sumlin took the Houston job in 2008 and led the Cougars to bowl games in his first two seasons. From 1993 to 1996 Sumlin coached the Gophers receivers, and in 1997 he led the quarterbacks.

The chances of Sumlin leaving Houston could increase if the NCAA denies injured senior quarterback Case Keenum a medical redshirt and sixth year of eligibility.

Marc Trestman, Montreal Alouettes (CFL) head coach

Trestman is as Minnesotan as they come in coaching circles. He went to St. Louis Park High School, played at Minnesota and Minnesota State-Mankato and worked for three years as a Vikings assistant.

TrestmanâÄôs recent past also bodes well for him. Since taking a head coaching job in the Canadian Football League in 2008, TrestmanâÄôs Alouettes have played in the Grey Cup twice and won it once.

Brady Hoke, San Diego State Head Coach

Hoke has both Big Ten ties and a successful head coaching résumé. He coached the Michigan defensive line before becoming the Ball State head coach in 2003.

Hoke finished just 34-38 at Ball State, but led the team to a 12-1 season in 2008. Now in his second year, his Aztecs have started 4-2.

Mike Markuson, Mississippi offensive coordinator

MarkusonâÄôs best attribute is his ties to Minnesota. The 49-year-old graduated from Farmington high school and played defensive tackle for Hamline.

His offense has run the ball well this year but ranks near the bottom of the nation in passing, averaging just 178 yards per game. The RebelsâÄô slow start (3-3, 1-2 SEC) this season might also hurt MarkusonâÄôs application.

Mike Bellotti, former Oregon head coach

Bellotti has one of the best track records of any jobless coach, with a 116-55 record in his 14 seasons with the Ducks.

Bellotti joined ESPN in April after nine difficult months as OregonâÄôs athletic director, firing his head menâÄôs basketball coach and disciplining a slew of football players, five of whom he suspended for the season or kicked off the team outright. If he wants a clean start, he could do worse than Minnesota.

Leslie Frazier, Vikings defensive coordinator

The question surrounding Frazier is when âÄî not if âÄî he will find a head coaching stint.

Frazier, whoâÄôs been with the Vikings since 2007, could hold out for an NFL opening, but Minnesotans already know him and know he can coach.

He also has Big Ten experience, having coached the Illinois defensive backs in 1997 and 1998.

Mike Stoops, Arizona head coach

Someone named Stoops has to keep beating Nebraska when it moves to the Big Ten, right?

Stoops has the Wildcats playing well in 2010 (5-1), but if they stumble this year, he could be ready for a change (heâÄôs only 38-40 overall in seven seasons).

Stoops might relish the chance to play the Huskers every year with the possibility of bragging to older brother, Bob, OklahomaâÄôs head coach.

Jim McElwain, Alabama offensive coordinator

Nick Saban isnâÄôt the only reason the Tide keep rolling.

In his third season at Alabama, McElwain is at the top of the list of assistants ready to make the jump.

When he sees the possibility of coaching running backs Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge as seniors, McElwain could be swayed to travel north.