On Sunday morning, Syracuse football fired head coach Dino Babers. Soon after, Kentucky’s offensive coordinator was linked as one of the possible candidates to replace him.
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Liam Coen is among the “early names” being mentioned as a possibility for Syracuse’s next head coach. Coen has spent two of the last three seasons (2021, 2023) as Kentucky’s OC with one year in between as the Los Angeles Rams OC (2022). Syracuse fired Babers following eight seasons in charge after the Orange lost to Georgia Tech 31-22 over the weekend. He finished with a record of 41-55 and two bowl appearances during his tenure.
Coen was one of 11 names mentioned, joining the likes of Jason Candle (Toledo HC), Bronco Mendenhall (former Virginia HC), Doug Marrone (New Orleans Saints OL coach), Tony White (Nebraska DC), Al Golden (Notre Dame DC), Curt Cignetti (James Madison HC), Jim Knowles (Ohio State DC), Sean Lewis (Colorado OC), Bob Chesney (Holy Cross HC), and Teryl Austin (Pittsburgh Steelers DC).
This job likely won’t be the last that Coen is linked to between now and the start of next season. At 38 years old with three years of experience as an NFL/SEC offensive coordinator under his belt, he’ll be an attractive candidate for a non-Power 5 head coaching gig. The Syracuse job is particularly interesting considering Coen’s ties and connections to the northeast.
Coen was born and raised in Rhode Island before playing quarterback in college at UMass, where he set plenty of school records that still stand to this day. He started his coaching career as the QB coach at Brown before making stops at Rhode Island (QB Coach), Brown again (QB Coach), UMass (QB Coach), and Maine (OC). Coen then made the leap to the NFL with the Rams (2018-20) before taking the OC job at Kentucky in 2021 to replace Eddie Gran.
Following a successful first season as OC at UK, Coen left to take the same job with the Rams. Coen would return to Lexington this past offseason to replace Rich Scangarello as OC, although Kentucky’s offense has not produced at the same level it did when he was running the show the first time around.
Through 11 games so far in 2023, Kentucky (6-5) ranks outside the nation’s top 40 in points per game (27.7; 55th), total yards per game (331.4; 98th), and yards per play (5.8; 42nd). The Wildcats managed just 14 points on Saturday night in a loss to South Carolina.