With the firing of Tim Brewster, Minnesota will begin to search for their new head coach. While it is still early and it is likely that more coaches will become potential candidates as the season progresses, the coaching tree has come up with four potential replacements:
Kevin Sumlin is in his third year as head coach at Houston, where he led the Cougars to back to back bowl appearances. His high-octane offense made him a popular name for head coaching vacancies after the 2009 season. Sumlin was at Minnesota from 1993-97, coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers for the Gophers.
Marc Trestman is currently the head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. Over three decades, Trestman spent time as a coordinator and quarterback coach in college and the NFL. He was a quarterback at Minnesota from 1975-77 under former Golden Gopher head coach Cal Stoll. If Minnesota is looking for an experienced coach with ties to the state, Trestman looks like a reasonable choice.
Minnesota may be reluctant to hire an NFL position coach, having tried and failed when they hired Tim Brewster in 2007. The difference is that Brewster was a position coach who had never been a coordinator at any level let alone had any head coaching experience other than a two year stint as a head coach at a high school. Zorn has been both a coordinator (Utah State, '92-94) and a head coach with the Washington Redskins from 2008-09. He has spent over 30 years either playing quarterback or coaching quarterbacks, including two years as the QB coach at Minnesota ('95-96).
Dan McCarney spent the first 30 years of his coaching career in the Midwest, but has spent the last four years in the sunshine state, coaching the defensive lines at South Florida (2007) and Florida. McCarney spent 12 years as the head coach at Iowa State after stops at Wisconsin and Iowa. During his five year stint as the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin in the early '90s, current Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi was the assistant athletic director with the Badgers.