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2020 Dallas Cowboys head coach tracker: Rumors, news, developments and reports on names linked to job

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Everything you need to know about the hunt for the next Cowboys coach.

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After parting ways with Jason Garrett the Dallas Cowboys will officially begin a new decade with a new head coach.

It has been a long time since the Cowboys held a true coaching search. The team last needed a new man in charge back in 2010 when it was assumed, and later proven to be true, that interim head coach Jason Garrett would be promoted. 2020 will mark the first true search since 2007 when Wade Phillips was hired as the team’s head coach following Bill Parcells’ retirement.

There are going to be a lot of rumors, news, developments, and reports related to people being connected to the Cowboys job so we have organized them all here for you. This is our official tracker for all of that so make sure to bookmark so that you don’t miss a thing.

(This post was last updated on January 6th, 2020 at 9:20 am ET)


Names that have been linked to the Dallas Cowboys head coach job


Timeline of events since the Cowboys parted ways with Jason Garrett

Monday, January 6th

Things got off to a hectic start as The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi tweeted that he spoke to an agent involved and that agent “feels Dallas has their man.” Considering that experience might matter and that the only two candidates with it that have been interviewed to date are Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis, the former makes sense.

Also on that note according to NFL Network’s Jane Slater, McCarthy is already making calls with potential regards to a future staff. Where could that be, though?

Sunday, January 5th

Late Sunday evening Yahoo’s Charles Robinson offered up a Twitter thread with a few nuggets. He mentioned that “pliability” from candidates would be a plus and noted that current Cowboys staffers Kellen Moore, Marc Colombo, Jon Kitna, and Gary Brown will be recommended to the new coach. He also added that a “look-in” to Sean Payton could not be discounted. Of course it couldn’t.

Also late Sunday evening ESPN’s Chris Mortensen noted that the Cowboys could likely prioritize NFL experience in searching for their candidate.


Timeline of events leading to the Cowboys parting ways with Jason Garrett

A lot has happened as it relates to the Dallas Cowboys head coaching search. This is a timeline of how we’ve gotten here with the most recent events listed first.

Sunday, January 5th

After a week of speculation the Dallas Cowboys finally made the move as multiple outlets reported that they are officially moving on from Jason Garrett. Earlier in the day FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that Garrett was lobbying to keep his job and that the team’s interview with Mike McCarthy went so well that he stayed longer in Dallas. Also, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that if Marvin Lewis were to get a head coaching job (he interviewed with the Cowboys) that it would be a “must” for him to bring former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator. It was also reported that the Cowboys are going to “take the temperature” of Lincoln Riley’s interests in leaving college football for the NFL.

Saturday, January 4th

We finally saw legitimate action with regards to the Cowboys head coaching job, despite the fact that at the time Jason Garrett still technically held it. Mike McCarthy was reported to be interviewing with the Cowboys and Marvin Lewis was reported as already having done so.

Friday, January 3rd

Garrett watch continued and confusion continued. NFL Network reported that Cowboys players and coaches had not been told of any sort of coaching change, par for the course up to that point. Meanwhile, a fourth different outlet connected Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to the Cowboys despite Minnesota’s playoff game the following weekend. Additionally, Vikings owner Mark Wilf issued a statement on Friday supporting Mike Zimmer as the team’s head coach both now and in the future. Also, ESPN suggested Dennis Allen, Leslie Frazier, and Dan Campbell as options to consider.

Thursday, January 2nd

There were a variety of reports that ranged from Jason Garrett speaking to Cowboys players as if he were still part of the team to him being out entirely. Sportscenter outright said that it was “decided” by the Joneses that Jason Garrett would no longer be part of the organization, but that message was not confirmed by anyone else.

Tuesday, December 31st

The Baltimore Ravens had an offense that the entire NFL took notice of in 2019. A lot of that has to do with quarterback Lamar Jackson, and a lot of it had to do with offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He’s a name to watch according to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson. Robinson went more in depth about the potential fit on the Yahoo Sports NFL podcast.

Monday, December 30th

On the first official day of the offseason the New York Giants were rumored to like Baylor head coach Matt Rhule to fill their own opening. It was reported by Yahoo’s Charles Robinson that they are concerned that he could be the top choice for the Cowboys, though.

Sunday, December 29th

The Dallas Cowboys season ended and with it the holding of breath began. In the immediate moments of the season ending ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio said on NBC’s Football Night in America that Mike Zimmer, Gary Kubiak, and Dan Campbell were all names to keep an eye on.

Saturday, December 28th

During the Saturday before the final Sunday of the regular season it was speculated by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Cowboys could consider trading for a coach, someone like Mike Zimmer. As you are likely aware, Zimmer was a longtime defensive coordinator for the Cowboys and has history with the organization.

Friday, December 6th

Shortly after the Cowboys lost to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football it was reported by NFL Network’s Jane Slater that the team had “very real” interest in Urban Meyer and that Stephen Jones had even spoken with him recently. Meyer went on The Herd in October and referred to the Cowboys job as “the one” in noting that he would absolutely have to consider it if he were ever called for it.

Sunday, December 1st

Lincoln Riley has long been someone that Cowboys fans have wanted to coach their team (his lack of success in the College Football Playoff has scared some off though) and the idea has been thrown around a lot before. For what it’s worth, on December 1st NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Joneses really got to know Riley when he courted Stephen’s son (John Stephen Jones) to Oklahoma when he was in high school.


Coaching Histories of those that have been connected to Dallas

Here are the head coaching records of every coach that has been connected to the Dallas Cowboys job in some capacity.

Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma)

Urban Meyer

  • 2001 (Bowling Green State): 8-3
  • 2002 (Bowling Green State): 9-3
  • 2003 (Utah): 10-2... won Liberty Bowl
  • 2004 (Utah): 12-0... won Fiesta Bowl
  • 2005 (Florida): 9-3... won Outback Bowl
  • 2006 (Florida): 13-1... won BCS Championship
  • 2007 (Florida): 9-4... lost Capital One Bowl
  • 2008 (Florida): 13-1... won BCS Championship
  • 2009 (Florida): 13-1... won Sugar Bowl
  • 2010 (Florida): 8-5... won Outback Bowl
  • 2012 (Ohio State): 12-0
  • 2013 (Ohio State): 12-2... lost Orange Bowl
  • 2014 (Ohio State): 14-1... won Sugar Bowl and College Football Championship
  • 2015 (Ohio State): 12-1... won Fiesta Bowl
  • 2016 (Ohio State): 11-2... lost Fiesta Bowl
  • 2017 (Ohio State): 12-1... won Cotton Bowl
  • 2018 (Ohio State); 10-1... won Rose Bowl

Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings)

  • 2014: 7-9
  • 2015: 11-5... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2016: 8-8
  • 2017: 13-3... lost in NFC Championship Game
  • 2018: 8-7-1
  • 2019: 10-6... visit the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round

Gary Kubiak

  • 2006 (Houston Texans): 6-10
  • 2007 (Houston Texans): 8-8
  • 2008 (Houston Texans) 8-8
  • 2009 (Houston Texans) 9-7
  • 2010 (Houston Texans): 6-10
  • 2011 (Houston Texans): 10-6... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2012 (Houston Texans): 12-4... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2013 (Houston Texans): 2-11
  • 2015 (Denver Broncos): 12-4... won Super Bowl 50
  • 2016 (Denver Broncos): 9-7

Dan Campbell

  • 2015 (Miami Dolphins): 5-7 (Campbell was the interim head coach during this time)

Matt Rhule

  • 2013 (Temple): 2-10
  • 2014 (Temple): 6-6
  • 2015 (Temple): 10-4... lost Boca Raton Bowl
  • 2016 (Temple): 10-3... lost Military Bowl
  • 2017 (Baylor): 1-11
  • 2018 (Baylor): 7-6... won Texas Bowl
  • 2019 (Baylor): 11-2... lost Sugar Bowl

Greg Roman

Greg Roman has not been a head coach at any level but he has most notably been the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens (current) and San Francisco 49ers (2011-2014 under Jim Harbaugh when they went to three straight NFC Championship Games). He has worked for Brian Billick, Dom Capers, both Harbaugh brothers, Rex Ryan, and George Seifert, per Pro Football Reference.

Dennis Allen

  • 2012 (Oakland Raiders): 4-12
  • 2013 (Oakland Raiders): 4-12
  • 2014 (Oakland Raiders): 0-4

Leslie Frazier

  • 2010 (Minnesota Vikings): 3-3 (Frazier was the interim head coach during this time)
  • 2011 (Minnesota Vikings): 3-13
  • 2012 (Minnesota Vikings): 10-6
  • 2013 (Minnesota Vikings): 5-10-1

Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers)

  • 2006: 8-8
  • 2007: 13-3... lost in NFC Championship Game
  • 2008: 6-10
  • 2009: 11-5... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2010: 10-6... won Super Bowl XLV
  • 2011: 15-1... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2012: 11-5... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2013: 8-7-1... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2014: 12-4... lost in NFC Championship Game
  • 2015: 10-6... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2016: 10-6... lost in NFC Championship Game
  • 2017: 7-9
  • 2018: 4-7-1

Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals)

  • 2003: 8-8
  • 2004: 8-8
  • 2005: 11-5... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2006: 8-8
  • 2007: 7-9
  • 2008: 4-11-1
  • 2009: 10-6... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2010: 4-12
  • 2011: 9-7... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2012: 10-6... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2013: 11-5... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2014: 10-5-1... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2015: 12-4... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2016: 6-9-1
  • 2017: 7-9
  • 2018: 6-10

Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints)

  • 2006: 10-6
  • 2007: 7-9
  • 2008: 8-8
  • 2009: 13-3... won Super Bowl XLIV
  • 2010: 11-5... lost in Wildcard Round
  • 2011: 13-3... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2013: 11-5... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2014: 7-9
  • 2015: 7-9
  • 2016: 7-9
  • 2017: 11-5... lost in Divisional Round
  • 2018: 13-3... lost in NFC Championship Game
  • 2019: 13-3... lost in Wildcard Round

Important notes on each name linked to the Cowboys

There are things and details about each potential candidate that records do not show. Here are added things to consider when considering who you like or do not like.

Lincoln Riley

  • Produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners at Oklahoma (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) that also went number one overall in their following respective drafts
  • Also had Jalen Hurts to the point where he was a nominee this past season
  • Yahoo’s Charles Robinson mentioned that if the Cowboys did hire Riley that they might pair him with a seasoned defensive coordinator (he cited Sean McVay and Wade Phillips with the Rams as an example) and even dropped a potential name in Mike Zimmer

Urban Meyer

  • Coached Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State
  • Regarded as someone who has “won at every level”

Mike Zimmer

  • Spent seven years as the Cowboys defensive coordinator
  • Obviously knows the Jones family well as a result
  • Has won two division titles in six years with the Vikings
  • Guided the franchise through a lot of adversity when losing players like Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater

Gary Kubiak

  • Helped the Houston Texans win their first ever playoff games
  • Won Super Bowl 50 as the head coach of the Denver Broncos
  • His son Klein is a Cowboys scout

Dan Campbell

  • Played tight end for the Dallas Cowboys
  • Served as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015

Matt Rhule

  • Took over a Baylor program that was in total disarray
  • The fact that he got them there as quickly as he did is what has impressed people
  • Being connected to other jobs, especially the New York Giants

Greg Roman

  • Has experience with mobile quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson (although they both could/can do more than run)
  • Helped produce the number one offense in the NFL in 2019
  • Coordinated the Ravens offense that produced the most team rushing yards in a single season in NFL history

Dennis Allen

  • Served as the head coach of the Raiders for three years
  • Has been the Saints defensive coordinator for five seasons

Leslie Frazier

  • Served as the head coach of the Vikings for three years
  • Has been the Bills defensive coordinator for three seasons

Mike McCarthy

  • Won Super Bowl XLV with the Green Bay Packers
  • Had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for his tenure there
  • Has pledged a new devotion towards analytics since his year away

Marvin Lewis

  • Never won a playoff game while in Cincinnati
  • Did go to playoffs five years in a row
  • Was not in the NFL in 2019

Sean Payton

  • Served on the Cowboys staff under Bill Parcells
  • Was suspended in 2012 for the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal
  • Has been someone that the Cowboys expressed interest in, even as recently as last offseason