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Who's next? Candidates abound for UW's head coaching opening

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Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 8:00 am

CHEYENNE – The University of Wyoming fired football coach Dave Christensen on Sunday after five seasons.

Athletics director Tom Burman said he wants to act fast in finding Christensen’s replacement, but wouldn’t put a timeline on when a hire will be made.

What does UW need in its new coach? Someone that can win, recruit, develop players and win over fans.

In other words, the total package.

Here are some candidates Burman and UW will likely look at for its new football coach:

Craig Bohl

Position: Head coach, North Dakota State

Notable: Bohl, 55, has been the head coach at North Dakota State since 2003, has won back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision national titles and is the top-ranked team this season. ... Bohl played football at Nebraska, was an assistant and defensive coordinator there and also an assistant at Duke, Wisconsin, Rice and Tulsa.

Why it would work: Bohl knows how to recruit, albeit at the FCS level, to isolated and cold places such as Fargo, N.D. His track record as a head coach is solid, and he also has been an assistant at the FBS level.

Why it wouldn’t work: Bohl’s experience at Nebraska didn’t end well and he seems firmly entrenched at North Dakota State. He might be a candidate for other jobs, too.

Bobby Petrino

Position: Head coach, Western Kentucky

Notable: Petrino, 52, has won as a college head coach at Louisville, Arkansas and in his first year at Western Kentucky. ... Was fired at Arkansas in the spring of 2012 for having an inappropriate relationship with a female employee, which came to light after a motorcycle accident. ... Is from Montana and has been coaching since the mid-1980s.

Why it would work: Petrino is a proven winner, is a good football mind and a good recruiter – everything you want in a coach. ... His ties to this part of the country are a plus.

Why it wouldn’t work: Petrino’s behavior off the field at Arkansas may not be seen favorably by UW higher-ups, and he already makes $850,000 at Western Kentucky. ... Petrino’s name also might surface for higher profile jobs as they become open.

Ted Gilmore

Position: Wide receivers coach, Oakland Raiders

Notable: Gilmore, 46, was a receiver at Wyoming in the early 1990s, and a graduate assistant (1994-96) and full-time assistant (1997-98) for the Cowboys. ... Has been an assistant coach at Kansas, Houston, Purdue, Colorado, Nebraska and USC – mostly coaching receivers. ... Is in his first season as an NFL coach.

Why it would work: Gilmore knows UW and has worked for some of the bigger programs in the bigger conferences in college football. ... Having played at UW, and his past experiences as an assistant are strong selling points.

Why it wouldn’t work: Would Gilmore leave the NFL to return to his alma mater, and is he well-rounded enough to become a head coach at this point in his career?

Rod Carey

Position: Head coach, Northern Illinois

Notable: In his first full season as head coach, Carey, 42, led Northern Illinois to a 12-0 record and the highest ranking in the BCS standings among schools in non-automatic qualifying conferences. ... Was the offensive coordinator last season and coached the team in the Orange Bowl after Dave Doeren took the job at North Carolina State.

Why it would work: A younger coach who knows his stuff, and knows how to recruit athletes to an isolated town such as DeKalb, Ill.

Why it wouldn’t work: Carey has been a head coach at the FBS level for just one full season, and his previous coaching experience before Northern Illinois was at lower levels of college football and high school.

Matt Campbell

Position: Head coach, Toledo

Notable: One of the youngest head coaches in the country at 34 and also considered one of the up-and-coming ones. ... Campbell was part of winning programs as a player at Division III Mount Union and as an assistant in the Mid-American Conference before being promoted to head coach for Toledo’s bowl game in 2011. His Rockets team beat UW 34-31 in Laramie last season.

Why it would work: A young guy with young-man’s energy, and someone who should relate well to players in this day and age.

Why it wouldn’t work: Not sure Campbell would want to leave his Midwest roots, and he might be considered for other jobs. Toledo also signed Campbell through the 2017 season after its 2011 bowl victory over Air Force.

Mike Norvell

Position: Offensive coordinator, Arizona State

Notable: Norvell, 32, has been part of head coach Todd Graham’s staff at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Graham is known for his high-tempo offenses, and also has coached quarterbacks.

Why it would work: It makes sense offensively based on the Cowboys’ personnel, and that could smooth the transition for players in the program.

Why it wouldn’t work: A lot of work needs to be done in other areas of the program, and Norvell might not be ready to take that on right now.

Tracy Claeys

Position: Defensive coordinator, University of Minnesota

Notable: Claeys, 45, been the defensive coordinator for head coach Jerry Kill at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois before going with him to Minnesota in 2011. ... Kill’s health issues have forced him to coach from the press box this season, and Claeys has been the top guy on the field. ... Claeys knows defense, the biggest area for improvement at UW.

Why it would work: His knowledge of defense and ability to recruit players to places with similar isolation issues to UW.

Why it wouldn’t work: Has been loyal to Kill for years and now is part of getting Minnesota football back to relevance.

Philip Montgomery

Position: Offensive coordinator, Baylor

Notable: Montgomery, 41, is the play-caller for one of the most prolific offenses in college football. ... Has received national awards as an assistant and knows his offense as he has coached with current Baylor head coach Art Briles for 15 seasons.

Why it would work: Montgomery’s offensive background would be a good sell to fans and to returning offensive players. ... His recruiting ties in Texas would give another talent reservoir for UW.

Why it wouldn’t work: UW went down this road with Christensen, and although the offense did some good things the defense has suffered. Would UW go down the same path again?

Brent Pease

Position: Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Florida

Notable: Has been the offensive coordinator at Florida the past two season, but also was an assistant at Boise State from 2003-11 where he coached receivers, was the assistant head coach and also the offensive coordinator in 2011.

Why it would work: Pease knows what it takes to build a winning program being part of Boise State’s staff as long as he was. ... He also has recruiting ties in this part of the country as he was an assistant at Montana and Northern Arizona, and was a player at Montana.

Why it wouldn’t work: Pease was fired at Florida on Sunday after the Gators won just four games. Not all of that is his fault, but that might hurt his chances of becoming a head coach this year, and could make it a tougher sell for UW fans and boosters.

Justin Wilcox

Position: Defensive coordinator, Washington

Notable: Wilcox, 37, has been Washington’s defensive coordinator the past two years. Before that he was the defensive coordinator at Tennessee and Boise State. ... Was part of a Boise State staff that was among the nation’s top teams.

Why it would work: A young coach with a bright defensive mind, and who has worked at some big-time programs. ... Would relate well to younger players, and has West and Northwest roots having played at Oregon and coached at Boise State, not to mention some recruiting inroads to California.

Why it wouldn’t work: Has a good thing going at Washington, and might not want to come back to the Mountain West after being in the Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences the past four years.

Pat Narduzzi

Position: Defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, Michigan State

Notable: Narduzzi, 47, is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the nation and has guided Michigan State to one of the top defenses in the country each of the past two years.

Why it would work: Narduzzi’s knowledge of defense, especially stopping the run and forcing turnovers, would go over well with UW fans.

Why it wouldn’t work: Narduzzi has been with head coach Mike Dantonio going back to his days at Cincinnati, so he has built some loyalty there. ... Narduzzi has coached mostly in the Midwest over his career, so not sure he would be the best fit in Wyoming.

A couple of other possibilities

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris both make between $1.2 and $1.3 million a year, so they are probably out of UW’s price range. ... Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is another hot commodity, but he isn’t likely to head out west to become a head coach.

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  • Old31 posted at 11:37 am on Tue, Dec 3, 2013.

    Old31 Posts: 143

    Interesting thought Mr. scilink.......House would definitely be some one they might talk to about the job. Not sure his background is that of a head coach, but as far as someone who loves Laramie (grew up there), knows UW (played there and coached there) and has defensive experience (D-coordinator at Nevada for several years). Add Ted Gilmore as a coordinator (...aka future HC)......and for shear Gene Huey out of retirement after 18 years of coaching with the Indianapolis Colts and years coaching at Nebrska, ASU and Wyo.....and an ex-Poke in the HOF with House. Now you've got something.

  • scilink posted at 8:31 am on Tue, Dec 3, 2013.

    scilink Posts: 1

    I think we are forgetting our own home grown, former poke standout and a former coach with lots of experience at other schools, who is semi retired - Jim House.

  • pete195161 posted at 5:52 am on Tue, Dec 3, 2013.

    pete195161 Posts: 329





  • hixinstix posted at 5:00 pm on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    hixinstix Posts: 120

    No on Bobby Hauck. UNLV just gave him a deal because the Rebels went 7-5(5-3)this season. From 2010-2012 he coached the Rebels to a stellar 6-32(5-18)record.....ouch. After the end of last season he was darn near "Christensen'd". He would need to put together a couple more of those 7-5 seasons before he could be considered. His record at Montana was great, but that's an FCS school. He is worthy of consideration for Coach of the Year, I agree.......just not a good choice for Pokes Coach right now.

    I agree that UW needs a great coach, but I think it's myopic to continually say we want a "Paul Roach" type coach or a "Joe Tiller" type coach. We need a coach who is.....well, GOOD......a coach who doesn't necessarily fit into the mold that the short-sighted, old school, "not in my backyard" crowd wants. To do that would continue to doom the football program. This university needs to find the best @#%$ coach they can and pay him the money necessary. Many of the same people who are clamoring for another Paul Roach or Joe Tiller are the same folks who wanted to run both of them out of town while they were at UW.

  • Sct119Leader posted at 4:29 pm on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    Sct119Leader Posts: 1

    This may seem a stretch, but Bobby Hauck is affordable, has UW ties, and winning 7 games at UNLV is worthy of consideration for National Coach of the Year.

  • '72PokeGrad posted at 2:52 pm on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    '72PokeGrad Posts: 14

    Interesting names listed in this article. Bob Stitt, according to the Denver Post, head coach of the Colorado School of Mines is also interested in the job. Don't know a thing about him but appears to have success at the School of Mines the past few years. But UW hired Joe Glenn who never coached at BCS level and he couldn't find success when given the opportunity. Ted Gilmore might be worth looking at if he is interested. Whoever the new hire is, it isn't going to be an easy task bringing this football program back to respectability. Would be nice to find a younger Paul Roach who loved and was a tremendous advocate for the State, the university, and the athletic program, particularly the football team. Good luck to whoever the new guy will be and good luck working with Tom Burman who will be the guy that hires you. I was hoping after this weekend, the university might have been looking for a new AD too. But that didn't happen so we can only hope Mr. Burman makes a good choice in his selection.

  • Pokeforlife posted at 1:54 pm on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    Pokeforlife Posts: 13

    Yukon, I don't know what you mean by every coach on this reporters list is out UW's price range. If you haven't already guessed I am lobbying for Ted Gilmore, who I know is interested and is someone whom the University could afford. He is well rounded and would be a great fit for a long time to come!!!! So to say that every coach listed in the article is out UW's price range is pure stupid!!!

  • Yukon posted at 1:30 pm on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    Yukon Posts: 1

    Guys, get real, every coach on your list is out of your price range except for Bohl. He has made it clear he wouldn't leave for lateral move, in which WY is. He would only leave for a BCS job, mainly Big 10, Big 12.
    Why would a successful coach from the MAC take a lateral move to WY for same or less money?

  • Pokeforlife posted at 11:59 am on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    Pokeforlife Posts: 13

    It all comes down to coaching!!!! Coach Roach in 4 seasons compiled a 35-15 record, Coach Tiller in 6 seasons had a 39-30 record, and Coach Dimel in 3 seasons left with a 22-13. All of them found ways to win and compete for conference championships. Roach went undefeated in back to back season in WAC play. Coach Tiller won a pair of conference championships. They all found and brought in recruits that were able to compete against the top teams in the conference. If they were able to do it there is no excuse for any other coach not to be bale to do it!!! Bringing in guy in Ted Gilmore, he knows what Laramie has to offer. Not only was he recruited to play at UW he chose to play for the Pokes. If he was sold on playing for the Pokes back then when the did not have the facilities that they do now, he would know how to sell the program to new recruits. Ted has recruiting ties to California and Texas, among other places. Ted spent several years in Laramie and has good ties to the program. He needs to be the next coach!!!

  • OldSlowPoke posted at 10:09 am on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    OldSlowPoke Posts: 14

    Since your throwing names out there...Sonny Lubick has two son's in the coaching ranks, one with the Houston Texans and one with the University of Oregon. Whoever becomes the next UW FB coach, they are going to have their work cut out for them. Too bad we can't find a new Athletic Director as well. Burman has been as much of an embarrassment at times as some of the coaches he has hired.

  • Pokeforlife posted at 9:33 am on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    Pokeforlife Posts: 13

    It's AWESOME that you mentioned Ted Gilmore!!! I know 100% for fact the he would come back to Wyoming!!! I know he is very interested in being the next head coach and he would be a perfect fit for Wyoming and could be another Sunny Lubick!!! Check out the facebook page" Hire Ted Gilmore as Head Coach at Wyoming"

  • southern poke posted at 9:25 am on Mon, Dec 2, 2013.

    southern poke Posts: 96

    Robert, what does Wyoming offer that Western K, Toledo & NIU don't? The real issue is what is Wyoming doing that makes recruiting different for the new guy than we did for the last three guys? Why should a coachable three star come to Laramie and not UNLV or CSU or New Mexico. How do you get the four star athlete away from SDSU, Fresno or BSU? Coaches seem to come and go. Winning ones jump ship and losing ones are thrown from the stagecoach. What remains is Steamboat on the side of the headgear. So beside new coaches making more money every few years what else are we doing?. How about throwing money at a world class student union?


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