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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.