With the news that Dave Christensen has been fired as the head coach at Wyoming the first thing that springs to mind is: Who’s our next coach? Christensen’s firing didn’t come as a total surprise given the lack of quality football this year, some of this is on the coaching staff and some of it on the players. Injuries definitely took a toll on this Cowboy football team, but you have to fight through those and Wyoming in year five under Christensen should have had better depth than it had.
Tom Burman is now on the hunt for another coach for the football team. I’m sure Burman has a list he’s working off of and making his phone calls. However, in case Mr. Burman needs a hand in finding a candidate, Brad and Chad decided to make a list of their own. These candidates represent their collective opinion of who would be solid choices to lead Wyoming football in 2014 and beyond.
Burman mentioned in his teleconference yesterday that he’d like this next team and coach to reemphasize the “Cowboy Tough” attitude of successful teams of the past. He believes the Pokes lost that edge, and wants to see a program that will punish others who step into War Memorial on a chilly fall day. Burman would prefer someone who is already a head coach and would also like to move fast in making a hire. Recruiting will suffer if a coach isn’t hired soon. As of right now Pete Kaligis is in charge of the team. So, Tom, if you’re reading, here’s who you should make a call to (in alphabetical order).
Craig Bohl, head coach at North Dakota State University
Craig Bohl is the head coach of the two time defending FCS national champion NDSU Bison. As head coach of the Bison he has compiled a 100-32 record and his Bison are the #1 seed in the FCS playoffs this season. He was the 2012 winner of the Eddie Robinson award and Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He has a 10-1 record in the FCS playoffs. Previous to NDSU he was the defensive coordinator at Nebraska. In college he was a defensive back for the Cornhuskers.
Pros: Knows the geographic recruiting area Wyoming would need. NDSU always rises to the occasion of playing FBS teams, often beating them. Teams are both mentally and physically tough, a quality Tom Burman is looking for. If you can recruit to Fargo you can recruit to Laramie.
Cons: Can he recruit FBS talent? FCS success doesn’t always translate to FBS success. Does he want to leave Fargo for a warmer climate? Recently signed an 8 year contract with NDSU, can UW afford a buy out?
Bryan Harsin, Head coach at Arkansas State University
Bryan Harsin is the current head coach at Arkansas State. He has been at Arkansas State for one year where the Red Wolves compiled a 7-5 record. Prior to ASU Harsin was the offensive coordinator at Texas, and prior to that was the offensive coordinator at Boise State. Harsin was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2009, which awards the top assistant coach in the country. Harsin is a former Boise State quarterback.
Pros: Knows the west pretty well being a Boise native and Boise State alum. Good pedigree coaching under Chris Petersen and Mack Brown. Has a staff already in place. Young, relatable to players.
Cons: Already has a good job that he’s new to. Has an expensive buy-out. Would Wyoming be an upgrade over an up-and-coming ASU program?
Mark Hudspeth, Head coach at University of Louisiana-Lafayette
Mark Hudspeth is the head coach of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Fun name, fun team to watch. Hudspeth has been with the Ragin’ Cajuns for three season compiling a 26-11 record. He also has two bowl victories and will be going to his third in a few weeks. Previous to ULa-La he was a WR coach at Mississippi State. Prior to that he was at division II North Alabama as the head coach where he had a 66-21 record with five playoff appearances in seven seasons. He reached the semi-finals three times. He was a safety and quarterback for Delta State.
Pros: Wins everywhere he goes. Turned around a bad Sun Belt team into a winner. Already has an assembled coaching staff.
Cons: Not familiar with the West. Can UW pay him more than his $700K salary? Is UW a better job than a consistent winner in the Sun Belt?
Pete Lembo, Head coach at Ball State University
Pete Lembo comes to us from Ball State where he has had a pretty good amount of success of leading that MAC team. Lembo has a 24-12 record at Ball State and will faceoff with Northern Illinois in the MAC title game this weekend. Lembo’s previous stops were at Lehigh of the Patriot League in FCS where he piled up a 44-14 record with the Mountain Hawks and went to two playoffs. He was then scooped up by FCS Elon to lead the Phoenix. He was 35-22 and had one playoff appearance. Lembo was an offensive lineman at Georgetown in his playing days. Lembo was the 2001 Eddie Robinson award winner honoring the top FCS head coach, the 2001 Patriot League coach of the year, and the 2007 Southern Conference coach of the year.
Pros: Coaching staff is already in place. Has been a winner at all of his previous stops. An affordable coaching candidate who has been a head coach (something Burman would like to have).
Cons: Does not know the western US. Is Wyoming currently a better job than Ball State? Is Lembo in line for a better head coaching job in a major conference?
Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator at Michigan State University
Pat Narduzzi is the defensive coordinator of Michigan State. Narduzzi has been the DC for the Spartans since 2007. In 2011 the Spartans ranked top five nationally in most major defensive categories. In 2012 the Spartans played the best defense in the B1G. This year has been no exception as the Spartans rank 1st in FBS in total defense. Previous to Michigan State Narduzzi was at Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio. IN his playing days he was a linebacker for Youngstown State and Rhode Island.
Pros: The man can coach defense, UW currently does not have a defense.
Cons: Is not familiar with the West. Can he assemble a coaching staff with an offensive coordinator that can compete in the MW? Can UW afford him?
Jeff Tedford, former head coach at University of California-Berkeley
Jeff Tedford is the former head coach of the California Golden Bears. While at Cal he piled up a 82-57 record with his best finish being a 10-2 season in 2004 and 9th in the AP. He has a 5-3 record in bowl games. Tedford coached a couple you guys may have heard of like Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller, and Marshawn Lynch. Previous to Cal he was the offensive coordinator at Oregon. Previous to Oregon he was at Fresno State and coached Trent Dilfer and David Carr. He was the PAC-10 coach of the year in 2002 and 2004. In his playing days Tedford was a quarterback for Cerritios Community College then transferred to Fresno State.
Pros: Proven winner in a BCS conference. Has coached incredible talent who are now stars in the NFL. Would be a huge boost for Brett Smith and Jason Thompson. Can recruit talent from central and southern California. Would give Wyoming a “star power” name that might energize fan base.
Cons: Would he want to come to Wyoming? Can Wyoming afford to pay him? Would he bring top flight assistants?
These candidates are fine choices for the next head coach at Wyoming. Brad wanted to add Bob Stitt to this list but Chad said no. Stitt is the head coach at Colorado School of Mines and his offensive mind is incredible. Plus we could have #StittHappens and #ShyattHappens, wouldn’t that be terrific? Let us know what you guys think of these candidates. Mr Burman, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome. Free of charge. All we want is free nachos and sideline passes when you choose one of our candidates.