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Peak Perspective: Looking at MWC Coaching Vacancies

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What each team is losing, what each team wants to gain, and a few names to add to the rumor mill.

NCAA Football: UNLV at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Every coaching change is made for a reason. Barring a scandal, usually, that change is a lack of winning at the level the school/athletic department/boosters want the team to be. However, each coach was hired due to positive qualities and those are lost when the decision to fire them is made.

The Mountain West had made a few such moves and this post will look at what each school is losing in the coach they fired (or “mutually agreed to part ways in one school’s case), what each school may want their next coach to improve upon and a list of a few names to keep in mind as the coaching searches take place. Keep in mind the names listed will be more names that make sense rather than names of coaches being targeted unless otherwise stated.

Colorado State

What they are losing:

A great recruiter. Mike Bobo was a top tier recruiter in the Mountain West, with the Rams often only trailing Boise State in our team recruiting rankings, as well as major recruiting outlets. He is also heralded as a sharp offensive mind who oversaw solid offenses and the development of numerous NFL wide receivers. However, the initial knock on him was he couldn’t get over the 7-win hump, and then he couldn’t even come close to that mark. Basically, Bobo wasn’t able to develop the talent on the field and into wins.

What they hope to gain:

The obligatory “more wins” to start. There’s no reason Colorado State shouldn’t be one of the top four or five teams in the MWC considering their resources, the talent they’ve recruited, and their recent history shows they are capable. Someone who is strong in developing talent figures to be top of the list of qualifications, or should be. They should be able to continue this recruiting success as well. Good recruiters, who develop talent and win grow on trees, right?

Names to consider:

  • Jay Hill (Weber State HC)
  • Tony Alford (Associate HC/RB coach at Ohio State, said to be a top candidate per FootballScoop)

New Mexico

What they are losing:

Mike:

Davie gave the Lobos a gimmick with the triple option to help them steal a few wins each season, especially his 16 wins in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Those were the high points. The low points were pretty low, with off the field incidents by players, Davie facing his own suspension due to player mistreatment allegations. Plus, he showed little to no interest in recruiting, settling for JUCO players in the majority of his classes, and not even getting top talent from that level due to rarely putting time into recruiting until November.

Adam:

Positives on losing Davie: Chance to get a coach that can relate to the community. Had that with Rocky Long and lost it when he left. Chance to get attendance back up. Only 11,000 fans attended the finale (or so they say, looked more like 1500).Negatives on losing Davie: Losing someone that was willing to change. Too often, coaches just want to keep doing the same thing over and over. Davie saw something wasn’t working and tried to change it. Whether that was offensive style (triple option to the spread), or changing coordinators to find something different. That might not have always worked out, but he wasn’t complacent, he was going to go out fighting.

What they hope to gain:

Mike:

The obligatory “more wins” to start. New Mexico isn’t an easy gig, but following the SJSU model with Brennan may be a good option. Find a young, energetic, positive coach who recruits well in relation to the product on the field. If it works out, have a team that can get to 4-5 wins pretty consistently. If it doesn’t, at least there is some talent there for the next coach in a few years.

Adam:

They hope to get a culture change. I see history repeating itself in regards to UNM right before Dennis Franchione was hired. The Lobos were losing, and no one went to the games, players were undisciplined. It was the dark ages for UNM football. This is a repeat of that situation. Athletic director Eddie Nunez needs a Franchione/Long style of coach to revive the culture of the 90s and early 2000s.

Names to consider:

  • Jay Hill (Weber State HC)
  • Danny Gonzalez (ASU DC, former Lobo player) (says he won’t pick up the phone and call other teams)
  • Frank Wilson (recently fired by UTSA)
  • Zach Arnett (SDSU DC, former Lobo player)

UNLV

What they are losing:

Mike:

Tony Sanchez brought some sense of stability and consistency. Some may be shocked to hear that, but it was probably the best tenure since John Robinson in the early 2000s. Sanchez’s contributions were impressive off the field, with his skills as a fundraiser and his roots in Nevada (especially Las Vegas). His recruiting had also seen a slight improvement in the past year and a half. Also, he won the Freemont Cannon the past two seasons.

Alex:

One thing Tony Sanchez did was get the community excited for UNLV football. He made the program “Vegas” and helped get the community together and spark interest in the program, so they will lose that Vegas connection.

What they hope to gain:

Mike:

The obligatory “more wins” to start. UNLV should be a fairly intriguing job for coordinators looking to become a first-time head coach. A realistic goal would be for the Rebels to consistently be in the middle of the conference and be a consistent threat to make a bowl (5-7 win range each year). With the new stadium, new facilities, and more resources expected to come, UNLV would like nothing more than to have a coach that brings excitement into the city to pair with its incoming pro-sports teams. The new coach would also be able to recruit in-state talent to UNLV and continue the consistency started by Sanchez.

Alex:

UNLV needs someone who can recruit a high quality type of player. Las Vegas is one of the best markets in the conference, and they should not be out-recruited by Wyoming or Air Force (no disrespect to them). Also, they need someone who knows how to win. Sanchez came from high school, and while he won, it’s still high school. So someone with a resume and track record of winning is key.

Names to consider:

  • Jay Hill (Weber State HC) (he should be on everyone’s list)
  • Tim DeRuyter (said to be heavily interested)
  • Frank Wilson (recently fired from UTSA)
  • Jim Mora Jr. (following many UNLV players on Twitter FWIW)
  • Marcus Arroyo (Oregon OC)
  • Danny Gonzalez (ASU DC) (says he won’t pick up the phone and call other teams)
  • Graham Harrell (USC OC, interviewed according to this report)