It’s about time to start one of the least favorite but most interesting times of the year: The coaching carousel. As a Group of 5 conference, the Mountain West head and assistant coaches get offers and leave each season for more prestigious and higher-paying new jobs. It’s just how it is in the college football landscape.
Due to this, coaches returning are based on the likelihood of them being fired as well as the likelihood of them being lured away by more prestigious positions at other schools. In the past, we did percentages.
Once again, we will use a few different categories for how to separate each of the coaches. It’s not a perfect science, and if readers disagree on some of them, that’s probably okay. Some are inaccurate each year.
Also, here’s what we said last year. Feel free to judge how on or off we were with the guesses.
Which one does your team fit into? Read below.
A Sure Thing
There’s no such thing as a sure thing. However, these coaches seem pretty entrenched at their current schools.
Year two of the Coach Norvell era in Fort Collins has gone much better than the first. While it is still an uphill battle, there are signs of progress and flashes of the vaunted offense he promised to bring when instituting Fort Air Raid. Improving play combined with great recruiting, and Coach Norvell’s return is all but guaranteed.
Coach Wilson was the hire with the deepest Nevada ties, with nearly twenty years of coaching experience within the program. It’s been a grueling journey at times as he attempts to rebuild the program, but his players haven’t quit and they have show improvement over the past month. Despite the struggles, Coach Wilson appears to have the Wolf Pack on an upward trajectory and is on track to return next season.
Coach Odom has done an outstanding job this season, taken UNLV from a perennial below average team and transforming them into one of the best in the conference. He is coming back if the Rebels have anything to say about it. The only way he doesn’t stay in Vegas is if he takes one of the offers he will likely get this offseason. Otherwise, expect him back at the helm next year.
A Safe Bet
Expect each one of these coaches to return to their teams next year. But each one of them has a reason to cause a bit of doubt.
Coach Calhoun has been at Air Force since 2007, which is an eternity in college football years, and he doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Every year his name is mentioned as a potential candidate for a coaching opening, but he hasn’t been closely tied to any new positions. Never say never, but he seems like a Falcon for the long haul. The only reason he moves down a category this year is because he’s in the middle of his best season even and it would be expected that the list of suitors increases.
Coach Chang is from Hawaii. He is the hometown hero from his playing days, and now he has returned home to rebuild the Rainbow Warrior culture. He is accomplishing the re-establishment of the culture, but it hasn’t led to many wins thus far. Small improvements and moral victories are acceptable for now, but next year he will need to start leading his team higher in the standings. That being said, there will be a next year for Coach Chang on the islands.
Coach Brennan is in a bit of an interesting position. The team was expected to compete more than they have this season, so it’s labeled as an overall disappointment. However, he has built a program that is no longer a doormat, but is not able to consistently take the next step. If not very likely he actually leaves, and Coach Brennen has stated he’s not looking to leave, but stranger things have happened.
One conference championship seasons and two seasons of bowl eligible (or close if things don’t work out this year). The strategy of going all out in junior college and portal players will lead to inconsistency, which is exactly what the Aggies were this season. However, it’s easy to see what the product is supposed to look like when things are going right. He hasn’t worn out his welcome yet, although settling in as a consistent 8-9 win team would prolong his stay. Likewise, Coach Anderson doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere, but times did get tougher, and he hasn’t been afraid to leave for a fresh start before.
Another season, another year of Coach Bohl not being seriously involved in any coaching rumors. It seems like he has no intent on leaving for another job and other schools are not intent on seriously considering him for an open position. It seems extremely likely Coach Bohl will be at Wyoming until he no longer wishes to coach. But retirement could be looming for him. ill he step down after one of his better seasons leading the time
Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
Coach Tedford came out of retirement to coach his beloved Bulldogs for a few more seasons. He’s one of the best head coaches in the conferences and gets the most out of his players. He coached his team to a conference championship last year and is in the hunt for another MW title this season. However, health was an issue a few years ago, and it’s difficult to predict when it could take another turn. Also, even if Coach Tedford remains healthy, it’s likely this last ride only lasts a few short seasons, so he isn’t seen as a long-term fixture. He will go out on his own terms, but it’s unknown when that will be.
When Coach Gonzales took over, he inherited a program in complete disarray. Fresh off a coach who was investigated for player mistreatment, plus disappointing seasons, the new regime has been a breath of fresh air. And while Coach Gonzales seems like the right person for the job in many ways, the results on the field haven’t been one of them. It’s an interesting situation; this may be the ceiling for this regime, but would another coaching staff do better? Hopefully they can avoid another mass exodus in the transfer portal come December.
Start Worrying Officially Eliminated
Note: Both Avalos and Hoke were in the Start Worrying column when this article was originally completed on Friday. Since then, they have both been officially eliminated. Below is what was originally written about them with an extra note after the most recent news.
At the time of his hire nearly three years ago, Coach Avalos seemed like the obvious and exciting hire. Fast forward to now and his time leading the Broncos appears to be at a crossroads. The program is heading in the wrong direction and there are many more questions than answers. Boise State is nowhere near their standard. Will they make a head coaching change?
As it turns out, a blowout win against New Mexico was not enough to save his job. It seemed the mounting losses and whatever occurred the past week with players on the team reportedly threatening to transfer was enough to cause the AD to pull the plug and fire him, not even allowing a resignation or mutually agreeing to part ways in order to save face.
Under Coach Hoke, recruiting is way up, but otherwise, there isn’t much success to point to this season. The easy thought would be that Rocky Long’s impact is now gone and the program is now a shadow of itself. And without the buzz and promise of a move to the PAC-12, there are not many positives to point to at this time. It may be time for the Aztecs to make a change at head coach.
On Monday, it was announced by the school that Coach Hoke would be retiring at the end of the season. Within minutes after the press release, it was also being reported that the decision to retire was not his and the school informed him he wouldn’t be coming back. It is not surprising given how poorly the team has played.
Your turn: What did we get right, and what did we get wrong? Which teams would you place into each section? Leave a comment in the discussion below.