December 16, 2005

The Next Great College Football Head Coach

I want to categorize this story as one of life’s gimme-gotchas…you know, every good thing has its bad thing to keep the universe in parallel, to maintain that Newtonian balance…

Boise State’s Dan Hawkins discusses the Colorado head coaching job today, perhaps ending one of the finest non-major conference coaching regimes in recent memory. I find it difficult to envision the Blue Turf without Hawkins on the sideline.

Long rumored to be on many big college program’s short lists of coaching candidates, Hawkins has turned in some amazing results over the last five years in Boise;

  • Four consecutive WAC championships
  • 26 straight WAC wins until the Fresno loss this year.
  • #1 in the nation 2003-2005 in margin of victory, according to
  • Top ten national ranking in 2004, peaking at #7 in the BCS rankings.

Hawkins had often said that he had every thing he wanted in Boise, including Associate Athletic Director titles and complete autonomy. But as with many coaches, the allure of proving their talents at a higher level of competition presents itself as a great temptress, and the ability to take over a talented Buffaloes roster in a weak Big 12 North division makes this look like the perfect venue for Hawkins to display his talents for the nation to appreciate.

Let’s remember that not all coaches with success at smaller schools have translated well to the big time. Dennis Franchione (TCU to Alabama and Texas A&M), Gerry DiNardo (Vandy to LSU), John L. Smith (Louisville to Michigan State) come to mind as leaders who may have been better off staying in place.

But success stories like Jim Tressel (Youngstown St. to Ohio State), Joe Tiller (Wyoming to Purdue) and to a lesser degree Dirk Koetter (Boise to Arizona State) provide a more likely set to compare Hawkins expected results. (Grades are incomplete on Urban Meyer - I know you were looking for his name.)

The gimme is a great hire for Colorado if the deal is done. The gotcha is that the Boise program must restart again. Stay Tuned.

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