Nevada is the only major college football job open at the moment — Oregon could be added to that list soon, but a plan involving offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich is reportedly in place in the event that Chip Kelly leaves for the NFL — and while the Wolf Pack have already interviewed a handful of candidates to replace longtime coach Chris Ault, another supposed candidate has withdrawn his name from consideration.
Washington State running backs coach Jim Mastro told Footballscoop.com on Saturday that he was not interested in becoming Ault’s successor. CBSSports‘ Bruce Feldman also tweeted the news, adding later that Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian is expected to take over the Wofl Pack.
Here’s what Mastro told Footballscoop.com:
“I’m very grateful to the University of Nevada for their interest in me becoming their next head coach. However, I made a commitment to my good friend Mike Leach and I intend to honor that commitment. I love working for Washington State University. I have provided my input to members of the committee and trust they will make a wise selection.”
Mastro spent 11 seasons at Nevada (2000-10) as an assistant and was instrumental in helping Ault develop the Pistol offense. When Ault retired late last month, Mastro’s name was one of the first to pop up as a potential replacement.
Nevada announced that they would like to identify a finalist for the job and present him to the Board of Regents for approval at a Jan. 11 meeting.
(Photo credit: WSU athletics)
It was a wild day on the coaching carousel the past 72 hours with coaching changes at North Texas, Maryland, USC and South Carolina. In all we have seen five coaching changes this fall, including Illinois before the first kickoff of the season. There will be many more to come as the year progresses, and two more coaching changes could be likely at Texas State and UTSA.
According to a report from Gridiron Now, both Texas State and UTSA could be thinking about their respective long-term futures. That would make sense given the ages of their current head coaches. Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione is 64 years of age and UTSA head coach Larry Coker is 67. Both coaches carry some solid backgrounds in the coaching game of course, which is why they were solid hires for each school as they each prepared to make the jump into FBS football. Having coaches who had been at that level provided a sense of confidence and organization for each. Their time as head coaches though, was always relatively limited and now that those transitions to the FBS have been completed (UTSA in Conference USA and Texas State in the Sun Belt now), it is not a bad idea to start thinking about the next coaches that can continue to grow within the program for the next stages of the programs.
Coker took on the job at UTSA in 2009 when the school started up its football program from scratch. It did not play a game until 2011 as a FCS independent, and the jump into the FBS took place in 2012, perhaps earlier than scheduled due to the seismic shifts in conference realignment leading the WAC to add members as quickly as it could. That also allowed Texas State to make the jump at the same time. As the WAC fell apart, UTSA found solace in Conference USA and Texas State landed in the Sun Belt Conference. Franchione was hired by Texas State in 2011 to a five-year contract. He had previously coached at Texas State, as well as stints at New Mexico, TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M. Texas State is coming off back-to-back seasons of .500 or better since moving into the FBS.
When the time does come for these programs to make new coaching hires, the direction of the ideal candidate will likely be younger. Both should be able to attract some good young assistant coaches looking to begin their head-coaching careers. Neither program will one day rival the Longhorns or Aggies, but success on the level of a program like Houston may not be too unrealistic over time.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.