DeWayne Walker abruptly bolts New Mexico St. for NFL

Leave a comment

And here we thought the latest spinning of the coaching carousel had come to an end.

Less two weeks ahead of National Signing Day, New Mexico State has lost its head coach as DeWayne Walker has left the Aggies for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The school confirmed in a release that Walker resigned to take a defensive backs post with the NFL club.

A five p.m. ET press conference has been scheduled by NMSU to discuss the abrupt development.

“I really appreciate the opportunity that Dr. Boston and New Mexico State gave me to be a division I head football coach,” Walker said in a statement released through the school. “Unfortunately, I did not get the program as far as I would have liked from a wins and losses standpoint. But, we do have a better locker room, better kids and a better foundation for the program moving forward.

“There are a lot of people that I want to thank for their support and will be reaching out to those individuals in the coming days. They have helped me in moving the program forward.  I am excited about starting a new chapter in my coaching career, as is my family. I wish New Mexico State great success in the future and wish everyone the best.  Go Aggies!”

Walker recently completed his fourth season with the Aggies, leaving the football program with a 10-40 career mark.  Included in that total was a 1-11 record in 2012.

As for a potential reason behind the abrupt departure, the Las Cruces Sun wrote earlier this week that “Walker spoke frequently… of a program that wasn’t well-enough supported to put wins in the record books, making it unfair to judge his coaching acumen entirely on his win-loss standing.”

It’s expected that Doug Martin, who was hired late last week to serve as Walker’s offensive coordinator, will at least be named interim head coach at the press conference later on this afternoon.

Walker’s departure means 31 FBS football programs — including Georgia State, which is moving up from the FCS level this season — will have a different head coach on the sidelines in 2013 than they did in 2012.

UPDATED 5:41 p.m. ET: New Mexico State confirmed that Doug Martin has been named interim head coach.  Martin spent seven years (2004-10) in the same position at Kent State.

There’s been no word yet on whether a “national” search will be launched, or if Martin will eventually have the interim title dropped.

Nick Saban thinks skipping bowl games could lead to recruits doing same thing in high school

Getty Images
2 Comments

Grand Poobah of college football and Alabama head coach Nick Saban has had some interesting ideas about the sport over the years that conflict with the general consensus of his peers. The latest subject to fit that mold? How players like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipping their bowl games could filter down to the high school level with recruits.

“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.'”

The Crimson Tide coach is referencing not only the two tailbacks skipping bowl games but also the possibility that upcoming December signing date could be moved up on the calendar. Big 12 commissioner (and chairman of the Football Oversight Committee) Bob Bowlsby said at his conference media days that the date for signing could be changed or even extended to a longer signing period as part of ongoing discussions about the recruiting process.

Talk of players signing with a college prior to their senior season in high school has not been broadly talked about by coaches or administrators but it does seem like everything is on the table when it comes to NCAA reforms in this area. It remains to be seen if any recruit will actually go as far as sitting out a full year in order to protect himself from injury in order to play in college… just as it remains questionable as to whether Fournette and McCaffrey’s decisions will develop into a broader trend at the college level.

Coaches are no fans of dramatically altering the status quo and it seems Saban is among the group who want to stem the postseason defection of players before things turn into a regular occurrence at any level of football.

Coastal Carolina coach Joe Mogila has precautionary surgery on trachea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Coastal Carolina is one of the newest members of the FBS ranks and the program’s first ever Sun Belt conference media day was supposed to be one of the highlights for the school transitioning the ranks in college football. Unfortunately for the Chanticleers, their head coach won’t be able to make it following a health scare.

The Sun Belt released a statement Friday afternoon saying that Coastal Carolina assistant Jamey Chadwell will represent the team at media day after head coach Joe Mogila “had a precancerous nodule on his trachea and doctors wanted it removed as a precaution.”

The 68-year-old Mogila is perhaps best known to those outside the sport for his time on Wall Street, including a productive stint as CEO of the company now known as TD Ameritrade. He got the itch to coach college football however and has been in charge of the Chanticleers since 2012, leading the program to a 51–15 record at the FCS level.

Chadwell was named CCU’s offensive coordinator this past January after previously serving as head coach at Charleston Southern. Neither the school or the conference indicated any timetable for Mogila’s recovery but based on the release it seems the operation was a success and the coach is now recovering.

Coastal Carolina opens the season on September 2nd against UMass in what will be the school’s first game as a FBS program.

So it begins… Ole Miss recruit decommits after Hugh Freeze departure

Getty Images
6 Comments

It didn’t take long before Ole Miss to suffer on the recruiting trail from the abrupt departure of Hugh Freeze as head coach on Thursday evening.

In what was probably only a matter of time (just a few hours as it turns out), Rebels 2019 Houston (Tex.) cornerback recruit Bobby Wolfe confirmed to ESPN that he had decommitted from the program on Thursday night following Freeze’s resignation. Several other recruiting services also confirmed the news and noted that many of Ole Miss’ 2018 commitments are starting to have second thoughts about the situation in Oxford.

That the team is struggling to pull in recruits like they were in Freeze’s heyday when the Rebels were a regular in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings is not exactly surprising. Even before the head coach was shown the door, the school was dealing with the fallout from an ongoing NCAA infractions case and are facing the possibility that their bowl ban will extend beyond the self-imposed sit-out of the 2017 season.

With Wolfe no longer committed, Ole Miss doesn’t have a single 2019 pledge according to 247Sports and has just 10 players in the 2018 class — all of whom are three-stars or lower — that currently sits 11th in the conference team rankings. As for the Texas cornerback, he recently picked up an offer from SEC rival LSU and had Baylor extend a verbal scholarship offer not long after re-opening his recruitment.

Former 49ers executive reportedly joining Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor

Getty Images
1 Comment

Jim Harbaugh is reaching back to his NFL days for the latest hire at Michigan.

Veteran Bay Area journalist Tim Kawakami reports that recent San Francisco 49ers personnel executive Tom Gamble is headed to Ann Arbor to join the Wolverines staff.

According to the fine folks over at sister site ProFootballTalk, Gamble left the 49ers in February shortly after John Lynch was hired by the franchise as general manager. He worked with Harbaugh when their tenures with San Francisco overlapped in 2011 and 2012 before Gamble eventually departed for a two-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s unclear what role specifically Gamble will take with the Wolverines as Harbaugh already hired a new director of player personnel this year by bringing Sean Magee over from Navy. The former 49ers executive doesn’t have much college experience in the past few decades beyond scouting so it will be interesting to see what his official title at Michigan will be once formally announced by the school.

Either way, it seems like Harbaugh is fully investing in off-the-field roles like his peers at Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State and he is not shying away from reaching into the NFL ranks to do so.