Tennessee has officially lost its offensive coordinator. And Central Michigan is still officially searching for a new head coach.
After a few hours of uncertainty and conflicting reports Thursday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that Mike Bajakian has been named as the NFL club’s quarterbacks coach. Earlier in the day it was reported that Bajakian had agreed to leave for the NFL job, although a development at one of his former coaching stops gave the assistant a bit of pause.
Dan Enos yesterday abruptly left his post as CMU’s head coach to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. Bajakian, who had a pair of stints with the Chips (2002-03, 2007-09) previously, was mentioned as a potential, and perhaps even likely, successor to Enos.
Instead, CMU remains the lone FBS program without a head coach a couple of weeks away from National Signing Day. Athletic director Dave Heeke stated that he would employ a search firm to aid in the search and would like a replacement in place by signing day Feb. 4; that seems highly unlikely, although not impossible. Nate Schneider of the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun makes an excellent point regarding the potential for an expedited timeline.
Can Heeke find a new head coach in the next two weeks, absolutely. But finding the right fit could take longer and should take as long as need be. Heeke also said getting the right fit might take some time and that’s exactly the right strategy going forward.
As for the Vols, they will be losing a coordinator who’s spent the past two seasons at UT. It also means head coach Butch Jones has lost a long-time and trusted aid; Bajakian had spent the past eight seasons, in stops at CMU (2007-09), Cincinnati (2010-12) and UT (2013-14), on Jones’ coaching staff. The two were also on the same staff at CMU in 2002-03.
“We’d like to thank Coach Bajakian for his two years at Tennessee and his efforts in helping us rebuild this storied program,” Jones said in a statement. “We wish him much success with his goal of coaching in the NFL.”
Jones could look in the building for a successor, with wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Zach Azzanni most often mentioned in that vein. There would also likely be no shortage of outside candidates if that’s the route Jones wants to take.