Coaching carousel affects three SLC contenders

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

Two defensive coordinators will be leaving a mark on three different Southland Conference teams this season — without the

benefit of cloning.

Mike Collins is at Sam Houston State, but spent spring practice in that role for McNeese. Lance Guidry now fills that position

for the Cowboys after spending spring practice as a defensive assistant at Stephen F. Austin.

So, who is the winner of this shell game?

Everybody, according the principals involved.

Collins was the first chip to move, jumping to Sam Houston when Scott Stoker went to Texas-El Paso.

“Scott and Mike come from the same

family tree as far as defensive football is concerned,” said Bearkats

coach Willie Fritz.

“And part of is also was the opportunity for Mike to garner his

Louisiana retirement. It’s a huge pay raise leaving the state.

We were fortunate to get him.”

Fritz made sure to check with Collins’ old boss before making the move.

“I called Matt Viator before I spoke to Mike and he had nothing but great things to say about him,” Fritz said. “The other

guy who highly recommended him was Scott Stoker. So it was a natural fit for us.”

Fritz wanted someone who matches his attitude, and thinks he has it in Collins.

“I’m a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of guy,” Fritz said. “I’ve been a JUCO head coach, Division II. Even though Mike has some

experience at LSU, he’s an old-time coach as well. I wanted a guy that fit that profile also.”

Guidry’s previous experience as a player and coach at McNeese made him the most logical replacement when Collins departed.

“The defense is going to be similar,” Viator said. “The players will have to get used to him, so to speak, but the scheme

is similar. And his familiarity with the coaches. It’s not like that’s a learning curve. Everybody’s worked with him.”

Senior safety Terence Cahee is looking forward to it. Guidry was actually the coach who recruited him to McNeese out of Westlake

High before leaving for Miami (Ohio) in 2009.

“His intensity and passion, the things he brings to the table (excite me),” Cahee said. “I think it’ll be fun. I think he’ll

challenge me every day. I think I’ll challenge him at times. I think he’s something that a lot of guys really needed.”

It doesn’t take very long for one to

find examples of Guidry’s fire on YouTube, but Cahee said the exterior

covers up a brilliant

football mind.

“He’s a perfectionist. I knew that from the day I met him,” Cahee said. “He’s a good teacher; he doesn’t get a lot of credit

for that. People just see he’s passionate and intense.”

Even the school left without a chair in this game of musical coordinators thinks it will benefit in the coming season.

SFA coach J.C. Harper said his team will be better thanks to the ideas Guidry brought to the table working with the Lumberjacks

in spring practice. The ‘Jacks were sixth in the league in scoring defense in 2012, allowing 33.5 points per game.

“Lance really added a lot to our

program in just a short period of time that he was there,” Harper said.

“He showed our coaches

how you coach with intensity and passion. He’s a very competitive

guy. I think we’ll continue that even though he’s not there

no more. It really helped our coaches and players grow a little

bit with an attitude on defense.”

So is it possible that this will indeed be the rare occasion in life where everybody wins?

Check back in November.