ANALYSIS: McNeese search begins, list of possible candidates

For the fourth time in six seasons McNeese State is searching for a head football coach.

After the abrupt resignation of Frank Wilson on Tuesday, Athletic Director Heath Schroyer is forced to try and stabilize a program that has been in flux since Matt Viator left after the 2015 season.

“This is a big hire for this university, for our community and this department and we need to get this right,” Schroyer said. “Sooner than later is my goal, but I’m not going to rush and not do my due diligence.”

Schroyer said he believes that despite the recent troubles, which include an one-year NCAA-imposed playoff ban for academic troubles that was served in the spring, McNeese is a top spot for coaches.

“I think right now, we have the highest ceiling that we’ve ever had in Cowboy football,” Schroyer said. “This is a very coveted job. Everyone in the country understands how good we could be and how good we should be. I’m not afraid to express the expectations we have for this program on and off the field.”

While it can be debated how good of a job McNeese is, there will always be candidates. Here is a short list for the Cowboys and their fans to consider:

Kerry Joseph

Age: 48 Assistant WRs coach, Seattle Seahawks Pro: He would excite the fan base. Con: No head coaching experience. Former McNeese quarterback and all-time leader in several offensive categories, including total yards, would open up the offense. Joseph was the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for McNeese from 2016-2018, serving the last year as the quarterbacks coach. He was also named the interim head coach after the 2018 season before Sterlin Gilbert was hired.

Broderick Fobbs

Former head coach, Grambling St. Age: 47 Pro: Been a head coach in tough economic situation. Con: Recent firing is harder to sell to fans. Fobbs is a former McNceese assistant who posted a 54-32 record in eights seasons at Grambling, winning the SWAC’s West Division title three times. He was never able to turn things around after the coronavirus pandemic as his team went 3-11 over the last two seasons before he was let go. While at McNeese Fobbs served as the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach between 2007-2011. He returned to the program as tight ends coach in 2013 before leaving for Grambling.

Tim Leger

Interim offensive coordinator, Louisiana-Lafayette Age: 47 Pro: Could stay with Cajuns or have higher aspirations. Con: Never been a head coach. Former McNeese QB and offensive coordinator finished second in the running for the job in 2016. His players had solid numbers and was a member of the Cowboys coaching staff that last went to the playoffs. He left for Louisiana-Monroe with Matt Viator after the 2015 season when the Cowboys lost at home to Sam Houston State in their last playoff game.

Pete Shinnick

Head coach, West Florida Age: 56 Pro: Won a Division II national title in school’s fourth year of football. Con: Never coached on Division I level. In his second year at West Florida took the program to the national title game. Started the school’s football program from scratch winning the title in 2019. Beat McNeese 42-36 to open the 2021 fall season. He has a 53-22 record at UWF and a 147-65 mark over 19 years as a head coach at three schools.

Matt Viator

Quality control coach, Louisiana-Lafayette Age: 58 Pro: Ties as winningest head coach in McNeese history. Con: Struggled at ULM on FBS level. Was 78-33 in 10 years at McNeese, winning four Southland Conference titles and earning five playoff appearances. Was 54-18 in SLC games and 97-72 overall when his five seasons at Monroe are included.

Of course, there will be others included in the search, but Schroyer said he promises McNeese will get a the guy it wants. “There’s no question we’re going to get a great head coach in here and get us back to national prominence where we belong,” Schroyer said. He is on the clock.

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