Not much guidance for possible Guidry successor
I know as much about the search for McNeese’s new head football coach as you, the person reading this, does.
The McNeese athletic department has not been transparent with the reasons for letting go of former head coach Lance Guidry, nor have they said much about the process of hiring a new head coach. Answering a few questions could go a long way, but I wrote about that last week.
What I’m here to do now is lay out some possible candidates to be the next McNeese head coach. Again, I don’t know much about the search. At this point, I’m looking at a few coaches that have connections to the program (McNeese loves coaches that have a connection to the program). I’ll also look at candidates that, even though they don’t have a direct connection to the program, could be a good fit.
(Wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator at UL-Lafayette)
Leger’s name is mentioned a lot. He was up for the position when Matt Viator took the UL-Monroe position in 2015. When Guidry got the McNeese job, Leger went to Monroe with Viator. Leger is in the same mold as Guidry — played, graduated and served as an assistant coach at McNeese — but on the offensive side of the ball.
He served as offensive coordinator in 2015 when the Cowboys averaged just under 400 yards and 30.2 points per game. But he did not call plays, that was Viator’s responsibility.
If McNeese wants to at least give the illusion of a fresh offensive start, with a McNeese guy, then Leger could be the guy. Also, he may not come as expensive as other candidates.
(Linebackers coach at UL-Monroe)
While not a McNeese alum, Stoker has plenty of Southland Conference experience. He played and graduated from Northwestern State. While at McNeese, he worked as both the offensive and defensive coordinator, at separate times.
From 2002-08, Stoker served as the head coach at NSU and took the Demons to the playoffs twice and earned them a share of the SLC title in 2004. That’s the last time the Demons finished at the top of the conference.
After NSU, Stoker went to Sam Houston State and served as defensive coordinator when the Bearkats were one of the elite teams in the FCS. In 2014, he was named the FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com. He then went to UTEP for a few seasons before going to Monroe.
Stoker may be ready to show that he can do it again as a head coach. He’s very familiar with the conference, and has the McNeese connection. He also may come on the cheap. But he also may not want to leave UL-Monroe so quickly.
(Head coach at Grambling State)
From a head coaching standpoint, Fobbs is arguably the most qualified of the candidates on this list. He’s had a lot of success the last few seasons at Grambling. Fobbs was named the 2016 SWAC Coach of the Year and went to the Celebration Bowl in 2016 and 2017.
Along with head coaching experience and success at the FCS level, Fobbs also has the McNeese connection as an assistant from 2007-11 and 2013.
He seems like an ideal candidate, with one big hurdle for McNeese: Fobbs made $319,000 this season with his base salary and a yearly kick from the GSU Federation. Guidry’s salary for the 2018 season was $180,000. So McNeese will have to break out a nice chunk of change if they want to get Fobbs to head south to Lake Charles. But if they can, he seems like he’d be worth it.
(Head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce)
Carthel has no known McNeese connection; maybe he passed by Lake Charles and went to Steamboat Bill’s once. But his resumé is strong. His team won the 2017 Division II national championship. He has a 59-18 record in six seasons as the TAMU-Commerce head coach.
He doesn’t have Division I experience, or any experience in Louisiana. But he’s won. And he may be interested in moving up as a head coach. Stephen F. Austin is also looking for a head coach, so they may also look at Carthel. His current salary is $122,000, so McNeese could offer around what they paid Guidry and it would be a big step up for him.
(Tight ends coach at Tulane)
The McNeese connection as a player and assistant coach is there. He’s worked as the Cowboys’ special teams coordinator. A question for Nagle would be on his experience, and recruiting. Also, can he be the face of McNeese? He has to be charismatic, willing to talk to lots of boosters and fundraise.
(Defensive coordinator at UL-Lafayette)
Another coach with no McNeese connection, but strong SLC ties. He coached at Southeastern Louisiana from 2013-17 where he won two SLC championships. While he may not want to leave ULL so quickly, a chance to be the head man again, in a conference he knows, could be tempting.
The biggest question — one that will probably determine who McNeese hires — is how much are they willing to spend? They’re known as being on the more frugal side, shall we say. They’ll need to open the pocketbook up for this one, is my prediction.