We are less than a week into the search for Georgia Southern’s next head coach and the rumors are already starting to fly around the interwebs. Southern fans know the drill by now. Assuming Chad Lunsford doesn’t turn out to be the next Dabo Swinney (let’s table that discussion for now); the next head coach will be the sixth (including interims) the Eagles have had since 2013.
Have a tab open for footballscoop.com. Another tab for flight-aware.com’s Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport page. Have a tab open for Twitter and another for gsufans.com. Cycle through. Rinse and repeat.
I am just going to lay the information out for you. Put weight on what you want. It is very hard to tell the difference between speculation and true rumors.
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN fired the first shot by naming Navy run game coordinator Ashley Ingram, Kennesaw State head coach Brian Bohannon, Arkansas State offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, Indianapolis Colts RBs coach Jemal Singleton, and Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer as early candidates. Based off of what? I don’t know, but it’s a starting point.
Let’s not bury the lead here. The only name that really gets me excited on that list is Brian Bohannon. So that’s where we will start off.
Brian Bohannon – Kennesaw State head coach
It’s pretty obvious why this guy is the favorite among the fanbase. He’s 18-9 since launching the Kennesaw State football program. He was an assistant under Paul Johnson at Georgia Southern in the late 1990s. He’s a flexbone guy, his offensive coordinator Grant Chestnut, graduated from Georgia Southern. It makes a lot of sense on paper.
I have seen some detractors that underestimate the undertaking that is involved in starting a program from scratch. There’s a reason Erk Russell is so revered. Which is part of the problem, is Bohannon willing to abandon his baby so soon? Are the rumors of a rift between Tom Kleinlein and Brian Bohannon true?
I don’t know, but he’s been followed by the Georgia Southern Eagle Football Alumni Association and by the EagleSportsInsider accounts recently. There’s also been some buzz about him on Twitter from local media and other notables.
Ashley Ingram – Navy running game coordinator
Aside from the Adam Rittenberg tweet, Bruce Feldman also name-dropped Ashley Ingram on Twitter. Once again, there’s a reason Ivin Jasper is not a real candidate for the Georgia Southern job. The Navy head job could be his.
Meanwhile Ingram is Jasper’s right hand man. Is he more qualified than the current offensive coordinator Bryan Cook? Not really. Personally, I would rather keep Lunsford than go this route.
Buster Faulkner – Arkansas State offensive coordinator
Nothing concrete but I thought some recent activity of his on Twitter was notable. He’s followed Cole Swindell, a significant Eagle Fun contributor (who shall remain nameless for now), and several Georgia-based accounts that can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
Glenn Spencer – Oklahoma State defensive coordinator/linebackers coach
Spencer has plenty of connections to the state and the region, though. He grew up in Douglasville, Ga., and played defensive tackle at Georgia Tech from 1982-1985. He went 28-7 as the head coach at West Georgia.
Experienced Georgia guy, comes from a big program in Oklahoma State, was successful at UWG. Kind of random but not the worst idea.
KC Keeler – Sam Houston State head coach
Keeler is a known commodity to Eagle fans. He was the coach for years at FCS powerhouse Delaware and won a title there. The Eagles faced KC Keeler in the 2010 FCS playoff semifinals and lets say Keeler did not make the best impression on Eagle nation.
That said, he’s a good, experienced head coach at two different programs now. He wins and you could do a lot worse than Keeler. I’m just not sure he’s the right culture fit in Statesboro.
Current Position: Head Coach – Sam Houston State
Could Georgia Southern hire another coach from Sam Houston State? It worked three years ago.
The Eagles hit the jackpot on Willie Fritz when the longtime lower-division coach led their transition to the FBS in 2014 and 2015 before leaving for Tulane. Keeler, a Northeasterner, surprisingly took the Bearkats’ job and has thrived. The 58-year-old went 36-10 in his first three seasons, which included two FCS semifinal berths, and is 6-1 this year.
Hiring the then-35-year-old Summers did not work. Might they wish for a seasoned veteran with a similar background to Fritz’s?
Tony Gibson – West Virginia defensive coordinator
Eagle Sports Insider, the Georgia Southern 247 Sports twitter account, has followed Tony Gibson and West Virginia RB coach Tony Dews (his OC?) in the past week. I only bring it up because Gibson was a candidate last time around.
That’s all I have for now. Joe Moglia signed a contract extension at Coastal Carolina, so Jamey Chadwell could be another guy to consider. Expect a similar roundup next week until a new coach is hired.