Dino Babers will be the new head coach at Bowling Green, the school has announced.
Babers just completed his second season as the head coach at Eastern Illinois, where he led the Panthers to a 19-7 record. After debuting with a 7-5 mark and a first-round exit in the FCS playoffs, Babers guided Eastern Illinois to an Ohio Valley championship and a top seed in the FCS playoffs. The 12-2 Panthers were beaten by Towson in the FCS quarterfinals on Friday night.
Few coaches will step into a better situation than Babers, who inherits a Bowling Green team whose last game was a 47-27 thumping of previously undefeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship. The Falcons are 10-3 this season and 18-8 over their last two campaigns.
Babers, whose Eastern Illinois team ranked among FCS's top four in total offense, scoring offense, passing offense, passing efficiency and first downs. The Panthers scored at least 34 points in all 14 games this fall, and 51 or more seven times. This feels like a match made in "55 points on a Tuesday night in November" heaven.
Eastern Illinois was Babers' first head coaching job. He was an original member of Art Briles' staff at Baylor in 2008, coaching wide receivers for all four of his years on the staff and adding special teams coordinator duties in 2009. Before that, Babers spent four seasons as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach/running backs coach at UCLA. The 52-year-old joined the coaching business as a graduate assistant at Hawaii in 1984.
Babers is the 10th FBS head coach to be hired this season, and the third FCS head coach to take an FBS job, joining Craig Bohl, who left North Dakota State for Wyoming and Chris Creighton, who departed Drake for Eastern Michigan. With Babers' move, there have now been 24 coaching changes at the FCS level, compared with only 13 in FBS.
Bowling Green's hiring of Babers means that Arkansas State, Army and Texas are the only vacant FBS head coaching jobs at this time.
As always, we'll have more updates as they become available.