Frank Wilson is out after four seasons, and one of the most pivotal moments in UTSA’s short football history has arrived. The new Roadrunners head coach will have an opportunity to shape the program for years to come, and it’s a major moment for AD Lisa Campos, who was hired in 2017 after five years as the AD at Northern Arizona.
Let’s start with the obvious. UTSA is the only FBS football program in a major metropolitan area with no local pro competition, inside the football-mad and recruit-rich state of Texas. Sounds like one of the absolute best set-ups for a coach in all of Group of 5, right?
Yes and no.
For starters, San Antonio isn’t Houston, and it’s not Dallas. The city loves football, but the Roadrunners have to take a number behind the Dallas Cowboys, the Longhorns and the Aggies. (Having lived in both cities, I can honestly say San Antonio might love the Cowboys more than Dallas does.)
More importantly, San Antonio does not produce near the volume of recruits as its northern and eastern neighbors.
Of the 266 3-star recruits inside the state of Texas in the 2020 class, only 11 hail from greater San Antonio. (One of those 11 happens to be Frank Wilson IV. Safe to say that ship has sailed.) UTSA probably isn’t going into Houston and beating U of H for a recruit the Cougars want, and it’s probably not beating SMU or North Texas for a Metroplex recruit.
Having said that, there are two hundred and sixty-six 3-star recruits inside state borders in the class of 2020 alone. Even if they may not bump into six recruits in line to get their morning coffee like the Houston and Dallas schools do, there is more than enough talent within a day’s drive of San Antonio that can build a championship program at UTSA. You just have to know where to look.
Fortunately for Campos and company, this is a good time to be on the market for a school in UTSA’s profile. Former Texas high school coach Chad Morris is looking for a job. So is former Texas high school coach Todd Graham. Former Texas high school coach and former Conference USA champion head coach Larry Fedora spent his 2019 up the road in Austin. Baylor associate head coach Joey McGuire is a former Texas high school coach (are you sensing a trend here?) and the staff in Waco r-a-v-e-s about him in a way unlike I’ve heard coaches talk about one of their colleagues.
As a program still in its infancy, the new coach will have the leeway to make UTSA football his own. The culture and tradition of Roadrunner football will be putty in his hands, waiting to be formed.
On the flip side, though, there are the drawbacks of a young program playing in a major city. The Roadrunners play in the Alamodome, which is far off campus, inside (obviously) and cavernous. When the Dome is full or close to it, the sound has nowhere to go. But when the Dome’s empty, it can be, honestly, a kinda gloomy place to play a football game.
The job of Campos and the search firm assisting here is to nail the upcoming hire so the Alamodome is never empty again.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.