Georgia State is a sleeping giant.
Repeat after me, Georgia State is a sleeping giant.
Sure the program has only existed since 2010... but hear me out. With an enrollment larger than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Auburn and plenty of better known schools and a location smack dab in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia State is a sleeping giant.
Proud new owners of Turner Field, Georgia State is a sleeping giant.
That sleeping giant dismissed head coach Trent Miles on Saturday and, while it's a bit early to say who will be the Panthers' next head coach, allow us to share some insight.
First, in speaking with the AJC this weekend, GSU athletics director Charlie Cobb said he hopes to have the next head coach and staff in place before the Christmas holidays. Cobb added that he expected the budget for his new head coach and staff to be approximately $1.6 million, adding that his program will be competitive with the upper third of the Sun Belt.
Cobb noted that he plans to use Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search firm.
With an enormous population right outside your door, ability to recruit the greater Atlanta metro area will always be key to unlocking the potential within this program and we expect the next head coach (and his staff) to know the area well.
Undoubtedly with an early opening such as this, you'll hear some "hot coordinator" names connected to this opening. In fact, this morning we saw this tweet come by:
There are some quality men on that list. In fact, I might even (if asked) recommend one or two of them but some of those -- due to economics, or perceived career path consideration -- probably won't truly be candidates. A salary pool of $1.6 million for the entire staff isn't what a few of those guys are used to and some guys like that would struggle to fill out their staff accordingly. Further, some of those guys are on a significant upward trajectory and taking a pay cut to attempt a turnaround job may not be the best career move at this time.
While one of those guys might just wind up with the job, the folks we've spoken with about this job tend to think someone perhaps more blue collar could be the right fit here. Perhaps a guy like App State defensive coordinator Nate Woody, a lifer from the region, could wind up leading the Panthers to prominence. Woody has spent most of his life within a few hours driving distance from the ATL in either North Carolina or South Carolina. Woody would roll his sleeves up and hit the ground sprinting from day one. He also overlapped with Cobb for a year and change at App State.
John Grass and Jamey Chadwell most certainly fit that mold as well (and both would likely do quite well at Georgia State).
Georgia State's new football coach will be the most recognized person connected with the school to the outside world. He will lead the team onto the field at Turner Field for the first time and has the potential to forever transform the future of Georgia State University. This is a huge hire. Expect Charlie Cobb to consider all options but, at the end of the day, to hire someone he can trust to run his program with integrity and passion for Georgia State University and the city of Atlanta.
When the next head coach at Georgia State gets this program on a roll, local support will build, local spending will surge, local donors will emerge and Georgia State University will begin to thrive. Georgia State is a sleeping giant, ready to awaken.