With the search officially on for the new head football coach at Colorado State with the Mike Bobo era in the rearview mirror as of yesterday, athletic director Joe Parker shared his blueprint for what he's looking for yesterday.
"I want to find someone who is the absolute best person for this opportunity at this moment," Parker shared via a release.
"I think for us to be successful, we have to focus on someone who's experienced at the right level. I'm not going to limit that to a head coach, but I really feel that's the ideal profile; someone who has been a head coach at the Division I level and has seen success. I think we want someone who really understands and values creating a culture in which winning, competition and everything you need to do on a daily basis is where the attention is directed."
"I want someone who really understands the values of our institution. We try to be very balanced in our approach to academics and athletics. I want someone who really understands the extraordinary value of this entire community."
Fort Collins is consistently voted as one of the top places to live, their facilities are top notch, and Canvas Stadium is just three years old. Those factors, and the belief that the right guy should be able to win 10 or 11 games and compete for conference championships annually with the Rams has made this a very attractive jobs for a lot of coaches.
The coach we have been hearing for quite some time is Ohio State assistant head coach Tony Alford, who has over two decades experience molding running backs at the major college level. A legendary Ram running back, Alford also has experience at Notre Dame, Iowa State, Washington, and Louisville assistant. Alford married a former Colorado State athlete both of their families still reside in the area we are told.
Alford interviewed for the job last time around, and we understand the feedback he left with was he needed a bit more experience. While the one knock against him is his lack of head coaching experience, he does have the distinct advantage of being Urban Meyer's assistant head coach with the Buckeyes dating back to 2015, and holds the assistant head coach for offense title on Ryan Day's staff today. Sources told FootballScoop Urban Meyer visited Fort Collins recently, specifically to campaign for Tony Alford getting this opportunity.
Alford wants this job with the intention of calling Fort Collins home for a long, long time. While others may be more interested in using the Rams opportunity as a stepping stone in their careers.
Sources tell us there are a number of former head coaches who are also interested in the job including former UCLA and Seahawks head coach Jim L. Mora, former Oregon DC Jim Leavitt, former Arizona State, Pitt and Tulsa head coach Todd Graham, Alabama OC and former Washington and USC head coach Steve Sarkisian and potentially even former Cal and current Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford.
Sources tell FootballScoop many alums are imploring Parker to interview Chris Kiffin for the position as well. Chris, currently the pass rush specialist with the 49ers and former defensive coordinator at FAU, is a CSU alum. For years Chris was known as one of the best recruiters in the south and he has proven a strong motivator and developer of talent as well. Prior to serving as defensive coordinator at FAU, Kiffin spent five seasons at Ole Miss. He also has experience at Nebraska, USC, and Arkansas State.
Hawaii's Nick Rolovich is another coach that has been mentioned as a candidate. Rolo has some ties from recruiting the region for years, as well as a few years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Nevada before landing the head coaching job at his alma mater.
The last two hires at Colorado State, both coming before Parker arrived in the AD role, have come from the upper echelon of the SEC, and coordinators specifically. First up was Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who went 22-15 before leaving for the Florida job. Mac won 10 games in his final season in Fort Collins. Then CSU plucked Bobo from Georgia, who had a nice run in Athens as a successful offensive coordinator and developer of NFL talent.
One stunning thing we've heard as this search begins is that Colorado State has never hired a black head coach...in any sport, ever. That, folks, is a bit mind-boggling.
Parker says he's not willing to put a timeline on things, but is aware of the approaching early National Signing Day date quickly approaching on December 18th.
Continue to stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Update> We posed the question to the people (via twitter) about whether Colorado State had ever had a black head coach in any sport. Apparently they did have one head coach who was black, for three years, two decades ago.