Youngstown State head coach Eric Wolford will not return for a sixth season, FootballScoop learned on Monday evening. Brett McMurphy first reported the news.
Wolford was 31-25 in five seasons at the helm, but could not get over the hump to earn an FCS playoff berth despite posting four consecutive winning campaigns. The Penguins came incredibly close this season, going 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the tough Missouri Valley Football Conference, but dropped a 27-24 overtime decision to Indiana State two weeks ago that likely cost them the final spot in the 24-team field. (Indiana State also finished 7-4 and earned an at-large berth.) Fellow MVFC schools North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Illinois State and Northern Iowa also reached the FCS playoffs this season.
Those within the coaching community tell us president Jim Tressel will be actively involved in choosing Wolford's successor, and that the search could be quick. Florida Atlantic associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brian Wright could be a name to watch. The Ohio native served on Tressels's staff as a graduate assistant in 1997, and returned as quarterbacks coach in 2001. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2005, and stayed until taking a similar position on the Montana State staff in 2009.
In an active news day on the FCS front, Youngstown State is one of five schools to announce coaching changes, joining Alabama State, Norfolk State, VMI and Wagner.