Ranking the MAC candidates
Brad Bates wants a younger guy with head coaching experience. The most logical place to look for an up and coming coach who has hands-on experience and is looking to jump is the MAC. Fortunately for BC, Bates came from a MAC school and knows the personalities well. This process will have many twists and turns, but I expect our new coach to come from the MAC. Here is how I would rate the potential candidates:
1. Pete Lembo, Ball State. Lembo hasn't received the attention that some of the others have, but he is a very strong candidate. He's a New Yorker and coached in the northeast at Lehigh. He played at Georgetown and although he is young, he's been a head coach for a long time. The only hole on his resume is recruiting in a BCS level conference.
2. Darrell Hazell, Kent State. He's a New Jersey native and has Kent State in the Top 25 (where they haven't been in years). He has key recruiting experience in Ohio and New Jersey. I think he will get a long look. The only problem is that he has only had two years experience as a head coach and in his first season he had a losing record.
3. Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois. I think Doeren would be ideal. He has an intensity and work ethic that we've been lacking since Coughlin. I think he could come to BC, do big things and restore our talent base quickly. His record at Northern Illinois has been very impressive. But I don't think he'll end up at at the Heights. His name is being mentioned for multiple jobs and I don't see BC chasing after the "hot" name. I've been wrong before, but if Doeren ends up at Purdue, I think it will be a missed opportunity for both sides.
4. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green. This name should be very familiar to BC fans, as he was a candidate in 2007. He's 22-27 at Bowling Green but his wins are trending in the right direction. His ties to the northeast and varied head coaching experience would make him an ideal fit at BC. There is only one problem: his very close relationship with Gene. I don't think it will fully disqualify him, but enough people know about it and enough people would raise the question publicly that I don't see it happening. Bates is his own man, but I doubt he wants to deal with any Gene-related baggage on this hire.
5. Matt Campbell, Toledo. There is young and then there is Matt Campbell. Only 32, Campbell is in his first year as the head guy in Toledo. His record is strong, but his experience is so limited outside of Toledo and Mount Union, that I don't see BC rolling the dice with him now.
The other MAC guys are either too old (Solich) or coming off disappointing seasons. If we go MAC, it will be one of those five guys.