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Franchione emerges as potential early candidate for UNLV football post

Successful history at MWC programs could carry weight for Dennis Franchione



Dennis Franchione is drenched during the closing seconds of his TCU team’s 28-19 victory over Southern Cal in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, 1998 in El Paso, Texas. Franchione, in one season, turned the Horned Frogs from a 1-10 WAC doormat to a perennial winner. Could he do the same for UNLV?

Sanford Out as UNLV Coach

After a 15-43 record in five seasons as head coach, UNLV put an end to the Mike Sanford era.

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What do you think about Dennis Franchione as a candidate for UNLV's vacant head coaching position?

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The Franchione File

  • Age: 58
  • Hometown: Girard, Kan.
  • Graduated from Pittsburg State in 1973.
  • Was an assistant at Kansas State from 1978-81, while current UNLV men's basketball coach Lon Kruger was an assistant for hoops coach Jack Hartman.
  • Turned New Mexico and TCU programs around before successful-yet-brief stint at Alabama.
  • Three bowl appearances in five seasons at Texas A&M before being bought out following 2007 season due in large part to the 'newsletter controversy.'
  • Career coaching record of 187-101-2 (107-81-1 in FBS)
  • Was known at Texas A&M for his loaded recruiting classes which ranked among the top 13 in the nation from 2003-05.
  • His son, Brad, is the head coach at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. Blinn is a football powerhouse among the juco ranks.
  • Currently works as a radio color commentator for ESPN on college football broadcasts.

With the job listing still fresh on the market, UNLV interim Athletic Director Jerry Koloskie has been inundated with calls and e-mails from those interested in his football coaching vacancy.

While more names will surface later, as several prospective candidates are still in season, a source close to the situation confirmed to The Sun on Thursday that one prominent figure to throw his hat into the ring is Dennis Franchione, who most recently held the post at Texas A&M.

Franchione was bought out of his contract at A&M following the 2007 season after an up-and-down run in College Station, but his track record at programs currently in the Mountain West Conference is hard to argue with.

"I've turned two schools around in that conference — New Mexico and then when I took over TCU in 1998," Franchione said on Thursday when reached by phone. "So I'm really familiar with the conference and the area, and I feel like (UNLV) is kind of a sleeping giant, and there's no reason I can see right now that it couldn't be successful and win some games."

New Mexico and TCU were members of the WAC when Franchione put his stamp on them each individually. But the common denominator between UNLV and those two situations is that they all required someone coming in as head coach with an ability to build a contender from nearly the ground up.

UNLV announced on Sunday that Mike Sanford wouldn't be coaching in 2010 for a sixth season. Heading into next weekend's finale against San Diego State, which Sanford will coach, he's gone 15-43 overall and 7-32 in Mountain West Conference play in his first attempt as a head coach.

In 1992, Franchione took over a New Mexico program which hadn't had a winning season in 10 years. During his six-year run in Albuquerque, he went 33-36, including a 9-4 finish in 1997 and a spot in the Insight.com Bowl. It was the program's first bowl berth since 1961.

At TCU, he turned a team that went 1-10 in 1997 into a 7-5 squad in 1998 with a Sun Bowl appearance, where the Horned Frogs took out Southern Cal. Two years later, he handed the reins to current TCU coach Gary Patterson before heading to Alabama. Patterson, with whom Franchione is still close friends, has the Horned Frogs at 10-0 and on the verge of a BCS berth this season.

After leaving Fort Worth, Franchione went 17-8 in two seasons in Tuscaloosa, leaving for A&M as the program was headed for probation due to NCAA sanctions resulting from violations of Mike DuBose, who preceded Franchione at Alabama.

After a 10-3 run with the Crimson Tide in 2002, he went 32-28 with three bowl appearances in five seasons with the Aggies but left again amidst controversy.

Franchione was bought out for $4.4 million, with the final $1 million of that coming in 2010, minus whatever he's paid by a current employer. For UNLV, given the current economic state, it could make Franchione that much more appealing. It would be a similar situation UNLV had with men's basketball coach Lon Kruger, who was still collecting from his buyout deal with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks during his first season at UNLV.

Since his buyout, Franchione, 58, has worked for ESPN, doing radio calls for college football broadcasts.

"It's been good. It's been a little bit of a sabbatical from coaching, but I've still been involved with football and Friday practices and see a lot of different programs and how people do things and see a lot of different games," he said. "It's been really great from that standpoint. I've kinda recharged my batteries, and I've enjoyed doing the games with ESPN, and I have a great love for college football.

"I think all coaches miss players and coaches, and I think you always do no matter what."

Franchione had the similar itch last winter, when he was a finalist for the San Diego State job. That gig ultimately went to Brady Hoke, who is 4-6 in his first season with the Aztecs.

Once Sanford is officially out from his post with the Rebels, the search is expected to move into the next gear.

Franchione likes the way things look from the outside.

"Well, you know, it's got a marquee town," he said. "It's close to population for recruiting. I think that's always important. I know that the state is not heavily populated, much like New Mexico was for me, so I'm familiar with that.

"I think they would like to have a college football program, and it's in a conference that I know well, and I think UNLV has somewhat of a national name out there maybe because of Jerry Tarkanian and what he did and the basketball program and how successful it's been, as much as anything. When I was even in Texas, I would see them have the ability to go in and recruit, and their name identity was very good."

Franchione will also have a couple of familiar brains to potentially pick if he is serious regarding the opportunity.

First off, he knows Sanford, whom he hosted — among others such as staffs from Florida, Oregon and West Virginia — for two-day spread offense clinics in College Station during his days at A&M. He also visited with Sanford on his last trip to Las Vegas, as a former Aggies assistant of his — running backs and receivers coach Kenny Pope — was the Rebels' running backs coach in 2008.

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV coach Lon Kruger watches his team play against UNR during the first half of their game Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Franchione is much more familiar, however, with Kruger, who performed a similar resurrection to the Rebels' dormant hoops program when he took it over in 2004.

While Kruger was a graduate assistant at Kansas State from 1977 to 1978, then a full-fledged aide on Jack Hartman's staff from 1979-82, Franchione was an assistant football coach there from 1978-80.

Both were also raised in the Sunflower State — Kruger in Silver Lake and Franchione down in the southeast corner of Kansas in Girard.

"I haven't had a lot of first-hand knowledge of it and seen games or anything, but I know what kind of person Lonny Kruger is, and I know what kind of character he has, what kind of kids he's gonna recruit, how he's gonna run his program," Franchione said. "It's gonna be with class and dignity and with good people. He's gonna coach hard, recruit hard and do it the right way, and I know those things about Lonny."

Franchione insisted that he enjoys his gig with ESPN, but it's relatively clear that coaching is his an avenue he'd like to again travel. He said it would depend largely on what kind of opportunity is presented to he and his wife, Kim.

Kruger said there are "a lot of people that could be a good fit. But no question Dennis has proven himself in the Mountain West Conference and several places after that."

Click to enlarge photo

Dirk Koetter, left, celebrates with safety Shaunard Harts after Boise State defeated UTEP in the Humanitarian Bowl, 38-23, on Dec. 28, 2000. Koetter is currently the offensive coordinator for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, but his name has floated around in relation to the vacant UNLV head coaching post.

Koetter reached

A popular name floating around for the UNLV vacancy over the past few days is that of Dirk Koetter, who is the offensive coordinator for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

At his press conference on Monday, Sanford said that if success from the ground up could be achieved in Boise, Idaho, it could be done in Las Vegas.

Well, Koetter was largely responsible for Boise State's meteoric rise to national prominence.

In three seasons as the Broncos' head coach from 1998-2000, Koetter went 26-10, including a pair of 10-win campaigns and was 2-0 in his Humanitarian Bowl appearances.

Following a winding trip through six seasons at Arizona State, going 40-34 with four bowl appearances, Koetter, 50, was terminated following the 2006 campaign.

Currently in his third season in Jacksonville, Koetter responded to a phone call placed by The Sun on Thursday afternoon via text message regarding his potential candidacy.

He said it is to early to speculate on the subject.

"If I become a candidate, we can talk later," the text from Koetter read.

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV interim athletic director Jerry Koloskie.

Koloskie's applicant requirements and timetable

Resumés have come from anywhere and everywhere so far, Koloskie said.

Even though he's currently in the process of pushing toward the open athletic director gig at the university, he's simultaneously spearheading efforts to fill the job opening atop his football program.

And whether it's him making the ultimate decision or someone else hired to assume the athletic director duties, Koloskie knows better than almost anyone what the football program needs.

"The job description for this job is obviously Division-I head coaching experience, preferably," he said on Thursday. "I really believe that we need somebody who has been a head coach or has head coaching experience. Now that doesn't mean we would rule out anyone else, but to me, that is kind of a set standard going in, and then obviously however that turns out, we'll see. I would think that is something we need at this point in time with our football program.

"I think it's a critical hire. I think the person has to be a very good fit, not only be a good coach but be a good leader for the football program and be a good ambassador for the university and stimulate interest in the football program. It's that all-around type of person who needs to come in here and take football to the next level."

So far, Koloskie has received a handful of calls from out-of-work coaches expressing interest. More inquiries are sure to come, and they're expected to pour in as many teams' seasons — or at least regular seasons — come to an end just after Thanksgiving weekend.

"I think there'll be a lot of movement the first two weeks of December," he said. "I would say that, to me, that first week of December will probably be the critical time to get this thing moving forward, and hopefully no later than mid-December, you'd have a coach in place. That's my opinion.

"And again, that's just based upon the timeline of recruiting, coaching vacancies, those kinds of things when they come open. I would think the first two weeks of December would be a very reasonable time frame."

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  1. WOW pick this guy up..or atleast look into it..if he can pur TCU on the map, he can put UNLV football on the map

  2. I think that's Franchione's thinking, too, rebelsfan11

  3. I don't know about this. Would rather have a younger coach, he'll be 59 by the beginning of next season. He is 10 yrs removed from the TCU days. He would obviously help us but I don't think he is the best choice.

  4. he should be a serious candidate atleast. maybe Tony Dungy should be the top candidate :)


  6. Should also be noted that Franchione's son Brad is the head coach of a very succesful JC football program in Texas. What a great package to some quick fix JC and Texas recruits. HMMM I think Franchione would be a great fit.

  7. rebeldpt ... That's a nice little twist to it all ... Blinn College.

  8. Hire Pete Carroll.

  9. I have an idea. We should throw Utah's AD Chris Hill some cash under the table to hire our next football coach. Whomever that guy hires turns to football gold.

    Franch seems like a pretty good hire. No matter who we hire, better get some assistants that can recruit SoCal and Vegas. There is plenty of talent to go around those neck of the woods. Just ask Kruger how important recruting SoCal is. D1 players grow on freakin trees down there. Plus if I see another Vegas talent leave town for Reno I might thurp in my mouth.

  10. yea heres the list of cali players at unlv bball:

    and i bet we will have some more in the following years :)

  11. Don't hire Franchione or anyone else who's looking for a last job in a sunny place to retire to. That sounds like Robinson syndrome.

    The candidate should have an established record, but also more than a few more good years left.

  12. hire Larry Kehres

  13. Dude, Pete Carroll's salary is $5.7 million per year. UNLV's football budget (the WHOLE budget) is just over $6 million.

  14. hire me hehe jk
    but yea i think this choice would do great to the unlv football progam

  15. Come on guys, are Rebel fans so down that they'll jump at the chance to hire anyone who has coached in Div 1-A but for some "mysterious" reason isn't now? Both Fran and Keotter are John Robinson Parts II and III. Fran takes the money and runs, his loyalty isn't in question, he has none. Do a search and see what the folks at A&M or Alabama think of the guy? It's not as if he was doing great when he was either kicked out the door or left "on his own". He takes the job at Ala, then doesn't like having the sanctions he knew were coming when he took the job. At A&M, the program goes from RC Slocums 8+ wins a year to .500, the fans lose interest, and Fran is INVITED to leave because of cheating by publishing a newsletter at $10,000 per reader that contains the inside tips other fans don't know, SLUSH FUND folks. Keotter made a big hole at ASU, everybody hated his surliness and arrogance, plus he couldn't win within the conference. Both candidates have failure written all over them, and they will ask for lots of money.

  16. lvsreader,

    Exactly what I meant by saying he's too old. This program is currently a joke, let's face it. Therefore, it will take a guy some time to build it to respectability. He'll be old enough to collect social security by then. I see many similarities to John Robinson here.

  17. I approve of this hire. Success breeds success.

  18. Success 10 yrs ago doesn't do anything for me. Look up the conditions under which he left Alabama and A&M. Cougarblue touched upon some of them. We need a younger guy who isn't looking for a retirement home.

  19. Maybe we should hire the Gorman/Palo coach..they both know how to recruit real well :P just kiiidddingg...but by getting one of those 2 coaches, that would bring all of those players from either of those schools to UNLV plus several local kids...Palo's Offense is very efficient..

    I'd look into it just for the recruits they'd bring in, not so much for the coaching b/c i dont know much about it

  20. Hire Dirk Koetter! That is the perfect fit for UNLV Football.

    If you want to have a shot at the permanent AD position Koloskie, you need to get on the first flight to Jacksonville and get Dirk Koetter to sign on the dotted line.

    That quote was a clear indication that he is interested in the job! Don't screw this up! Dirk Koetter will turn UNLV into a Football school overnight.

    Dirk Koetter and UNLV! Make it happen.

  21. 11, a high school coach would be a complete and total joke. How in the world would a high school coach go to Texas, Arizona, California, etc and recruit??? What would his recruiting tactics be? If that happens, then just shut down the program. Thankfully, it won't happen. I like Kirby Wilson, think he would do a good job.

  22. So much for confirmation about the AD situation.

    Bill Moos, former Oregon ADD, told the Seattle Times today that he would like the UNLV job. His preferred candidate could likely be Robb Akey of Idaho.

    Coach Fran, Dirk or Akey would be great gets for UNLV.

    Go get Moos and then go get one of these names!

    Please UNLV wake up to the opportunity!

  23. I was pretty much kidding letsgo... Our whole team would be former gaels

    sometimes ijoke around so don't take me serious ;)

  24. I am not sold on Akey.

    10-24 overall record as a head coach? That is not someone that should be at the top of any Rebel AD's list.

    Should he be on the list for consideration? Sure, but he has alot to prove before he gets a job like UNLV.

    Idaho hasn't really beaten anybody this season, I mean look at this list of losers that they beat this season:

    New Mexico State
    San Diego State
    Colorado State
    San Jose State
    Louisiana Tech

    Mike Sanford could beat those light weights and by the end of the year Sanford will have beaten three of those bums.

    10-24 as a head coach. Boise just beat them by 30 points. UNR beat Idaho by 25 points.

    Akey needs to prove himself for another year or two at Idaho to show what he is really made of. It would be an extremely risky hire at this point for UNLV and would likely end in disaster!

  25. Believe me as omeone who lives in the Phoenix area(ASU) we do not want Koetter. that would be ridiculous, doesnt recruit or care about defense one bit. Intersting guy but not a good fit for a long list of reason. Ask ASU people about Koetter.
    As for Fran his age isnt a factoe 59? Is not old in coaching. That guy would win big at UNLV.
    First let's get a real AD if we hire Koloskie we are done.

  26. Dirk Koetter wasn't a good fit at Arizona State but he is the perfect fit for Las Vegas. Koetter will need to hire a big time Defensive Coordinator at UNLV which he will do.

    Dirk Koetter will have UNLV in a Bowl Game NEXT YEAR! Dirk Koetter will immediately turn this Rebel Football program around and bring in big time recruits like Derek Hagan to Las Vegas, guys that will put up huge numbers and excite the Rebel faithful.

    Dirk Koetter is the answer to all our problems with UNLV Football.

  27. I'll tell you this People at A&M NEVER lose interest in football. Living in Houston about a 1/4th of everyone seems to have gone to A&M, and the place is practically a cult with football being their religious ceremony. People here hate Coach Fran. From what I've seen I'm not impressed.
    I like Koetter, or maybe someone more young and hungry

  28. Recruiting and "coaching up" go hand in hand. Weis can recruit, but sucks at coaching up what he gets. Look at programs that might not get the 5-star but coach up what they do get. Wiscy and Troy are good examples of this.

    Paul Chryst (WI O/C)
    Larry Blakeney (Troy HC)

  29. lvs reader,

    I believe your right, We don't need another John Robinson, he was the right fit then, but not now. Koetter is the best candiate out there at this point. He's an offensive genious, who can recruit, and would already have some talent to work with. He defiantly would need to find a "D" coordinator. One note on Koetter that Greene and all Las Vegas media should be aware of. Koetter hates the media, as you can see Greene, he blew you off by way of text...If Koetter comes to town, get use to it....This guy hated dealing with the Phoenix media and constanstly blew them off as well. Don't expect a warm and fuzzy guy that will come to town, he won't give the media the time of day.

  30. I don't even like the possibility or the thought of Franchione coming to Vegas. UNLV can do much better then that. Franchione wouldn't turn around UNLV, read the article he knows nothing about Vegas and would let all of our local talent slip away, look at what he said, "It's close to population for recruiting". (Translation) Vegas has no talent!! He has done nothing his last 2 jobs and that would continue here. A name I have been hearing the last 3 days for this job is Pat Hill from Fresno St. He would be perfect for UNLV and he would do great here. He is a great coach, he already recruits Vegas hard, has put a ton of players into the NFL, and he has built a solid program year in and year out in Fresno. Why isn't his name being mentioned? Is it current contract issues at Fresno? From what I have heard is that Hill is ready to leave Fresno asap.

  31. @Ryan Greene:

    Do you know the coaching status of Pat Hill at Fresno State? Maybe the Sun could give Hill a phone call or shoot him a text message like you did Koetter?

  32. Pat Hill would be a great hire for UNLV Football. Pat Hill worked for UNLV Football back in the early 1980's.

    The FresnoBee Newspaper had an article about Pat Hill possibly looking at the UNLV job a few days ago. Pat Hill has one year left on his Fresno State Contract and they haven't started negotiations on a new contract yet, that could mean that both Fresno State or Pat Hill are looking to go in a different direction.

    Moving to the MWC from the WAC would be a stepup for Pat Hill and he could recruit better talent to Las Vegas over Fresno any day of the week.

    The Top 5 list right now for UNLV should be:

    1. Dirk Koetter
    2. Pat Hill
    3. Dennis Francione
    4. Dan Hawkins
    5. Terry Bowden/Tommy Tubberville

    With Steve Kragthorpe as a long shot when he gets fired from Louisville.

    Pat Hill would be an excellent fit for Las Vegas. He recruits the type of athletes that we need to be successful and he preaches the type of attitude that would excite the Las Vegas community and get them to buy into his program.

    That said, Dirk Koetter is the GUY! Lets hope the UNLV Administration can make it happen.

  33. There are 2 names that need to be at the top of this list in this order IMO.
    1) Pat Hill - Best thing to ever happen to Rebel football. We would be in a bowl game next year guaranteed!

    2) Rich Rodriguez - He might be out after only 2 seasons at Michigan. The Michigan faithful aren't so faithful to the rebuilding process with the spread offense. (Imagine what he could do with our current offense with his spread style).

    *Throw Franchione under the bus right now pleassssse* (Memo) to Koloskie do not hire your body double he has disaster written all over him!!

    Koetter is a possibility that I could live with but I still feel UNLV can do a lot better then Koetter. After hearing Mike Pritchard yesterday on 1100AM I don't want Hawkins either. If you missed Pritch yesterday you need to go streamline it it was great straight forward truth about Hawkins coming from someone who still has close ties to Colorado.

  34. You just beat me to the Rich Rodriguez suggestion.

    Pat Hill has never gotten Fresno to perform to the level of hype he's built around them, but I'd take their level of success here. And we'd definitely get to take some great road trips as he'll play anyone.

    Fran would be awful. His record has been barely above .500 every except TCU. And can anyone think of a TCU player who may have helped him exceed his ability?

  35. More perspective from a a big TCU fan that I know. Coach Fran was totally classless and conceited, there's a little evidence in this interview how he thinks he knows so much about Las Vegas. He's like Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino with his lack of loyalty. Always looking for another job. He told everyone that all was fine at TCU and he left for the Alabama job. he even showed up to the Heisman ceremony for LT decked out in 'Bama gear, and he wouldn't even shake LT's hand. He then spurned Alabama for A&M and ran it into the ground. He wold only be at UNLV until his A&M money ran out and would be gone before he even bought a house.
    I like Rich Rodriguez if he were interested for what he good do with our players now. But I really think we should go after a Defensive minded guy and a good offensive coordinator who likes the spread to keep all of our recruits.

  36. I really wish everyone would stop throwing around their personal guarantees. it's ridiculous.

  37. Rich Rodriguez would be a dream hire for UNLV.

    If that happens I will definitely be doing some cartwheels down Maryland Parkway!

  38. JerryWayne, I totally agree with you.

  39. Please no retreads looking to fill up their retirement accounts after their portfolios took a hit in the market.

    Hire Kirby Smart the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Check out his resume. Not sure if he'd even be interested, but it would be great to see someone like him that's young and has serious defensive credentials and experience being a part of winning programs (as a player and coach).

    I hope the Rebels look at some guys like Smart.

  40. who ever we get as head coach they must keep coach cink and make him off cord!! sufferin you sound motivated whats up? my opinion is that you really care about UNLV i dont care what they say about you, you know your [email protected] but dude rich rodriguez? you guys r crazy

  41. Why would Dan Hawkins be considered he has been a total bust in rebuilding Colorado. He does not have that great a record against Colorado State. Look at this year score. What the Rebels need is another Ron Meyers a young go getter.

  42. You can tell from the comments that, assuming Franchione and Koetter really are legitimate candidates for the job, it won't be an easy decision.

    And that is BEFORE we even know what these guys are asking for in terms of contract terms, compensation, etc.

    And we don't even officially have in place the person who will be making this decision.

    But Kosloskie expects it all to be worked out in THREE WEEKS OR LESS??

    Wow. And people wonder why Rebel athletics has had so many problems for the past twenty years.

    Somebody over there on Maryland Pkwy needs to take a deep breathe and relax. Take some time. Think it over. Consider the choice carefully.

    We've had these 'rush to hire' situations before and they never worked out for us.

  43. Franchione isn't that old, lol. That guy at Penn State and Fla St, they're old.

    Franchione knows the conference and is a proven winner. He's coached at top 20 schools. Given the bunch he'd inherit, he's win next year even with a tough schedule. We'd have to pay him at least a meal ticket a year (1M), or the other top names on the supposed list. This is a "sure thing" that has gone on record as wanting the job. The others? Pipe dreams by pipe dreaming fans.

  44. How about Tommy West (recently fired from Memphis), Dick Jauron, Butch Jones...Turner Gill?

  45. If UNLV wants to be .500 and below all the time then hire Franchione. If that is the standard 6-6 then he is the guy. Why not Pat Hill or Rich Rodriguez? Why shouldn't Koloskie at least call these guys? Why not go for the homerun? The worst they can say is "I'm not interested in the job vacancy". As the AD you have to make the phone call to the these guys if the reports are true that allegedly these guys won't be coming back to their teams you have to give it a shot.

  46. Fran is old for this job. This job would require an entire rebuilding process and that will take some time. He'll be in his sixties. While that isn't the oldest coach in America or anything, this guy is set for retirement. He's already coached huge names (Alabama), already rebuilt a team (TCU)... John Robinson all over again. If anyone thinks we are getting Rich Rodriguez, they need to put the drink and the pipe down. Please.

  47. Franchione seems to be a set-up man, not a permanent solution. His age DOES suggest retirement party. And I love me some J-Rob, but the program doesn't need THAT scenario again. It was fine in 1999, but we've been there; done that.

    Like NYR said -- take time & look closer. Why run down the hill and get one cow when you can walk down and get em all?

  48. All these "How about..." suggestions are mindnumbingly laughable. Everyone posting these comments seems to be convinced that there is a simple solution to a very big, historic, and complex problem. "If we could just hire the right coach..."- Give me a break, UNLV has hired the "right" coach since Jim Strong.

    As long as three conditions all continue to exist- a distant, off-campus stadium and subpar training facilities; an athletic program that carries the taint of past transgressions (I challenge ANYONE to explain away the photo of the players in the jacuzzi with Richard Perry); a city that most serious athletes and their parents find unacceptable for their college-age years, you've got a formula for failure regardless of the coach. Throw in the ridiculous expectations of fickle fans who can't distinguish the traditions and culture of college football from pro, and you've got the equivalent of climbing Everest blindfolded, handcuffed, and leg-shackled with no oxygen and guides who only take you as far as base camp.

    On the bright side, if one takes a rational management 101 approach, it is possible to build a program, but UNLV needs to start the game with a full clock, all time outs, and a tied score instead of mid-way through the third behind by ten.

    Two of the three elements I described can only be overcome by time and results. One can be addressed, but cannot be achieved in one or two seasons. UNLV's current facilities and fans simply are not on equal footing with the rest of the conference. Combine an investment in new football and athletic training facilities (with a near or on-campus stadium as a requisite) with an investment in a relatively young, ingenuitive, energetic young coach who wants to put down roots in Las Vegas, and you've got a formula for possible success. Ambitious brick-and-mortar plans tend to loosen boosters' wallets and their emotional investments tend to follow their financial ones.

    As for those who don't think such an investment is possible (I keep seeing $250M being thrown around) think again. Land in Las Vegas is no longer $700K an acre. The ten acres necessary could be had for about $5M. The stadium itself does not need to be a 50,000 seat facility either. Plan for 35-40,000 seats, including a club level and a dozen suites. Engineer it so it could be converted to a retractable roof facility down the road, sell the naming rights to the highest bidder, offer attractive concession terms to outside companies in exchange for build-out costs, and you could have a facility for less than $100M easily. Another option would be to lease the land to a private stadium owner and pay relatively low rent on the facility while the private owner collects on naming rights, concessions, and ad revenue.

    This is all possible and would be a keystone to a new era in UNLV football, while simply hiring the "right" coach would only be changing the locks.

    Until then, y'all might as well start planning a step down to the WAC.

  49. dragon,
    Which right coach have we hired in the past? We have never hired the right coach. While I agree with you in just about everything you said, hiring the right coach could be the beginning of all that. There are coaches out there that could bring talent to this city. I don't know if we'll hire that guy. If we did and we went say, 6-6 and then 8-4 for example, we would see the increase in fan base, possibly improve facilities and everything else you mentioned would trickle down. Hiring the right coach is the #1 issue and it is the #1 concern at this point in time.

  50. Franchione is not the right man for the job

  51. I called my buddies who are Aggies. They couldn't be more adamant about not hiring Franchione. According to them, he loves to recruit specialty players and forgets about the lineman and cornerbacks.

  52. Too much controversy with Franchione.

    I think they need to hire a permanent AD so the AD can pick the coach. I think it's a bad idea to let the interin AD hire the coach. If something happens and Koloskie doesn't get the job, there is a good chance that the new coach might not have the full support of the new AD.

    I still think UNLV needs to calm down and take it easy. Let's see who's going to be available after the college regular season ends.

  53. Somebody mentioned Butch Jones the other day. I think that is a much better choice. He has all these qualities: Head Coach, Young, WINS, affordable, No Baggage. UNLV could more than double his salary. Is he not interested or what?

  54. Reb4Life ... I'm not seeing Butch Jones ... It'd be a lateral move at best, plus, look what happened to the guy he followed, Brian Kelly? He moved a rung up the ladder and succeeded. Surely Jones will do the same ... I'm guessing Butch Jones goes to Illinois if Ron Zook gets the axe ...

  55. @BetOnBlack ...

    I'm not sure what everyone's talking about with a potential firing of Hill at Fresno State. To me, it doesn't make sense. He keeps the Bulldogs competitive every year. Not sure what more they want there. If he did get fired? Sure, I'd think UNLV might take a look, and vice versa ... but I'm just not seeing it ...

  56. Hire Mike Sanford, er, er ,er that didn't work.

  57. Blakely of Troy has been there 19 years - he is not leaving.
    Butch Jones of Central Mich - a lateral move to UNLV?
    Brady Hoke leaving the same conference last year for SDSU a lateral move? Was Urban Meyer leaving Bowling Green for Utah a lateral move?
    As far as Coach Fran goes - the comments about him will be the same negative comments that we hear about Koetter and Tuberville. Loyalists will say that they did not do this and were haters of the media.

    ASU - How is Dennis Erickson doing for you?
    A & M - How is Mike Sherman doing for you?
    Auburn - Did the Coaching change advance the program to compete with Bama right now?

    Fresno wants to be Boise State. If they want to think like these schools above - happy to take Pat Hill off your hands.

    Hawkins blew it by not getting a top flight QB. He started his son and he is too short which did not get it done. They could have mailed it in against OK State - yet they played hard til the end. If they want to can Hawkins - happy to take him.

    Let San Jose State deal with Tyrone Willingham.
    Akey might need another year, but that program was a mess after Nick Holt and Dennis Erickson were there.

    Koetter kept Boise going after Houston Nutt left. Passed it to Hawkins, now to Peterson.

    Coach Fran passed a TCU program to Patterson - then it grew even further.

    We need someone who can get the foundation set up, money will come as people see progress. But, no excuses or temper tantrums at a Big 12 school after a game like Sanford.

    Any time, any where. Hill, Hawkins, Koetter, Tuberville, Jones and Coach Fran believe in it.

    Grab Chris Tormey from the Hawaii staff to recruit Nevada and lose Cink. Sorry, but we need changes and we need as much experience as we can get to do this.

  58. They need to hire a guy with the same amount of integrity and respect for the game as Lon Kruger. A guy that can make do with what he's got. A guy that is an expert at strategy. A guy that can have a coaching staff that knows what they are doing. I do not know who that guy is, maybe one of you do. That is who needs to be signed. If he is signed, the whole "I don't want my son playing in LV" from parents will go away, the players will play to their full potential, and we will win the games we are supposed to win and an upset here and there. Kruger worked for the bball team, so a guy with the same morals as him is what will work for the football team.

  59. Both Bowden and Tuberville are waiting for the UCF job.

    Here's my pick:

    Jeff Bower (born May 28, 1953) coached most recently at The University of Southern Mississippi. He assumed the role of head coach at Southern Miss on December 2, 1990, and held it for 17 years until November 26, 2007, when he resigned effective after the Papajohns.com Bowl which was played on December 22, 2007. Under his tutelage, the Golden Eagles put together a continuing streak of fourteen straight winning seasons, the 5th longest streak in college football. Bower's Southern Miss teams had also been to bowl games 10 of the last 11 seasons.


  61. Who said we were getting Rich Rodriguez? I don't see one post by anybody on here that say's Rich Rodriguez is coming to Vegas. (What a loser)!!

  62. UNLV is dreaming if you think a "name" coach is coming here. Can or will you pay $2 million per year to get a June Jones?

  63. UNLV needs to hire a young, up-and-coming head coach who wants to prove himself at UNLV as a springboard to a bigger NCAA conference. A 58-year old coach is not as motivated or enthusiastic as a young coach. We keep hiring coaches in their swan-song days; as a result we get lack-luster coaching and lack-luster recruiting. We need a coach who knows a winning record, and a solid program will make him the golden boy for big teams in big programs! A few winning seasons and a solid program foundation will only be good for UNLV football in the future.

  64. You want young?

    Ok - Major Applewhite - OC of Rice. His teams have been explosive on offense. He is 27.

    Why we are scared off of a proven coach who is 58 and silly. Coach Fran does not want to end his career on a losing note. Dick Tomey in his first year at San Jose State - bowl game.

    Stop the Rich Rodriguez comments. Just not going to happen.

    Someone needs to build the program and create an identity to it. Someone with Lon Kruger's character? Like Rick Pitino would have been hired and we were so concerned about his character? Hoops to become big time needs a major recruiter. We have yet to see that National Big Name recruit sign at Vegas since the Tark days.

    Tuberville and Coach Fran have already been getting paid enough money that they dont need to have a mega contract to get back into coaching.

    UNLV will need to look at minority Coaches and not to spend any time on Turner Gill would be a mistake. No to Karl Dorrell and Ty Willingham (who was the worst to Alums at UW and alienated an entire community).

    If you get a young Coach - if he wins - he will leave.
    Getting someone who is a proven winner that is in his 50s is not going anywhere - unless it is Dennis Erickson.

    Big name Coaches will get UNLV commits excited and potentially open up doors to players who are looking to learn from someone who can develop them to play for an NFL shot.

    Wonder what the UNLV Staff is doing this weekend - bet they are doing what they would do on any open date week. Staying at home and not going on the road to recruit! Sanford would struggle to find Gorman's campus.

    Bill Moos for AD. He could fund raise, get rid of the dead weight in the Athletic Department and make sure that the new Head Football Coach really works hard in the community to get people to buy into the program starting day 1.

    I dont see this happening with Jerry and Stallworth. Stallworth would be a worthwhile Asst AD Candidate to allow him to learn the ropes.

  65. @letsgorebs-

    Every single coach UNLV has hired has been called "the right man for the job". The point is, Nick Saban would have a hard time putting together a winning program with all the circumstances that are inherent.

    If you put Kyle Bush behind the wheel of a 1978 Monza, he isn't going to compete with anybody.

  66. If UNLV wants to hire Dan Hawkins, then four years from now you can complain about seeing an uninspired, undisciplined product on the field that has been over promised and has under performed. From day one in Boulder, Hawkins has been full of brash talk and none of it has been backed up on playing field. Year four and Colorado is 119th out of 120 in penalty yardage.

    I worked for Mike Hamrick at East Carolina. Going through the history on this site, the article from his hiring says he did a great job at ECU. Wow, what could be further from the truth. He inherited a program that had pushed itself onto the national football stage and under Hamrick's leadership, experienced back to back 1-10 football seasons. As an ECU alum, a late thanks to UNLV for taking him off our hands, just like you are thanking Marshall for doing the same. Also interesting in the same article was the fact that one of the other finalists was then-Idaho A.D. Mike Bohn. Can you see a pattern here? As Colorado A.D. Bohn's comment on hiring Hawkins was "we've found our home run". More like a pop foul caught by the catcher. Bohn and Hamrick are cut from the same cloth and their decisions are eerily similar. Whatever these guys say to do, do the opposite and you're sure to succeed.

    Don't hire a retread. Find a young, enthusiastic go-getter who wants to make his mark as a head coach in college football, expect him to stay for 3 years, move on and then do it again. That should be the M.O. for the UNLV's of the world.

  67. green dragon you are the man. unlv needs an upgrade facility wise the next guy must demand it!! it seems unlv picks guys who are " lucky " to get a head coaching job so they cant complain about the facilities. did any one see mike sanfords press cofrence on the mtn? he thrashes the administration for not at lest remodeling the locker room saying and i quote " unlv has the worst locker room in college football". so green drag you speak the truth........

  68. Dammit. LVSun staff, please put up a poll about whether we want an aging "retread" (good words "darkenvader1") coach whose best years are behind them or an established but young coach whose name alone will recruit top athletes (on the promise that facilities improvements will come soon enough).

    Please put an end to this serious consideration of washed up coaches looking for a nice place to retire to while collecting a pay check! Please!

  69. Dennis Green anyone? I hear he's teaching a class at San Diego State.

  70. Todd Berry is your man.He has been a head coach.He also is a fine recruiter and coach.

  71. Who in the hell are you trying to fool GDR? Your cowpokes are perennial door-mats.

    Yeah, let's all listen to this guy. It's like the blind leading the blind!

  72. Thanks for the link Reb4life. Pat Hill should be the next (HC). I think the deal is going to get done. Hill is the ideal fit for the Rebels he will take this current team to a bowl game next year. He already loves the Vegas talent, Hill has lined his Fresno roster for years with Vegas talent. Koloskie get the deal done!!

  73. Ah Greyback, typical comment from you and your UNLV schooled perspective. Wyoming has had it's struggles since the inception of the MWC, but it was among the top WAC programs for decades. They've played for a National Championship, in far more bowl games (most recently a win against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl), produced far more NFL stars, more great college coaches, and have far more loyal and, obviously, educated fans than the University of Maryland Parkway. They've also beaten every other team in the MWC since it's inception while UNLV is still looking for wins against BYU, TCU, and Air Force off the top of my head.

    In the mean time, in a season where they were predicted to finish last in conference, Wyoming is on the brink of 6-6 with a 1st-year head coach, a true freshmen quarterback and one of the youngest, least experienced teams in the conference. They also have Athlon 3 star commitments for next year, while UNLV can't even keep the locals here. The Cowboys played Texas and TCU to first half standstills, gave Utah their toughest home game, and came back from a 21 point 4th quarter deficit on the road as a 7 point 'dog. Oh yeah, and we beat UNLV.

    Even their outgoing coach last year managed to beat Tennessee on the road. A doormat? Compared to whom? UNLV? Please...

    So typical of you and your ilk to attack the messenger while ignoring the message. That message being- UNLV's facilities, academic standards, and fans are not on a par with the rest of the Mountain West Conference. No one coach is going to "fix" UNLV football. At this point, they are a better fit for the WAC. Fact is, if Wyoming were in the same situation financially and historically, I'd be the first to argue the same for them.

  74. Johnny Avello probably thinks that Will Ferrell should get an Academy Award nomination for his work in Land of the Lost based on his odds for UNLV Coach.

    Ty Willingham is a hated man in Seattle for what he did at UW. Every practice was closed. Alumni were not invited back to be a part of the program. Could not Coach and beat in state WAZZU. Defense horrible - gives up over 500 yards on defense with over 400 in rushing yards in his last game against CAL.

    Complete joke that rivals on par with Johnny thinking that Carmen Electra is getting an Academy Award Nomination for her work in her latest sex tape.

    Get real Las Vegas Sun - I am sure that Clint Dolezel has asked to be considered for the UNLV Head Football Coach job as well. Does not mean you list him.

    Same with Nick Holt - the guy gets paid close to $1 million at Washington just to Coach Defense. Not a real candidate and is not asking to be one.

    Where are the following:
    Larry Coker - Won at Miami and wanted the job 2 years ago when UNLV was first thinking of kicking Sanford out the door
    Tommy Tuberville - Won at Auburn
    Phil Fulmer - won at Tennessee
    Gary Barnett - won at Colorado - sure has some baggage

    All 4 of these guys would not be going anywhere after getting this job. Same could be said for Glenn Mason, John L Smith as well.

    Turner Gill of Buffalo
    Spike Dikes and Mark Stoops from Arizona
    Butch Jones of CMU
    Todd Graham of Tulsa
    Al Golden of Temple
    Major Applewhite - Rice OC

    Enough of the Charlie Weis, Chris Ault crap. Listing their names makes this list look like a TMZ Reporter running after Ernest Borgnine. (oh yeah - they did chase the old man down for a photo). Lets throw some big names that you know have not a clue about where UNLV even plays their games on a list to be cute. How about doing the digging about what "powerful" UNLV donors would want. Or place a call to a Buffalo sports radio station to find out about Gill.
    Jim Fassel - huh? Does anyone even understand what this UFL is about to claim that he is a "winning" Coach in Las Vegas?

    Do you need someone from UNLV to "leak" the fact that Turner Gill should be contacted? Western Kentucky - the worst program in D1 contacted Turner Gill! So why would UNLV not reach out to him?

    Love the fact that you have a list of candidates with odds attached. But, how about doing a little more work on what is happening in other College Coaching Openings to better understand the potential of the UNLV position with a candidate. Mentioning a Bobby Hauck is a good thing, but then you make your list a joke with a mention of Fassel?

    With your list - Night at the Museum 2 for Best Picture! Johnny would make that film a 12-1 like Willingham. That is how far off base this list is.

  75. @kirkland-

    Um, what the f$%& are you talking about?

  76. Someone said UNLV's football budget is 6 million dollars...that's the reason why UNLV football has sucked for so many years.

    If the budget isn't raised higher, we'll be right back here talking about how "Coach X is the right hire" for UNLV in 2013.

  77. Major Applewhite is not the Rice OC. He was there in 2006, was OC at Alabama in 2007, and went back to Texas as the RB coach in 2008.

  78. Here's what you need to know about Hill and Fresno St. His contract expires at the end of the 2010 season. As of now, the AD has not offered any kind of extension. Based on reports from last year (when Hill was a candidate for the UW opening) there is no buyout clause in his contract.

    There is a small contingent of Fresno fans that have become somewhat "spoiled" to the success that the Dog's have enjoyed. Their only real complaint is that he's never won an outright WAC title. They've even now started to nit-pick the quality of teams that the Dogs have played and beaten.

    While I am a Bulldog fan, and would hate to see Coach Hill leave, I know he's probably just what UNLV needs. From what I've read here, at least he would be appreciated.

  79. Why can't we comment on "UNLV's Next Coach" feature? <http://www.lasvegassun.com/rebels/footba...>

    How dare Franchione get put at the top at 4:1? If UNLV hires that guy "looking for his last job" they won't get my support back...