The Candidates (?)
The official announcement that Louisiana is searching for a new football coach will come tomorrow in a press conference at the Cox Communications Athletic Center.
Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Farmer will head the search for the Athletics Department, with assistance from outgoing Athletics Director David Walker.
And, ESPN1420 has been hard at work, using our sources to figure out who might be on the Cajuns' radar, and vice versa.
Our sources tell us that there is widespread interest in the job, and it's now the job of the Athletics Department to sort through resumes and identify the four or five candidates where mutual interest indicates a formal interview is warranted.
Here are some names to keep in mind......in no particular order.
MARK HUDSPETH-PASSING GAME COORDINATOR/MISSISSIPPI STATE
Hudspeth came to Mississippi State from the University of North Alabama, where he spent seven seasons as head coach at the University of North Alabama, where he was 66-21, including three trips to the National Semifinals. He has also served as offensive coordinator at the United States Naval Academy. Hudspeth was considered to be a strong candidate for the job at ULM a year ago, but financial considerations for assistant coaches reportedly was a sticking point. He has also coached at Delta State, Central Arkansas and Nicholls State. (photo courtesy of mstatesthletics.com)
JOE DEFOREST: ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH/OKLAHOMA STATE
GUNTER BREWER: WIDE RECEIVERS COACH/OKLAHOMA STATE
Age: DeForest: 45, Brewer: 46
Both reportedly have an interest in the job. DeForest is no stranger to Louisiana fans, having played for the Ragin' Cajuns. He's been at OSU for ten years and has a reputation of being a very strong recruiter. The knock on DeForest will be his lack of coordinator experience. He's never been a head coach on any level.
Brewer, meanwhile, is the son of former Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech head coach Billy Brewer. Brewer was the co-offensive coordinator at OSU for two seasons before moving to the WR spot this year under Dana Holgorsen. He also has head coaching experience at the junior college level.
Holgorsen, incidently is a name that was on the Cajuns' radar, but appears to have no interest. (photos courtest OKState.com)
JEFF MONKEN--HEAD COACH/GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Monken is a Paul Johnson disciple and that means his teams run the option. The Eagles only threw it just over 100 times in 11 games this year. Monken is having a solid first season at 8-4 and has advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. They will meet William and Mary next week. Monken knows UL Sr. Assoc. AD Scott Farmer well. GSU is Farmer's Alma Mater. Timing may be an issue here, as Monken has only been at GSU for one year and may not want to make a move just yet. Ironically, Monken's defensive coordinator is Brent Pry, who held the same position under former UL Head Coach Rickey Bustle. Update: Monken has said he is staying at Georgia Southern. (photo courtesy georgiasoutherneagles.com)
J.C. HARPER--HEAD COACH/STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE
Harper has resurrected a Lumberjacks program that was on life support when he took over. He won only six games in his first three seasons, including 0-11 in his first year. In fact, after three years, his record was 6-27, the same as Jerry Baldwin at UL. But last year, the 'Jacks broke through with a Southland Conference Title and led his team to the second round of the FCS playoffs. This year, SFA was 9-2 and won the Southland again. They will face Villanova this week in round two of the FCS playoffs. His only full time position in the FBS, however, has been at Western Michigan, although he served as a Grad Assistant at two major programs. (photo courtesy sfajacks.com)
BURTON BURNS--ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH/RUNNING BACKS COACH/ALABAMA
Burns is no stranger to Louisiana, having been an assistant at Southern University back in the 80's and spent four years with Tommy Bowden at Tulane, including the Green Wave 12-0 season. He followed Bowden to Clemson, where he spent eight seasons before joining Nick Saban at Alabama four years ago. Played his college football at Nebraska. (photo courtesy rolltide.com)
BRIAN JENKINS--HEAD COACH/BETHUNE-COOKMAN
Jenkins is certainly no stranger to UL, having served as the Cajuns' running backs coach before leaving after the 2008 season to take an assistant position at Rutgers. Jenkins just finished his first season as Head Coach of Bethune-Cookman and led his squad to a 10-1 record, losing only to South Carolina State in the season finale with a third string quarterback. Jenkins team faces New Hampshire this weekend in the FCS playoffs. Timing might not be right here, but Jenkins was popular during his time at UL and shouldn't be discounted as a possible candidate. (photo courtesy b-cuathletics.com)
Other names might be mentioned, but we believe these are the candidates the Cajuns will look the hardest at. We'll find out how close we were in the next week or two.