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November 28, 2012

Meet the candidates, part two

BroncoBlitz.com staff spent much of the last few days compiling what we believe to be a comprehensive list of possible replacements for coach Bill Cubit.

Late last night, BroncoBlitz.com officially released a list of some of our most likely candidates to be the next head football coach at Western Michigan. In part two, we'll examine a few coaches that we think might potentially be lesser known candidates, or "dark-horses" in the race.

As a reminder, we've taken each coach and assigned them a rating of 1-5, with 5 representing who we feel are the most likely candidates for the job. The rating doesn't necessarily reflect how well they would perform as head coach, but rather the likelihood that they will be the next head coach.

Without further ado...

Kent State Offensive Coordinator Brian Rock

Rock was an assistant coach at Western Michigan for more than decade, including a five-year stint as offensive coordinator between 1999-2004. During that time span, he produced two 1,000-yard wide receivers in Greg Jennings and Kendrick Mosley, en route to two MAC West championships under former head coach Gary Darnell.

Earlier this week, it was rumored that Brian Rock was seen in the Kalamazoo area. But those rumors were denied by the Kent State Athletic Department earlier Wednesday morning.

Rock is currently in his second year as offensive coordinator at Kent State, and is believed by many to be a strong candidate for a potential future opening at either Kent State (Darrell Hazell departure) or his alma mater Bowling Green (Dave Clawson departure).

Rating: 3/5

Northwestern Offensive Coordinator Mick McCall

Earlier this week, a reliable source told BroncoBlitz.com, "Don't be surprised if the Northwestern offensive coordinator doesn't enter the mix." That has since moved McCall up in our rankings one spot.

McCall currently engineers a spread offense at Northwestern under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and ran a very similar offense at Bowling Green between 2003-2007, which leads us to believe that this pairing could be a good fit for the Broncos.

Furthermore, there's a chance that McCall and Western Michigan President Dunn have crossed paths at some point previously, having both spent time in Corvallis, Oregon in the late 1980's. If President Dunn is involved in the search like many think he might be, then there's a potential connection there that cannot be ignored.

Rating: 3/5

Michigan Secondary Coach Curt Mallory

Mallory has several significant ties to the Mid-American Conference, having coached at Akron, Ball State, and Central Michigan. He's a midwest guy through and through and having spent time at the University of Michigan, he is certainly aware of the Western Michigan football program.

So much so that a source close to BroncoBlitz.com singled Mallory out as "someone on the Michigan coaching staff that has expressed interest in the job." Although it may not be a mutual interest among both parties, it would make sense considering all of the logical tie-ins.

Rating: 2/5

Duke Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles

Knowles is another intriguing candidate that is a bit of a wild card. He's a Philadelphia native with strong ties to the east coast and was head coach at Cornell for six years compiling an overall record of 26-34.

Knowles was Western Michigan's defensive line coach (1997-2000) and defensive coordinator (2001-2002). During that time span, he coached MAC Defensive Player of the Year and NFL 1st round draft pick, Jason Babin. In 2002, Western Michigan led the Mid-American Conference in overall defense, and ranked 28th nationally.


Notre Dame Offensive Coordinator Chuck Martin

Although he is widely regarded amongst the BroncoBlitz.com staff as a long-shot for the position, Chuck Martin's experience and background simply cannot go ignored. Martin has made stops at nearby Grand Valley State, Eastern Michigan, and is now the current offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

Martin was the head coach at Grand Valley State for six seasons (2004-2009) and had an impressive overall record of 74-7, having won five GLIAC Championships and two Division II National Championships following his successor Brian Kelly. He's got great Midwest ties and is a metro-Chicago native. However, he's likely to get more phone calls than just Western Michigan following the Irish' inevitable appearance in the BCS National Championship game this January.

Rating: 1/5

Oklahoma State Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken

Monken is currently the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. The obvious compatibility here is the Cowboys' open offense that was an explosive model of success for the rest of the nation through quarterback Brandon Weeden.

He's a well-known coordinator in the college football world and has several Midwest connections including having coached at places like Grand Valley State and Eastern Michigan back in the 90's. Another Chicago native, the Broncos could look to lure him closer to his hometown and Midwestern roots. However, that could be somewhat of a long-shot considering he's making over $600,000 currently in Stillwater.

Rating: 1/5

Miami (FL) Wide Receivers Coach George McDonald

Interestingly enough, our next candidate served on the same coaching staff as Bill Cubit at Stanford in 2004. Having been a former 4-year wide receiver at the University of Illinois, George McDonald has an extensive background as an offensive-minded coach.

McDonald was a graduate assistant at Ball State (2000), assistant coach at Northern Illinois (2001-2003), and reunited with Bill Cubit's spread offense at Western Michigan in 2005-2006 as the team's wide receivers coach. He's just 36 years old, so if he's wanting to take the next step in his career and actively looking, Western Michigan would make some sense considering all of his ties to the program.

Rating: 1/5

Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder

Bobby Wilder is most well-known for taking on one of the toughest challenges in the country; resurrecting a football program that hadn't been established for nearly six decades. In his first four seasons at Old Dominion, Wilder has recorded an overall record of 37-9.

Most impressive, is probably Wilder's ability to recruit and develop talent. In just their second season of eligibility, Wilder led the Monarchs to a Colonial Athletic Association division championship. The bad news for Broncos fans hoping to lure him to Kalamazoo is that Wilder recently agreed to a ten-year contract extension through the year 2021, making him an extreme long-shot at the position.

Rating: 1/5

Wayne State head coach Paul Winters

Paul Winters is a name that has come up more than once in the Western Michigan rumor mills. He has roughly 20 years of coaching experience in the Mid-American Conference and is an Akron native. Winters was contacted by Akron back in 2011 for the opening, however he declined the opportunity.

Winters is the current head coach at Wayne State University and has been extremely successful building a program that once struggled mightily. His success at Wayne State has been relatively modest as of late, which might get him to thinking while his name is still hot. Winters' overall head coaching record at Wayne State now stands at 53-48.

Rating: 1/5

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