Hot Seat/Cold Seat: Mountain West head football coaches

Hot Seat/Cold Seat: Mountain West head football coaches

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Hot Seat/Cold Seat: Mountain West head football coaches

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Craig Bohl – Wyoming

Wyoming coach Craig Bohl watches from the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Boise State on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 23-13. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

Seat: Lukewarm and getting warmer. Has Bohl’s tenure at Wyoming been disappointing? Depends on who you ask. Some in Wyoming will undoubtedly say yes, while some will understand the many challenges of the Wyoming job. Still, it does seems that Bohl’s program has begun to stagnate after a bit of rise. The mass exodus of transfers this offseason is also a bit concerning. From an outsider’s perspective, it would appear that Bohl’s seat is beginning to warm. A rough year in Laramie could see Bohl looking for a new job.

Brent Brennan – San Jose State

Sep 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; San Jose State Spartans head coach Brent Brennan encourages his team in the second half of the game against the USC Trojans at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Seat: Medium—or whatever directly in between hot and cold is. It’s pretty impressive how quickly the opinion shifted on Brennan over the course of one year. At the end of the 2020 season—after San Jose State had wrapped up a Mountain West title and a 7-1 record—Brennan was in the conversation for a few different Pac-12 jobs. One year later—following a 5-7 year—Brennan is more of an afterthought and was not really mentioned for any of the West Coast vacancies. Did the 2020 Spartans just catch lightning in a bottle or is Brennan actually a great coach? The 2022 season will be telling. In that light, Brennan’s job security will be pretty clear: a solid season and Brennan can choose when he leaves but a rocky season that sees even more regression from ’21 will see Brennan’s seat begin to warm—just ever so slightly. San Jose is a hard place to win—Brennan also shouldn’t necessarily be faulted for not producing a consistent Mountain West championship caliber squad.

Marcus Arroyo – UNLV

Seat: Cool but could get hot or cold very quickly. Arroyo has brought a lot of excitement to UNLV. He’s rejuvenated the program, recruited exceedingly well and helped move the team into an NFL stadium. The one thing he has yet to do? Win a bunch of games—which to this point, isn’t surprising considering with what he started with. Still, expectations are somewhat higher this year (UNLV is projected to finish 5th in the West Division) and with how last season ended (with wins vs. Hawaii and New Mexico), the Rebels are clearly hoping to build some momentum. For Arroyo, it’s prove it time. A loss to Idaho St. will send the Rebel faithful into panic mode and Arroyo’s seat will be on fire. But a good start to the year (2-3 through five games would be solid) will see Arroyo’s seat get even cooler.

Danny Gonzales – New Mexico

Oct 23, 2021; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; New Mexico Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales during the third quarter against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Seat: Cool. New Mexico is one of the hardest schools in the country to win at, plain and simple. Gonzales’ early struggles should come as no surprise then. There are signs that things may start turning around (New Mexico was 8th in 247 Sports recruiting rankings) but any sort of substantial regression would be cause for concern. On the plus side, Gonzales has kept New Mexico away from scandals and controversy for the past few years. No one in Albuquerque is likely satisfied with a three win season but if you get rid of Gonzales, who do you turn to? Gonzales’ job security is pretty safe—unless the Lobos regress to new lows.

Ken Wilson – Nevada

Seat: Cool. Another coach that is inheriting an empty cupboard, the Wolfpack are in for a big rebuild. It will not be easy replacing Norvell, who frankly overachieved in his time in Reno. Still, Wilson has an uphill battle, but the West Division—outside of SDSU and Fresno St.—isn’t overtly strong. Wilson will get a few years at the helm—at a minimum—but a surprisingly competitive squad this year would cool his seat even more.

Timmy Chang – Hawaii

Seat: Cold. Hawaii had one of the most interesting—and chaotic—offseasons in the entire country. A large chunk of the previous year’s team hopped in the transfer portal, then former head coach Todd Graham resigned, leading to a nationwide search. UH brought in one of Hawaii’s favorite sons, Timmy Chang, to return the Rainbow Warriors to their former glory. UH is taking somewhat of a risk here—Chang has no head coaching experience—but the four-year deal he signed shows UH is willing to grow with Chang. Unless Chang is completely lost, he’ll be at the helm for the foreseeable future.


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