UPDATE (9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30) : Since this blog was updated, Indiana State coach Trent Miles has been hired to replace Bill Curry as Georgia State’s football coach.
Upon hearing this week that Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor had interviewed for a head-coaching job this week, my first guess was that he was talking to an FCS (previously Division I-AA) program.
He was. And, he wasn’t.
Lazor was interviewed by Georgia State, which competed in the Colonial Athletic Association this season but was not eligible for the conference championship, not that the Panthers would have been in the hunt, finishing 1-10.
What I didn’t know was that Georgia State is entering the second year of a two-year probationary period required for a move from the FCS level to FBS (previously Division I-A). The Panthers will be a member of the Sun Belt Conference, an FBS league, but will not be eligible for the title next year.
Georgia State, a commuter school located in downtown Atlanta, has been coached for the past three years by former Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky head coach Bill Curry.
Curry, who turned 70 last month, announced before the season that he was retiring. His record at Georgia State was 10-23.
LAZOR’S CONNECTION to Atlanta and Georgia State, in particular, is Dan Reeves, who, as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, gave Lazor a job as an offensive quality-control assistant in 2003.
It was Reeves who later recommended Lazor for the offensive coordinator’s job at Virginia under new head coach Mike London in 2010.
Reeves was hired as a consultant by Georgia State prior to the launching of the program in 2008 and presumably still has some pull with the program, although he no longer an official consultant.
Georgia State is said to have an interest in Willie Fritz, who is in his third year as the head coach at Division I-AA Sam Houston State, where he has a 28-8 record.
Sam Houston State recently played Texas A&M to a 47-28 game. Another of its losses was to Baylor, 48-23. The Bearkats have an FCS playoff game tomorrow with Cal Poly-Pomona.
Virginia Tech assistant head coach Shane Beamer also has been mentioned as a possible Georgia State target.
PRESUMABLY, VIRGINIA would want Lazor to return for a third season as offensive coordinator but there have been rumblings about multiple coaching changes at UVa.
Running backs Mike Faragalli was let go earlier this week, creating a full-time spot for two-year graduate assistant Marques Hagans, but would Hagans, a former Cavaliers’ quarterback. coach the running backs? To this point, he’s coached the wide receivers.
UVa has not announced Faragalli’s departure but it’s likely that some announcements could follow the current recruiting weekend in Charlottesville.
My hunch all along is that Virginia might have its eyes on Jon Tenuta, the defensive backs’ coach at North Carolina State, where Tom O’Brien’s staff was let go this week.
I don’t see UVa replacing either of its defensive backs coaches, Anthony Poindexter (safeties) and Chip West (corners), although Poindexter has coached running backs during his tenure.
THEORETICALLY, TENUTA could take over as defensive coordinator, a job he held at Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Tenuta was also the interim head coach when Chan Gailey was fired at Georgia Tech.
If you had to rate the job done by the various UVa assistants this season, however, you’d have to put defensive coordinator Jim Reid near the top of the list after his unit held its last nine opponents to an average of less than 340 yards per game.
That’s an impressive statistic but the UVa powers-that-be may feel they need more of an attacking defense, one that has more sacks and creates more turnovers (four interceptions this year were an all-time low).
Left to his own devices, London would be very reluctant, I think, to do anything with Reid. What’s more, Reid and defensive-line coach Jeff Hanson are long-time comrades.
Hanson’s D-line showed much improvement over the season.
Still, there are people to whom London answers, and, after a 4-8 season, it will be difficult to stand pat.
ASIDE FROM ME asking him, O’Brien told me, he had heard of no connection between Virginia and Tenuta, a UVa alum. And when Cavaliers’ O-line coach Scott Wachenheim was sent to meet with one of Faragalli’s recruits, that pretty much assured that he will be back.
I would be surprised if three-year assistant Shawn Moore, also the father of Cavaliers’ freshman Michael Moore, would be tempted by another job within the school or athletic department.
Shawn Moore, one of the top players in the program’s history, was a middle-school headmaster before joining London’s staff and might be interested in a more normal lifestyle.
Next week, if not this weekend, should be interesting.