Georgia State’s coaching search continues … and who is on my list?

Things have been mostly quiet regarding Georgia State’s search for a football coach to replace Bill Curry.

Curry announced in August that he would retire from coaching after the season. The Panthers’ season ended last week.

Cheryl Levick hired Parker Executive Search to assist in the targeting and vetting of candidates (which also circumvents Open Records Requests laws).

Georgia State’s bye week came at the end of the season, meaning most FCS schools and FBS schools are still playing.

If Georgia State is searching for a coach who is currently employed, and my take is that’s a safe bet, then it’s doubtful that Levick and/or Parker have made contact with potential clients. Though I’m sure it happens, it’s not a good practice to contact coaches whose seasons aren’t finished.

Levick has said she hopes to make the hire sooner rather than later because the next coach has a lot of recruiting to do with the move to the Sun Belt happening next year. The team has nine commitments. As much as coaches tell players to commit to the school, often times they commit because of the coach. And oftentimes the commitments that one coach secures may not be honored by the next coach because of the type of system they run on offense or defense or because they have a different personality than their predecessor or because they view that player’s talent differently than the previous coach.

So, the next coach will need to re-evaluate those commitments, as well as secure his own. Per NCAA rules, the team can sign a maximum of 25 players on February signing day, but they can also try to secure some junior college players. This might benefit the team as long as they can get them to enroll in January, which wouldn’t count against the allotment of 25.

Despite this year’s 1-10 result, the job strikes me as one with lots of potential. The team practices in a state-of-the-art facility. The team plays in the Georgia Dome (something the players love, a love that I don’t understand). The school offers enough majors so that most players can find something they are interested in pursuing. The school has a good academic reputation. The school is moving to the Sun Belt, an up-and-coming conference in football and basketball, based upon this year’s results. Lastly, the university has put together what should be an exciting schedule for fans with games at Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia and Air Force in coming years. Win one of those and the program could take off.

There are downsides as well. Though the pay package of a base of between is $400k-500k is a lot of money, salaries in college athletics continue to inexplicably increase (I say inexplicably because at the end of the day the average of wins and losses will be .500). There is very little fan support. Average attendance decreased to 12,309 this season.

Levick has said she would prefer to hire someone with previous head-coaching experience and who knows the recruiting base in the South and Atlanta. She has said she would love to find another coach with a personality like Ron Hunter’s, whom she hired as men’s basketball coach. He is fiery but positive and led the team to a 22-12 record in his first year.

A few names have been thrown out by fans. I’m going to list them in alphabetical order.

Georgia State has declined to comment on most aspects of the search. The agents of coaches I could reach have also declined to comment.

I can’t stress enough that this just a pie-in-the-sky list that is not meant to exclude any legitimate possibilities, or by their inclusion indicate that there is mutual interest. I didn’t include John Bond or Anthony Midget, coaches currently on staff, because Georgia State fans are familiar with their body of work:

Shane Beamer

Currently: Assistant head coach at Virginia Tech, where he’s been on staff since 2011.

Pros: Reputation as a solid recruiter, developed while at South Carolina and with the Hokies; familiar with the Atlanta market from his time spent as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech; seems to have a fiery personality; would bring name recognition (his dad, Frank, coaches at Virginia Tech). Georgia State officials did at least say hello to him when the team did their walk-through in Blacksburg before the James Madison game. I know because he wrote them a thank you note after their visit.

Cons: Has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator, much less a head coach; seems to be next in line to take over for his dad, Frank, in Blacksburg, so why would he leave?

My take: Doesn’t seem to satisfy Levick’s hope to hire someone with head-coaching experience. Has been a special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator. If he’s interested, and if Georgia State is interested, much may depend upon an interview and who he might hire as coordinator.

Mike Bobo

Currently: Offensive coordinator at Georgia, where he’s been on staff since 2001.

Pros: Obviously knows the South and the Atlanta market; would likely inspire Georgia State’s fan base; known for developing quarterbacks.

Cons: May be able to get a better job, if he were interested in leaving. Not all, but other coordinators for nationally ranked programs have eventually gotten head-coaching jobs at BCS schools. As much as this can be a con, he seems happy at Georgia, where he also played. Has also never been a head coach. But that may not be held against him if there was mutual interest.

Willie Fritz

Currently: Head coach at Sam Houston State, where he’s been for two years.

Pros: Good at turning around programs. Led the Bearkats to the FCS championship game last year; before than he rejuvenated Central Missouri’s program.

Cons: Name may not excite the Georgia State fan base.

Rodney Garner

Currently: Defensive line coach (with other titles) at Georgia, where he’s been on staff since 1998.

Pros: Known as a great recruiter; has helped develop numerous players for the NFL; knows Atlanta, Georgia and the South; Would bring a name that may excited Georgia State’s fan base.

Cons: Has never been a head coach. At one time, many programs were interested in hiring him in some capacity. That interest seems to have cooled in recent years for whatever reason.

Andy McCollum

Currently: Recruiting coordinator and defensive coach at Georgia Tech, where he’s on been staff for three years.

Pros: Grew up in Marietta; has been a head coach at Middle Tennessee State; has been an assistant coach at a variety of schools in the south, so he knows the market; known as a good recruiter.

Cons: May not have the name cache to excite the Georgia State fan base. Tech’s defense hasn’t exactly impressed the past three years, though it would be unfair to hold one coach, especially an assistant, responsible for that.

Rod Reed

Currently: head coach at Tennessee State, where’s in his 10th year (3rd as head coach)

Pros: Known as a good recruiter (a few players he’s landed have gone on to the NFL); knows the South and the Atlanta market.

Cons: Not likely to excite the Georgia State fan base.

Ted Roof

Currently: Defensive coordinator at Penn State, where he’s in his first year.

Pros: Roof grew up in Lawrenceville and played at Georgia Tech so he knows Georgia and Atlanta; has been a head coach, defensive coordinator or position coach at numerous places, which would satisfy Levick’s wish to hire someone with head-coaching experience; Would bring a “name” to the job.

Cons: Didn’t do well in his one stint at head coach at Duke (6-45), but few people have done well there.

Mike Sewak

Currently: Offensive line coach at Georgia Tech, where he’s been on staff since 2008

Pros: Has been a head coach at Georgia Southern, where he led the Eagles to three playoff appearances. Knows the South and the Atlanta market.

Cons: Hasn’t been a head coach on the FBS level; From a fan’s perspective, his ties to Georgia Southern, though they were long ago, may not be endearing.

Brian Scott

Currently: Offensive coordinator at Old Dominion, where he’s been on staff since 2007.

Pros: Has helped the Monarchs quickly become a power in the FCS with an offense that is among the leaders in that division in several categories; recruits the “757″ area of Virginia, one of the deepest talent producing areas in the South;

Cons: Has never been a head coach; may not bring a “name” that would excite the fan base.

Giff Smith

Currently: Defensive line coach for Buffalo Bills, where he’s been on staff since 2010.

Pros: There aren’t too many coaches who have the knowledge of Georgia that Smith would bring. He grew up in Mableton, played and coached at Georgia Southern, coached at Tulane, Georgia, Arkansas and Georgia Tech; known as a terrific recruiter and helped develop NFL talent at Tech.

Cons: Has never been a head coach. Again, that may not be held against him if there was mutual interest.

Lorenzo Ward

Currently: defensive coordinator at South Carolina, where he’s been on staff since 2009.

Pros: Was told by one coach that Ward is a Ron Hunter clone; known as a terrific recruiter; known as a good coordinator based upon the Gamecocks’ success on defense in recent years; has said you can never say no if he’s interested in the Georgia State job; played at Alabama and has also coached at Virginia among other places, so he’s familiar with the South and the Atlanta market

Cons: Has never been a head coach. Again, that may not be held against him if there was mutual interest.

– Doug Roberson, AJC and Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

72 comments Add your comment


November 15th, 2012
11:35 am

Thanks a lot Doug, interesting list. While having ties to Southern might not be endearing, it would be quite satisfying if one of their own coaches managed to make us successful at a higher level


November 15th, 2012
11:50 am

I totally agree. I think a lot of this change is in the hands of Levick and / or Parker and we certainly we will wait because the coach will be the key for the team to go forward or not.


November 15th, 2012
11:52 am

I don’t necessarily think we need a “name to excite the fan base.” Ron Hunter was a relative unknown in these parts and has done a phenomenal job. This is a very good list and I’d be happy to have most of them. I want the hire to be Lorenzo Ward, but he seems like a long shot.

Mark Blythe

November 15th, 2012
11:57 am

Joker Phillips. Period. Slam Dunk.

H. Goggins

November 15th, 2012
12:26 pm

If they want a name coach and someone who has recruited the territory, why wouldn’t they consider Tommy Bowden?


November 15th, 2012
12:37 pm

I think Ward and Fritz would both be great hires. Ward has all the intangibles but Fritz has the pedigree.


November 15th, 2012
12:37 pm

I could go for some Tommy Bowden

Doug Roberson

November 15th, 2012
12:39 pm

Bowden is an interesting possibility I didn’t consider.

Lorenzo Ward

November 15th, 2012
12:49 pm

I’m thinking about it.


November 15th, 2012
12:55 pm

Interesting list of names, and some that I am seeing for the first time. If Levick wants somebody that already has HC experience, she may have to pull somebody from the FCS ranks. David Bennett is an intriguing name that came up on PT yesterday.

I’d like to see Beamer, Ward, McCollum in that order.


November 15th, 2012
12:56 pm

What about Houston Nutt as a consideration. He has lots of head coaching experience in the region and is currently working as a sports analyst.


November 15th, 2012
1:16 pm

I have heard we don’t have the $ to pay Nutt what he would want.

Chicken Bone

November 15th, 2012
1:33 pm

Thanks Doug for the analysis! What about Steve Spurrier Jr.?


November 15th, 2012
2:25 pm

How about Ron Caragher, head coach at Univ. of San Diego. See link:

This quote is the type of stuff Cheryl Levick gets excited about: “As I talked to people around the country, I kept hearing the same things about Ron Caragher,” said Ky Snyder,USD Executive Director of Athletics. “He is a student of the game, elite class of coach, very knowledgeable, great recruiter, develops players, motivated, competitor, great family man, high character and integrity. These are the qualities you seek in a head coach and we have found them in Ron Caragher. He has had access to some of the best minds in coaching in Terry Donahue, Bob Toledo and Rich Brooks. He has been a winner his whole life and we expect that will continue at USD.”


November 15th, 2012
2:51 pm

Pat Hill Falcons O Line Coach


November 15th, 2012
3:09 pm

You guys are thinking way too much of this program, if you think some of these names listed would take this job. While this job could someday have great possibities it is at the bottom of FCS schools. There person who takes this job will probably have to be someone who is looking for their first head coaching gig. Even some of the coordinators named would never take this job because some of them are making more money as a coordinator then what this school can pay them as a head coach. Example, Mike Bobo is making more then what this school could offer him. There are some coordinators at FBS schools who are making close to a million dollars salary. So why would they leave for less?


November 15th, 2012
3:33 pm

Willie Fritz has won everywhere he has been at. I’ll take him.

Doug Roberson

November 15th, 2012
3:55 pm

footballfan: I believe Bobo is making between 400-500k at UGA; so he could conceivably make more at Georgia State, not including cost-of-living differences.


November 15th, 2012
4:09 pm

And maybe someone making the same amount of money would want the HC gig for experience. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s opportunity. Maybe he wants to move to Atlanta for whatever reason. Maybe he wants the challenge of turning a program around. Different things drive different individuals. We just need to find the right candidate for our job.


November 15th, 2012
4:12 pm

Great work, Doug. I want a proven winner and I believe Jim Leavitt would love to resurface here, build the program and put himself in position for a better job. I believer he was making $700K at USF, so although $500K is a significant pay cut. It does give him a second chance.

Mike Bobo

November 15th, 2012
4:32 pm

As of Sep 2012, I got a raise to earn $300,000 per year. An extra $200,000 per year sounds good to me!


November 15th, 2012
4:45 pm

I’ll take Fritz (the Sam Houston State Coach)…to heck with “names”…I’ll take a guy who has already rejuvenated two programs (in different geoghraphical areas). Of course we only have to be “juvenated”.


November 15th, 2012
4:58 pm

Bring him home, Cheryl!


November 15th, 2012
5:12 pm

Fritz won’t make alums stroke checks. This job is good for Bobo because he’d have some stability. He’s only on a year to year contract at UGA with a fan base that greatly under appreciates him. If Ga ever has a bad season he’s the first to go.

Panther Man

November 15th, 2012
6:42 pm

Giff Smith would be an excellent choice; Georgia ties, proven recruiter, young and hungry, NFL ties, identifies well with youth of today, known by high school coaches.

Sports Fan

November 15th, 2012
7:36 pm

What about Chris Hatcher? I think that would be a great hire!

Moobs Johnson

November 15th, 2012
7:56 pm

Hire Jerry Glanville or June Jones, would be perfect after hiring a has-been name coach with Atlanta ties like Curry.


November 15th, 2012
11:24 pm

I can see your MOOBS!


November 16th, 2012
12:04 am


November 16th, 2012
6:06 am

Brian Jean-Mary, currently on the Louisville staff. Good recruiter and coach.

c u later

November 16th, 2012
8:12 am

It appears Derick Dooley may be available after the season. I believe he is a much better coach than his record shows at UT and he may thrive in the Sun Belt Conference. He would certainly bring “class” and “integrity” to the position.

Brannigan in Dacula

November 16th, 2012
9:14 am

They should go after Mark Richt. Unfortunately, Richt isn’t remotely as ethical or moral as Bill Curry, and at best he’s a 3rd-rate coach, but he would probably win enough games to make Georgia State bowl-eligible most years.


November 16th, 2012
10:09 am

i wouldnt think arthur blank would be to happy if they hired bobby petrino, could you imagine them playing in the same house…LOL

Sluggo may be on to something...

November 16th, 2012
11:11 am

…with the name Jim Leavitt – he built USF from the ground up and did extremely well –

Absolutely HECK NO to Ted Roof and Joker Phillips

The best choice of all would be Bobby Petrino, but it is probable that an SEC school will get him, plus he may not be a good fit in Atlanta, for obvious reasons…

John Bond

November 16th, 2012
11:40 am


November 16th, 2012
11:56 am

Doug… You overlooked a big potential candidate – Glenn Spencer, co-DC at Oklahoma State. Spencer is an Atlanta native and played a Georgia Tech for Curry (he and Roof were teammates). He has been a head coach previously at West Georgia, where he went 28-7 in three seasons, winning two Gulf South Conference championships and advancing to the NCAA Division II Playoffs twice. I figure he would love to be back in the Atlanta area (he’s from Lithia Springs), where he and his two sons would be closer to family after the death of his loving wife Angela last year.

Passion of the Panther

November 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

Since most of posters are “drinking draino” with some the “potential” coaches on this list, let’s go after Saban or Miles.

It should be an easy sell … both coaches have enjoyed tremendous success at the dome and with GSU’s 100,000 alumni and media market … feel the passion for GaState football

Skinny Post

November 16th, 2012
1:50 pm

Rick Neuheisel


November 16th, 2012
2:21 pm

FIRE JOHN BOND NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Bond

November 16th, 2012
2:37 pm

Fire me as OC, so you can hire me as head coach!


November 16th, 2012
3:50 pm

I’m telling you that Houston Nutt has interviewed for the position. This isn’t a fake post or some attempt to generate conversation. I don’t know if he will accept, but I know he has interviewed this week and has been on campus. You can doubt it, but it is true. It seems like a crazy choice or possibility, but I’m telling you something that only people in the athletic department know.

The Dogfather

November 16th, 2012
5:28 pm

Bobby Petrinooooooway


November 16th, 2012
5:45 pm

I heard that Houston Nutt was on the short list also from a reliable source but its still early.


November 16th, 2012
5:47 pm

PAT HILL!!! He’s here in ATL and did wonders with Fresno State, the first mid major to make noise. Even remember an article about him where he took a voluntary pay cut when the rest of the university was also taking cuts.

Rick James

November 16th, 2012
10:09 pm

I think it would be a lateral move for Bobo and Garner and dont think it will happen..

@Flakes21 I believe you and think Houston Nutt would be perfect for the job..He’s in Atlanta every weekend for the Talking Football show on CSS so that interview could have happened.

Dudley Dawson

November 16th, 2012
10:59 pm

How about Chuck Amato, the former NC State coach? I always loved his hoarse half time interviews. Or maybe Mike Price, the only Alabama coach who never lost a game!

Dudley Dawson

November 16th, 2012
11:02 pm

Former Auburn coach Chizek???

Dudley Dawson

November 16th, 2012
11:03 pm

Jim Donnan’s available……ponzi our way to the Sugar Bowl!!!

Dudley Dawson

November 16th, 2012
11:05 pm

Fox 5’s Amanda Davis! It’s got a nice ring to it.


November 17th, 2012
2:47 am

What about Hal Mumme? Last I heard, he was cleared of any wrong-doing at Kentucky. He went to New Mexico State and didn’t get much of a chance to build anything there although they drew more fans and set all kinds of records on the offensive side of the ball. He’s now at D-III McMurry, where he basically took them from winless to the playoffs in a matter of three years. He’s definitely a “name” kind of guy and in a big market, would certainly bring attention. Plus you know it would be a pay increase. I think he definitely learned his lesson in Lexington and is pretty much loved everywhere he’s been.