Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard announced today that the school has relieved head football coach Bill Cubit of his duties, one day after the Broncos finished the 2012 season with a 4-8 record.
Cubit, who took over as Broncos head coach in 2005 after a two year stint as Stanford offensive coordinator, posted a 51-47 record at Western Michigan and led the Broncos to three bowl games in his eight seasons as head coach.
Western Michigan experienced a great deal of success under Cubit’s leadership, but the team’s inability to make the most of their pre-season hype over the past few years—they were often picked to win the MAC West, which they never accomplished—along with the team’s 29-23 loss to an Eastern Michigan team that came into the game with a 1-9 record ultimately cost Cubit his job.
Cubit’s exit from Western Michigan leaves the school in a position in which they need to find a head coach that can lead the Broncos to the top of the MAC West. Here are four candidates that I would consider if I was in part of the brain trust that will be given the task of finding the next head coach:
Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State DC – The Spartans are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2006, but Narduzzi’s defense definitely isn’t to blame for that. Michigan State currently ranks 7th in the FBS with just 289.36 yards allowed per game, and while their 5-6 record screams struggles in all phases of the game, that just isn’t the case. Narduzzi has been noted as a top tier assistant coach, and it is clear that it is just a matter of time before he lands a head coaching job. If I was a betting man, my guess is that a job in the Mid-American Conference—which currently has five head coaches that were hired after spending time as an assistant for a Big Ten school—would be the exact starting spot for a coach like Narduzzi.
Chuck Martin, Notre Dame OC – I’d say it’s a long shot that Martin leaves Notre Dame for Western Michigan (Purdue is probably more likely), but you have to at least gauge his interest. A longtime Brian Kelly assistant, Martin replaced Kelly at Grand Valley State when Kelly left for the Central Michigan job and proceeded to win 2 Division II championships in six seasons before leaving for the Notre Dame defensive back coaching position in 2010. Now in his first season as offensive coordinator, Martin is part of a Fighting Irish squad that has an excellent shot at playing for their first National Title since 1988, which means he will definitely have many schools knocking at his door.
Tom Herman, Ohio State OC – The Buckeyes are currently 11-0 and look poised at posting their first undefeated season since 2002, and although most of the credit will go to Urban Meyer, you can’t discredit the job that Herman has done as offensive coordinator. Herman would definitely bring some excitement to a Broncos’ fanbase that hasn’t exactly had much of it lately.
Trent Miles, Indiana State HC – Miles, who has five seasons as a MAC assistant under his belt from a run with Northern Illinois in the early ‘90s, has done a good job as Sycamores, as the team has either matched or improved their record each season he has been the head coach. Although Miles’ hire won’t exactly turn heads in the college football media, it could be one that makes Western Michigan a true contender in the MAC.