Yesterday was way too familiar for my taste.
It was almost like Deja vu, here we go again. Exactly one year to the day, this Arkansas State Football team had to endure yet another coaching change.
After going 10-2 last year and going undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play, Hugh Freeze departed Arkansas State on December 4th to coach the Ole Miss Rebels.
After going 9-3 this season and winning their second straight conference championship, Gus Malzahn departed on December 4th to coach the Auburn Tigers.
While coaching is great, it may be just a little overrated.
Let's not forget it's this talented group of players that won those games, made the plays to win the game and put their heart and soul into this program.
If a player decides to transfer he has to sit out a year. Maybe we need this rule for college coaches. ?Don't get me wrong I can understand that football is a business, but for goodness sakes think about these young men that will soon be going through their fourth head football coach in four years.
Arkansas State needs to find someone who wants to be the Red Wolves Head Football Coach, someone who won't use the position for a stepping stone.
My question to you is the answer to the Red Wolves problems currently within the football program.
Hiring a high profile name is great, good publicity for the coach and the school, but what about finding someone who wants to be here for the long term.
There are two choices currently on this football team that deserve at least an interview for the position.
Rhett Lashlee the offensive protege of Gus Malzahn, definitely possesses the "It" factor.
He has a charismatic personality and can unite this team and fan base in it's time of need. He would run the same offense and while young, may desire the opportunity to run his own program.
One current player smiled when asked, if he thought the next head coach at Arkansas State was currently on the staff.
"There are two guys that could definitely do it," the player added. "I think Coach Lashlee would stay, if given the head coaching position."
That same player also noted that he thought John Thompson would be fun to play for.
"Either of those guys would keep this team together," "We need stability, we need and want someone who wants to be here. I think either coach would keep a lot of things the same, it would be an easier transition for us."
While there is a lot of speculation that Coach Lashlee may join Malzahn in Auburn, the possibility of running his own program might be enough to keep the young coach and his family in Jonesboro.
There is another solution to the problem that currently faces this program.
Veteran defensive coordinator and former college head coach John Thompson would keep this team together.
Thompson, an Arkansas native, recently told a friend that he was tired of moving, that he loved it at Arkansas State and hoped to stay in Jonesboro for the rest of his career. That was said before Malzahn's quick departure.
Thompson, a vibrant personality in his own right would be a great transition for this team, keeping the same type of systems and keeping the players having fun on the field.
"John Thompson is the answer," One college coach said. "He is who Arkansas State needs. He has a true love and passion for Jonesboro. I could see him being very successful at ASU."
This football team deserves a leader, a coach and a teacher that wants to be a part of this program throughout their college career.
Ask any defensive player on the ASU football team and they will tell you how much fun they have playing for him.
So my question to you AStateNation is the answer to Arkansas State's vacancy lying within the program already. ?Hopefully the Arkansas State administration will give these two coaches an opportunity to present their case.
It's safe to say that the Arkansas State Athletic program is in good hands with Dr. Chuck Welch, Dr. Tim Hudson and new Athletic Director Terry Mohjir, I'm expecting good things from them in the near future.