Former Cal Poly football head coach Rich Ellerson surveys the field at Wisconsin on Nov. 22. — Mustang Daily file photo by Andrew Santos-Johnson
Army officially made Cal Poly’s Rich Ellerson its head coach Friday.
Obviously, the job had a special place in Ellerson’s heart.
According to Army’s news release, while at Arizona, Ellerson “assisted then-Army head coach Bob Sutton in installing his ‘Desert Swarm’ defense at West Point.”
And Army athletic director Kevin Anderson said he’d “expressed strong interest in this position when it has been open in the past.”
The hire seems to be pretty well received around New York, attracting praise from media and alumni alike.
As for what Cal Poly will do, Mustangs athletic director Alison Cone on Friday told The Tribune in San Luis Obispo that she’d “already met with two candidates,” that “one current assistant on Ellerson’s staff has applied” and that “multiple candidates from major Bowl Championship Series-level schools have expressed interest.”
The Tribune also reported Cone expects “much of the current coaching staff” to accompany Ellerson — an exodus Cal Poly senior-to-be linebacker Carlton Gillespie told the newspaper he foresees, as well.
If indeed Cal Poly chooses to go with an outside candidate in light of such a development, who could it be? And who would make the most sense?
Ellerson addresses the media at a Cal Poly news conference Sept. 17, 2007. — Mustang Daily file photo by Graig Mantle
Some speculated possibilities from Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and NFL programs include, in no particular order:
— Arizona special teams coordinator/defensive ends assistant
; coached under Ellerson at Arizona as a graduate assistant in 1992, safeties coach in 1993 and defensive backs coach from 1994-95, at Southern Utah as a defensive coordinator in 1996 and at Cal Poly as a linebackers coach in 2005
— Ohio cornerbacks assistant
— played at Cal Poly from 1994-95; came back as a linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2001-03 and was the Mustangs defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 2004-05
— Navy slotbacks assistant
— played for Ellerson at Southern Utah in 1996; was Cal Poly’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2001 to 2007
— San Diego State receivers assistant
— was a cornerback on Cal Poly’s 1980 Division II national championship team and inducted into Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002; special teams and secondary coach at Cal Poly in 1992
Other names to consider
— Butte College head coach
— Granted, the competition level would be a huge step up, but he might make an interesting assistant. He played for Cal Poly from 1989-91 and returned as a defensive assistant in 1992. In 2008, Jordan was named the 2008 American Community College Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year after leading Butte to a 12-0 mark and a national title. When current Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers played for Butte, Jordan was his quarterbacks coach.
Long shots … some longer than others
— Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator
— Stewart, who coached Cal Poly’s receivers in 1993 and running backs in 1994, must have been instrumental in the Cowboys taking Mustangs safety Courtney Brown in the seventh round of the 2007 draft. He’s a California native. Perhaps the constant circus in Dallas would make someone want to leave, if Jerry Jones doesn’t overhaul the staff, anyway. Crazier things have happened … or could happen … such as …
Who do you think would be a good fit? Or would it be best to hire from within the program?