Will it be Ken Niumatalolo, Kalani Sitake or some mystery candidate no one is talking about? Will they be able to recruit all the best LDS and instate kids or will some slip through the cracks? Will the program have the same success or will it take a hit now that Bronco Mendenhall is gone? Will they lose recruits with a new staff or will the new coaches be convincing enough to hold onto the kids who have already committed?
While these are the questions being asked by most Cougars fan during this time of transition, I am not one of them.
I have different questions in mind.
What is the best staff that BYU can build? Who would make the Cougars a national power? Who could they land if money wasn’t an option? Who would be the best recruiters?
In a world dominated by fantasy sports, I can’t help but think about a fantasy BYU coaching staff. A group of coaches with BYU ties who could carry the Cougars to the forefront of college football.
Here is a look at my BYU coaching staff dream team.
If landing a big name coach if paramount, Reid is the guy. He has by far the biggest name of anyone who fits the Cougar mold. He has been a very effective head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas Chiefs for 16 years with a record of 153-110-1. He led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars and spent his first year as a coach on the staff as a graduate assistant.
Others considered: LaVell Edwards, Mike Holmgren
The Washington State head man is one of the best offensive minds in the college game today. His teams always put points on the board and his quarterbacks always put up huge numbers during his time with the Cougars and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
How he’s connected: He went to school at BYU during one of the best stretch of football the Cougars ever had.
Others considered: Norm Chow, Gary Crowton, Steve Sarkisian
While there were plenty of great options here, Bevell’s NFL experience makes him the clear choice. He spent six seasons coaching quarterbacks with the Green Bay Packers before he moved on to the Minnesota Vikings as the offensive coordinator.
He was also a great college quarterback who won a Rose Bowl with the Wisconsin Badgers.
How he’s connected: While he didn’t play for or coach for the Cougars, he is a member of the church.
Others considered: Ty Detmer, Robbie Bosco, Brandon Doman
Who better to teach BYU running backs how to be great than arguably the best back in school history. He was the 2001 MWC Offensive Player of the Year, a consensus All-American and the only Doak Walker winner in program history after he totaled 1,596 yards and 24 touchdowns on 8.1 yards per carry.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars from 1999-2001.
Others considered: Mark Atuaia, Lance Reynolds
Sheppard has done just about everything in the coaching world on the offensive side of the ball, including spending time coaching wide receivers and quarterbacks. He has also been an offensive coordinator and a college head coach. The college wide receiver spent his first two decades of coaching in the college game before he moved on to the NFL, where he has coached wide receivers for the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars.
How he’s connected: He was a graduate assistant under LaVell Edwards for the Cougars in 1977-78.
Others considered: Austin Collie, Guy Holliday, Aaron Roderick
While he has spent much of his time of late as an offensive coordinator, Anae spent most of his coaching years working with the offensive line. He was the offensive line coach at Boise State, UNLV, Texas Tech and Arizona.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars from 1981-1984 and coached at BYU three different times.
Others considered: Garett Tujague, Jeff Grimes, Trevor Matich
The tight end position has been almost nonexistent for the Cougars receiving game for the last number of years. Who better to restore a prominent place than former Cougar and NFL head coach in Brian Billick. As well as being an all-conference tight end with the Cougars, he coached tight ends for 10 years in college and the NFL.
How he’s connected: He played for BYU from 1974-76 and was a graduate assistant in 1978.
Others considered: Todd Heap, Chad Lewis
Before he took over as the head coach for the University of Utah, Whittingham had great success as the Utes’ defensive coordinator for a decade under Ron McBride and Urban Meyer. Even as a head coach, his teams have been known for what they do on defense.
How he’s connected: He players for the Cougars from 1978-1981 and was a graduate assistant in 1985-86.
Others considered: Bronco Mendenhall, Kalani Sitake
Ties to the NFL and an understanding of what it’s like to be a Cougar are two keys factors to making this staff, and Keisel has both. After leaving the Cougars, he had a very successful 12-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he made a Pro Bowl and won two Super Bowls.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars from 1997-2001.
Others considered: Steve Kaufusi
While he played fullback with the Cougars, he has spent most of his coaching career working with the linebackers. In fact, he was over the linebackers at the University of Utah for 10 years, including when he was the defensive coordinator
How he’s connected: He played for BYU from 1997-2000 and was a graduate assistant in 2002.
Others considered: Rob Morris, Todd Shell
Mendenhall knows how the Cougars work and had plenty of success working in the secondary before he came to BYU. Before his was a head coach or a defensive coordinator, Mendenhall spend more than a decade as a defensive backs coach for New Mexico, Oregon State, Northern Arizona and Snow college.
How he’s connected: He was the head coach of the Cougars from 2005-15 and the defensive coordinator in 2003-04.
Others considered: Tom Holmoe, DeWayne Walker, Brian Mitchell
Sikahema would be a great fit on the BYU staff for his knowledge od special teams and his ability to recruit. He was a standout running back and return man during his time at BYU, and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection as a return man in the NFL.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars from 1980-81 and 83-85.
Others considered: Paul Tidwell, Kelly Poppinga, Barry Lamb
The most recognizable face in BYU football history would be the perfect fit to convince recruits what being a Cougar is all about. He had great success during his time at BYU and followed it up with a Hall of Fame NFL career.
How he’s connected: He played for the Cougars from 1980-83.
Others considered: LaVell Edwards