COLUMN: Bohl checks all the boxes, but won’t be heading to East Lansing
LARAMIE -- Joe Tiller to Purdue.
Bob Devaney to Nebraska.
Fred Akers to Texas.
Dennis Erickson to Washington State.
Pat Dye to Auburn.
Yes, just mentioning a few of those moves makes even the most casual Wyoming fan release an extended sigh. Oh, what could have been, right?
When reports surfaced this week that Craig Bohl could be a candidate to replace Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, those same feelings came to the surface. Only this time around, we have social media.
I was asked almost immediately -- is Bohl a fit in East Lansing?
Yes, yes he is.
I covered Michigan State football from 2017-18 for the Lansing State Journal. That was a trying time in Mid-Michigan. The repercussions of allegations of sexual assault in athletics and a rogue doctor named Larry Nassar are still being felt. Likely will for a long, long time.
For Nassar's survivors, forever.
Monday, Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell became the latest candidate to turn down MSU. Once thought of as a the favorite to take over for Dantonio, Fickell pointed to "campus culture" as a reason he decided to decline the opportunity to jump to the Big Ten.
Fickell joins a growing list of coaches that are not coming to East Lansing.
So, why would Bohl be a good fit?
First off, he's a winner. Bohl has compiled a career record of 140-72. He also has three National titles under his belt during a decade of dominance at North Dakota State. He took over a tough task at Wyoming and led the Cowboys to a Mountain Division title in 2016.
Secondly, if Wyoming fans know anything about Bohl it's this -- he doesn't put up with off-field issues. He is a man of integrity. That, along with the winning, is why Bohl's name pops up on the radar of search firms like the one MSU is using right now.
Could MSU use a "Craig Bohl" running its program? Definitely.
Will the man himself be the next guy in East Lansing? No.
Let's be realistic here, Bohl would not be an easy sell to the Spartan faithful. He's 61 years old and has compiled a 36-40 record in Laramie. Fans want to hear about winning, not that a coach is here to clean up the culture. That's important -- and a must for MSU's next head coach -- but it doesn't bring an excitement factor.
Bohl is also known for having a long-term plan. He builds programs from the ground up, never going for the quick fix and rarely going the junior college route. MSU is losing a ton of talent to graduation. Make no mistake, this is as close to a rebuild as it gets.
And to compound that, the Big Ten East is filled with heavy hitters Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. Yes, those three will be on the schedule every season.
You think that fanbase will have the patience Wyoming has shown? Not a chance.
Lastly, and likely to be forgotten and overlooked, the Cowboys are finally fitting the Bohl mold. He has a roster in Laramie littered with his guys. Wyoming should be a favorite in the Mountain West next season and Bohl is being paid handsomely, top three in the league.
Would MSU pay more? Absolutely. Money is no object with schools of that caliber, but would Bohl really want to start from scratch? And in a pressure cooker like that?
On Sept. 5, when Weber State pays a visit to War Memorial Stadium, expect Bohl to be standing on the home sideline, beginning what could be a special season in Laramie.
Should MSU "kick the tires" on Bohl? Yes, he deserves the recognition for a great career.
That's one of the many reasons Wyoming is so lucky to have him.