OGDEN — Who will be the next head football coach at Weber State University?
It's a question WSU fans have been asking for the last few weeks — ever since Ron McBride announced on Nov. 8 that he would be stepping down from the Wildcats' top job effective at the end of the 2011 season.
And it's a question that WSU athletic director Jerry Bovee hopes to answer within the next few days.
"Our goal was to have our selection made by next week, so we could be out in front of recruiting," said Bovee, who took over as Weber State's AD a little over two years ago and will be making his first major hire at the WSU helm. "I hope it's a lot clearer by next week."
Bovee realizes his next hire is a highly critical step in the progress of Weber State's football program. McBride spent seven seasons at the school, compiling a 43-38 overall record and a 34-21 mark in Big Sky Conference play.
And although the Wildcats slipped to a 5-6 slate this season, the pieces are in place for Weber State to stage a strong showing next year, as starting quarterback Mike Hoke, most of his top receivers and a bevy of stellar running backs will all be returning in 2012.
"Coach McBride left this program in a very good place," Bovee said. "And now my job at Weber State is to hire the best coach and the best fit for this program, someone who can hit the ground running."
Bovee said he has received applications or interest from between 40 and 50 candidates to replace McBride, who guided the Wildcats to a Big Sky Conference championship in 2008 and to back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision playoff berths in 2008-09.
And not only have a lot of coaches expressed interest in the WSU job — he would not divulge any names that were on the list — but the quality of those candidates has been very impressive, according to Bovee.2 comments on this story
"The interest level in Weber State has been almost overwhelming. It's a very popular job," Bovee said. "Our football job is viewed as one that's very desirable by a lot of people. I expected to have a lot of people interested in the job, but the breadth of candidates who have applied for this job is probably a little better than I expected it to be. The pool of candidates has been very, very strong."
And within a week or so, one of those candidates will take over the Wildcats' reins — making him the ninth head coach in Weber State history.