By Landon Walters For the Deseret News
January is often the month that college football coaches get nervous. With the season over, schools across the country are looking to replace coaches who have been fired or moved on to a different job. An assistant coach is usually even more vulnerable to changes during this time of year as coordinators move and leave assistant coaches behind without a guarantee they will be retained by the new staff.
The coaching staff at BYU has not been immune from these changes over the past several years. The news that Robert Anae was returning to Provo as the offensive coordinator ensured that changes would be occurring on Bronco Mendenhall’s staff.
Before the Anae hiring was even confirmed, the changes began. Long time Cougar assistant Lance Reynolds announced his retirement from BYU immediately following the Poinsettia Bowl win over San Diego State. Only two weeks later, Mark Weber agreed to a contract at Utah State. The announcement that Anae had agreed to return to his old job left the remaining members of the offensive coaching staff — especially Brandon Doman — in a state of limbo.
A few days later, change came at the expense of Ben Cahoon and Joe DuPaix; these two coaches were undoubtedly BYU-type guys, but were released this week. Meanwhile, former players Garett Tujague and Mark Atuaia were hired to positions on the staff. Whether Doman stays or goes is still unsettled as National Signing Day approaches, and the offensive staff is currently going through its second massive makeover in three years.
Less than a week after DuPaix and Cahoon were released, BYU announced that former BYU receiver and current Utah receivers' coach Aaron Roderick would be making the 40-mile trip down I-15 to coach along the Cougar sidelines. The change would be short-lived however. One day later, Roderick changed his mind and returned to the Utes. Fans of both teams immediately reacted on social media.
Coaching is obviously a very difficult business, filled with stress and constant change.
Landon Walters is a history and political science major at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After being replaced as the Head Coach at BYU, Gary Crowton has worked exclusively as an offensive coordinator. Crowton has made career stops at Oregon, LSU (where he won the 2007 BCS National Championship), and Maryland. Last season, Crowton was the offensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. His team finished 6-12, missing the playoffs.
Up next: One of Crowton's offensive coordinators
Mike Borich served as offensive coordinator under Crowton during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He then moved to Tucson as the wide receivers coach at Arizona, but resigned his position less than three months after he was hired citing personal reasons. Borich passed away in February 2009 at the age of 42.
Up next: Crowton's defensive coordinator
Ken Schmidt was retained as part of Gary Crowton’s first staff following the retirement of the legendary LaVell Edwards. In his two years on staff under Crowton, he served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. In December 2002, he announced his retirement from coaching in order to “play golf, go fishing and travel to see (his) kids” who were living in different parts of the country at that time. Schmidt remains retired.
Up next: A mainstay of the Cougar football program
Barry Lamb was hired in 1994 and worked as a defensive coach at BYU under Edwards, Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall. Even though he received offers to move to an NFL team, Lamb remained loyal to the Cougars, calling BYU his “dream job.” Mendenhall announced in July 2010 that Lamb would be retiring from coaching due to health concerns. For the 2012 season, Lamb was hired at Tulane University as the linebacker and special teams coach.
Up next: The only QB who won a national title at BYU
After leading BYU to the 1984 National Championship, Robbie Bosco spent two seasons in the NFL before retiring due to injury. He was hired by LaVell Edwards in 1990 to work with the quarterbacks. He remained in that position until 2003, when he moved into an athletic department role. Bosco briefly returned to coaching — albeit as the Women’s Golf coach at BYU in 2010 — before moving back into his the Athletic Department. He is currently working with the Cougar Club and Varsity Club.
Up next: He was let go when Mendenhall took over
Mike Empey worked as a BYU coach under Gary Crowton, but was not hired as part of the new offensive staff when Bronco Mendenhall was promoted to head coach. Empey has published coaching tools and has also spent time coaching his son James’ little league football teams in American Fork.
Up next: The DB coach under Edwards, Crowton and Mendenhall
Former defensive star Brian Mitchell was hired as the defensive backs coach under Edwards, and continued in that position under Crowton and Mendenhall. Mitchell moved to the same position at Texas Tech in time for the 2006 season, where he stayed until being hired as the defensive coordinator at East Carolina University in 2010. Recently, Mitchell accepted the position of defensive backs coach at West Virginia University.
Up next: An assistant who left one year after LaVell
Tom Ramage spent 30 years as a BYU assistant under LaVell Edwards, but announced prior to the beginning of Gary Crowton’s first year as head coach that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2001 season. He remains retired.
Up next: A current Ute assistant coach
Aaron Roderick served as a graduate assistant under both Edwards and Crowton (1999-2001). Since then, Roderick worked as offensive coordinator at Southern Utah University, before being hired at the University of Utah in 2005.
Roderick accepted a job as a BYU assistant on Jan. 16, 2013, but resigned the position a day later and returned to Utah, sparking significant social media reaction.
Related: Aaron Roderick to return to Utes' staff rather than leaving for BYU
Up next: A current SUU coach
Ed Lamb served as a graduate assistant under Gary Crowton for one season before moving on from the Cougar program. He worked as the defensive coordinator at the University of Idaho, as well as the special teams coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of San Diego. In 2008, he was hired as the head coach at Southern Utah University. He has compiled a 26-29 record in Cedar City.
Up next: The man responsible for the offense during Crowton's final two years
Todd Bradford’s two years as BYU’s offensive coordinator coincided with Gary Crowton’s final two years. After he was dismissed from the staff when Bronco Mendenhall was hired as head coach, Bradford was hired to work as linebackers coach at Oklahoma State. He spent three years on staff in Stillwater before being hired as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Southern Miss. He just completed his third season with the Golden Eagles.
Up next: A former Cougar who coached a national championship team
After spending a couple years at BYU, Jeff Grimes was hired as the offensive line coach at the University of Colorado. In 2009, Grimes was hired for the same position at Auburn University, where he coached in and won the 2011 BCS National Championship. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, all assistant coaches were released when Gene Chizik was fired. Grimes has not yet been hired for a new position.
Up next: A boilermaker
Patrick Higgins was hired as part of Bronco Mendenhalls’ first staff at BYU in 2005. He was offered the position as wide receivers coach at Purdue University after the 2010 season and spent two years with the Boilermakers. During his stint with Purdue, he also served as interim offensive coordinator and interim head coach for the Heart of Dallas bowl game. Most recently this off-season, Higgins was hired as the offensive coordinator at UTEP.
Up next: A former graduate assistant
Steve McKane spent two seasons as a graduate assistant under Bronco Mendenhall, working primarily with the defensive line. He was hired as the defensive line coach at Western Illinois University in 2007, and continues in that position.
Up next: Ed Lamb's offensive coordinator
Steve Clark spent three seasons as a graduate assistant at BYU. He was hired as offensive coordinator at Southern Utah University in 2008 and while in Cedar City, he has created an explosive passing offense. Clark recently completed his fifth full season at SUU.
Up next: A former BYU cornerback turned coach
Former BYU cornerback Micah Alba was hired immediately after graduation in 2004 as a graduate assistant, where he worked with the defensive players. In February 2009, he received a job offer to be the cornerbacks coach at Fresno State University. Alba has been rumored as a possible candidate to fill the recent vacancies on the BYU staff, but it is not known whether he has interviewed or is even interested in a return to Provo.
Up next: Mendenhall took over the defense from this guy after BYU lost to USU in 2010
Jaime Hill was hired as defensive backs coach under Mendenhall in 2007 and was fast-tracked into the defensive coordinator role. However, with the defense struggling, Hill was fired in the middle of the 2010 season. It is unclear if Hill has continued to coach since he was relieved of his duties at BYU or if he has moved on to a different career path.
Up next: Another graduate assistant
Justin Anderson served as an offensive graduate assistant for two seasons under Bronco Mendenhall. He was hired as the wide receivers coach at Nicholls State University in 2010 and just recently completed his third season in that position.
Up next: A former pro who came back as a graduate assistant.
Shaun Nua served in many capacities after his NFL career. He spent time as a graduate assistant working with both the offense and the defense under Bronco Mendenhall. Nua received his first job in January 2012 when he was hired as an assistant coach at the Naval Academy.
Up next: Word is he and Anae didn't get along too well…
Lance Reynolds was a mainstay around the BYU program for more than three decades, dating back to the LaVell Edwards era. During his time on the Cougar sidelines, he coached nearly every offensive position. Reynolds announced his retirement from his position at BYU at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Up next: This guy would fit in well in Ogden, even if he does work in Logan now.
Mark Weber spent the past six seasons as the offensive line coach at BYU. Poor offensive line performance the last couple years had fans wondering if he would be a casualty of coaching changes this off-season. Rumors circulated that Weber would be fired or possibly retire from coaching, but many fans were surprised when Weber accepted the offensive line/assistant head coach position at Utah State University on Jan. 7.
Up next: The most recent change on the BYU staff.
Ben Cahoon retired from the Canadian Football League and was immediately hired to coach the wide receivers at BYU, while Joe DuPaix considered BYU a dream job for him. Both were hired in 2011 in conjunction with Brandon Doman’s promotion to Offensive coordinator. Both were released after two seasons in Provo. Neither has been announced as potential candidates for other jobs around the country at this time.
Up next: The coach who only lasted a day
Related: Atuaia, Tajague in; DuPaix, Cahoon out as BYU coaches