Now that the final list of 70+ candidates for the UND job has been published, we figured it would be time to list our personal favorites to make the final round of interviews in what will probably be a final three, in our opion. The rumor out of UND is that AD Brian Faison has widdled the list down to nine “finalists” and will be conducting interviews, presumably over the phone with them this week. Without further ado, we present to you “The SFI Three”:
- Glenn Caruso. What? He didn’t apply? So what. Go check his ‘stats’. He is one of the best candidates available and that whole “applying” thing can change with one phone call from AD Brian Faison. Caruso is a hard-nosed workaholic, family-man type that will be able to come in and take charge of the program. He has won big at the D3 level (65-10 at St Thomas) and no, that does not scare us off. His turnarounds at Macalester and St Thomas were fast and sustainable. He is a recruiting ace in the Twin Cities and has the respect of the metro high school coaches in that vast recruiting hotbed. Caruso has experience in the Old-NCC with stints at NDSU and USD. The offenses he coordinated at USD with Wes Beschorner as QB were some of the best ever in school history and those same offenses gave some pretty darn good UND defenses fits. UND needs a face of the program – a boss – someone to create their own culture and get the players to buy into that culture. We believe Caruso could do that. Frankly, its going to take UND to search out Caruso and call him because he has a pretty good job down there and “cannot” apply based on backlash during recruiting season, etc.
- Bubba Schweigert – The former UND Defensive Coordinator led some of the best defenses in UND Football history. He is currently in same position at Southern Illinois with Dale Lennon. Before SIU, Schweigert was the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, going 22-21 over his four years there. He led them to the NCC title and a playoff berth in 2005. He recruited the kids that won National titles for Minnesota-Duluth and now Western Illinois Head Coach Bob Nielsen in 2008 and 2010. Schweigert, from Zeeland, ND, has the recruiting ties to the upper Midwest that are going to be needed to turn the program around and understands how UND and the state of North Dakota work. He possesses the ability to discipline, command respect and run a tight-ship. His forte is defense and we would expect a return of a formidable defense with the return of Schweigert and some heavy recruiting.
- Robin Pflugrad– We had a writeup ready on the former Montana HC / Weber State OC and now we are hearing rumors that he did not make the final nine finalists. How he can’t be in at least the ‘Final 9′ is beyond us, but it must be related to his past NCAA issues at Montana. Regardless, UND needs to make a move soon to stop the in-house exodus of players and give direction to current players and recruiting for the 2014 cycle.
There are a few other guys we are looking into but are not sold on at this point. There are a few FBS assistants that look OK on paper but have no ties to the upper midwest area whatsoever. That scares us. The guys we like have a tie to the north-land and can get recruiting up and running immediately. That is paramount at this point. The class is going to be small anyway but the new coach needs time to give it his best shot at assembling a quality class.
We hope nobody in the UND Athletic Department is planning a vacation any time soon. This needs to get done.
What are your thoughts on our final three? Any others you like better?