MAC East Coaching Analysis & Hot Seat Status
Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell
Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell
Posted Mar 31, 2012

If you needed a coach to take over your program, which MAC East coach would fit?

2012 MAC East Coaches

The Hot Seat Factor

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East   Akron | Buffalo | BGSU | Kent St | UMass | Miami | Ohio
West  Ball State | CMU | EMU | NIU | Toledo | WMU

MAC West Coaching Analysis & Hot Seat Status

Picture this. You're a beleaguered athletic director with an opening at the top of the football organizational chart. Your checkbook is open, and your fan base is glaring at you with unwavering anticipation. Which of the SECs current head coaches would you put in charge of the program for the next five or so years? Knowing that your own job hangs in the balance, to which man would you entrust your future?

This is NOT necessarily a ranking of how good the head coaches are. This is a ranking based on who would be best to take over a program and build it up, so age is a major factor. A coach might be legendary, but he might not have another five years of greatness left. So with that in mind, who are the top candidates to run your program?

6. Frank Solich, Ohio
The only issue is age. He'll turn 68 at the start of the football season and isn't likely to be the type of coach to build things around for the next five years. Even so, he has found a second life in Athens after being booted out of his Nebraska job where he won 58 games in five years with three Big 12 North title, a conference championship, and a national title appearance. He has made Ohio the MAC's most consistent power with three East titles and four bowl appearances in seven years, but he can't bring home a conference championship. Even so his teams have been sound, solid, and productive.

Hot Seat Status: None. There was an issue with a DUI in 2005, but he wasn't canned for it. After the success he has had and at his age, he'll retire on his own terms and could go out on top if he can finally bring home a MAC title.

5. Charley Molnar, Massachusetts
It'll be up to Molnar to take UMass into the new MAC world and make it competitive right away. The former Notre Dame offensive coordinator knows the MAC having coached quarterbacks at Kent State, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Central Michigan, and now the well-traveled coach has found a home. This is his first time running a program, and turning 51 this summer, he has the fire and the attitude to make the program his with a fun offense and good passing attacks,

Hot Seat Status: The expectations aren't all that high and he'll get at least three years to show what he can do. He hasn't coached in one spot for more than two years since his six-year assistant stint at Kent State, and he has finally found a home.

4. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green
Bowing Green was supposed to be a cup-of-coffee stop for Clawson, who was seen as the next-big-thing coach on the Urban Meyer fast track to greatness. He was sensational at Richmond, taking the program from 0-11 to three conference titles, but his offenses haven't been able to get the job done in BGSU. While the numbers have been fine, his running games haven't worked and the defenses haven't done nearly enough. Even so, he's still in the mix for other jobs and is still considered as a decent name for non-BCS job openings. With a 72-72 career record and a 14-23 run since taking over Bowling Green, he needs to come up with a special year to generate a buzz again.

Hot Seat Status: Bowling Green doesn't ask for much. He doesn't have to come up with MAC titles, but the Falcons have to be in the hunt. This isn't exactly a make-or-break year, but he'll be in trouble if it's a clunker. On the flip side, one huge year will make him a hot name.

3. Don Treadwell, Miami University
On offensive coach who helped make Cincinnati and Michigan State rock before taking over the MU job, Treadwell struggled in his first season, but the team was close to coming up with a nice record. The 2010 team managed to win every close game on the way to the MAC title, and last year's team managed to lose every nail-biter going 1-4 in games decided by seven points or fewer including the last three games of the season. Treadwell's passing game was outstanding and efficient, the defense wasn't all that bad, and in a lot of ways the team was better than the 2012 version. He's a rising coach who could quickly be a hot name if those close losses start going the other way.

Hot Seat Status: There isn't a ton of pressure on his shoulders going into the season, but 2013 could be a problem if he goes 4-8 again. Everything is in place to make a quick turnaround, and he's a good coaching prospect who should get time to make the RedHawks strong again.

2. Darrell Hazell, Kent State
Can he make Kent State a winner? The program has just one winning season since 1987 and two since 1977, but Hazell knows Ohio and was a proven assistant over the last decade at West Virginia, Rutgers, and Ohio State; he knows what winning programs are supposed to do. However, considering he's a sharp offensive mind, there's a ton of work to do after finishing second-to-last in the nation in total offense. It was the defense that saved the day on the way to a decent 5-7 season. He might still need a while, but he's a good coaching prospect and was a nice get for KSU.

Hot Seat Status: Close doesn't really count at Kent State anymore. The program has been starving for a winner and is desperate to create a buzz around the program. The Golden Flashes went 5-7 in the two years before Hazell took over, and while he can afford a few rough years, there has to be hope on the horizon.

1. Terry Bowden, Akron
It's not exactly a move back to the big-time, but after a terrific three-year run with 29 wins and three D-II playoff appearance he's trying to take a step back up. Akron has hit the skids since winning the MAC title in 2005, and was a complete and utter disaster under Rob Ianello going 2-22 over the last few seasons. Bowden is a big enough name and a good enough coach to restore the glory in a hurry, and don't be shocked if he makes Akron relevant again soon. He's still young, and he has something to prove.

Hot Seat Status: Compared to being at Auburn, where he went 46-12-1 in the first five years before getting canned after a 1-5 start to the 1998 season, Akron is a walk in the park. If all goes according to plan, he's a rent-a-coach, sticking around for a few years and building the program back up before getting a chance to show that he really is a top-shelf coach.  

MAC West Coaching Analysis & Hot Seat Status