MAC West Coaching Analysis & Hot Seat Status
Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren
Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren
Posted Mar 31, 2012

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

2012 MAC West 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 East 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 MAC's 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. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
A nice quarterback for Michigan State, he hasn't been able to build on what Brian Kelly and Butch Jones put together. While a rebuilding job needed to be done, the program has slipped over the last two years with two 3-9 campaigns and a shockingly bad 2011. The defense hasn't done anything, but Enos is an offensive head man. His passing game was fine, but the Chippewas are having problems scoring.

Hot Seat Status: Central Michigan isn't exactly Ohio State when it comes to expectations, but considering this was the MAC's power program for four year and went 12-2 in 2009, 6-18 in two seasons isn't going to cut it. Enos doesn't have to win a MAC title, but he needs to come up with a positive season and signs that things are moving forward. CMU has to look like there's a chance of being special again.

5. Matt Campbell, Toledo
Tim Beckman took off for Illinois and Toledo looked around for a little bit before deciding to promote from within. Campbell is only 32 years old and doesn't have any head coaching experience, but he was able to step in as an interim and lead the Rockets to a win over Air Force in the Military Bowl. One of the main offensive minds behind Toledo's tremendous success, his attacks should shine from the start and he knows the team and the program well enough to keep producing without skipping a beat.

Hot Seat Status: The expectations are going to be high from the start. Toledo isn't settling for mediocrity anymore, and after two years of bowls and success under Beckman, and with a strong team returning, Campbell needs to come up with a winning season

4. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
He was given the impossible task of taking one of the worst programs in college football and trying to do something with it. No one could produce at a place that had one winning season since 1989, but English was going to give it a try. After a 2-22 start, he seemed ready to be added to the list of EMU coaches who tried and failed. While going 6-6 with most of the wins coming against teams like Howard, Alabama State, Akron and Buffalo might not seem like anything special, it was parade time for the Eagles. All of a sudden, EMU has a defense, the rushing offense worked, and the team was competitive with its last three losses coming by a combined 14 points. 44 when the seasons starts, English is young, talented, and finally starting to see results.

Hot Seat Status: The 6-6 season bought him at least a year if things go back in the tank. He proved that EMU can be decent, and he also showed the ability to crank up the defense with the team improving as the season went on. Very smart and very confident, he's trying to will this team to being good. It's getting closer.

3. Pete Lembo, Ball State
Tremendous in his five years at Lehigh - going 44-14 with two Patriot League titles – and 35-22 at Elon, he got a shot to take over a Ball State program that went back to being Ball State after Brady Hoke took off to San Diego State. Lembo kicked off his era with a win over Indiana and came up with a win at Ohio on the way to a 6-6 season that stopped the program's slide. The defense was the second-worst in the nation and the offense was merely average, but he was able to pull off enough wins to be bowl eligible while throwing a scare in eventual MAC champion Northern Illinois.

Hot Seat Status: Turning 42 this season, Lembo is a high-rising prospect who might be on the Hoke plan with one big year. His only losing season in 11 years came in his first campaign at Elon, and even then he went 5-6. Ball State will want to keep him for a while.

2. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Only 59 this football season, Cubit is still relatively young with a lot of coaching life left in him. His passing games have ripped up the MAC for years, and there are no signs of slowing down. While he has yet to get the Broncos to get over the hump and into the MAC title game, they've finished second in the MAC West over the last seven years and have always been competitive with three bowl appearances and a solid 47-39 record. He has to come up with a few more key conference wins and he's 0-3 in bowl games, but under his reign Western Michigan is an established player in the MAC world.

Hot Seat Status: Has the program hit a ceiling? Cubit has done a nice job and his two losing seasons were a not-that-bad 5-7, but soon there might be a thought that it's time to find someone who can do a little bit more. Even so, he's not on any sort of a hot seat and can survive a dud year.

1. Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois
After years of Northern Illinois coming really, really close to winning a MAC title, only to come up just short, Doeren was the one who got the job done. Just 40 years old going into the season, he's a young, no-nonsense head coach who worked with the linebackers at Kansas under Mark Mangino before guiding the Wisconsin defense. Considering his defensive background, his Huskies weren't exactly up to snuff last year, but he took a page from the Badger offense and helped crank out a terrific running attack while utilizing the talents and skills of QB Chandler Harnish. Very, very hot, DeKalb might not be able to keep him around for too much longer.

Hot Seat Status: It was a wee bit of a shocker that Kansas didn't offer Doeren the job instead of Charlie Weis, but with one more big year there could be an even bigger job with his name on it. He's probably one more job away from being a destination head coach at an elite program.
MAC East Coaching Analysis & Hot Seat Status