Which Mountain West Head Coaching position is the most valuable?
Photo: Boise State Athletics
Article by WestCoastCFB
If every Mountain West Head Coaching position was open, which one would coaches find to be the most desirable? Factors in this ranking include program location, winning tradition, administration, facilities, stadium environment, ability to attract talented recruits and money from donors among other considerations. Keep in mind that this is a fluid ranking and can change on a yearly basis. This is a snapshot of where things stand in January 2021.
1. Boise State
Boise State remains the class of the Mountain West. With 13 ranked seasons since 2002, the Broncos boast a rich history of success that is unmatched by the other MWC programs. Eventually moving to the P5 level is important to many head coaches and the past 5 Boise State coaches have done just that. Boise is an excellent city, the facilities are great, the fans are dedicated, it's an easy place to win and the job pays the most in the conference. All of these things considered, Boise State is the clear cut #1 choice.
2. San Diego State
San Diego State has quite a few selling points for their program. They're located in one of the best cities in the United States and have ample access to Southern California recruits as a result. The Aztecs also have become one of the most consistently dominant MWC programs over the past 10 years. From 2015-2019, SDSU won 10 or more games 4 times. Coaches know they can win here and a new stadium is on the way soon which will make this an even more desirable job.
UNLV has very poor tradition but they're a sleeping giant at the moment. The program just completed a new football operations building and plays in one of the nicest stadiums in the world. The Rebels are in the amazing city of Las Vegas and there is plenty of local talent to recruit from. Expectations are modest and coaches will receive plenty of time to get the program up to speed. This job has a very very high ceiling.
4. Colorado State
Colorado State features the nicest college stadium in the conference (UNLV plays in an NFL stadium) and Fort Collins is a nice city to live in. Addazio was the 3rd highest paid coach in the MWC in 2020, proving the position pays well. The only question mark is why the program hasn't won more games recently. If the Rams can begin to experience sustained success, they could find themselves higher on this list.
5. Fresno State
Fresno State has one of the better fanbases in the conference and they've experienced many great seasons over the past 20 years. Jeff Tedford brought success to the Bulldogs in 2017 and 2018 with back to back 10 win seasons and it is now up to Kalen DeBoer to continue that success. Living in Fresno is a slight drawback to the position but overall this is a great job and a place you can win.
6. Utah State
The Aggies have recently become one of the more respected MWC programs with 3 seasons of 10 or more wins since 2012. The state of Utah produces a decent amount of talent and the facilities are above average.
Wyoming has one of the most underrated fanbases in the West and their boosters provide the program with plenty of financial resources to build facilities and hire great coaches. The Cowboys have one of the best football operation buildings in the Mountain West and Craig Bohl is currently the highest paid coach in the MWC with Harsin now at Auburn. Recruiting to Laramie is difficult and that drops the position to 7th on our list.
There are much worse things than living in beautiful Honolulu. The Islands consistently produce talent and the Rainbows are often a successful program. The largest hurdles for the program are keeping the talent home and a strong need for new facilities.
9. Air Force
Air Force is an extremely unique coaching position as the academies have been running the triple option for decades. This isn't a fit for most coaches but the program has financial resources and nice facilities and it is a place that consistently wins.
Jay Norvell is currently the lowest paid coach in the conference and that alone puts them near the bottom of this list. The Wolf Pack are lucky to have Norvell and if he decides to leave eventually, they would need to pony up to land a quality coach. On the positive side for Nevada, they're located in Reno and they've had many successful seasons in the past 10 years.
11. San Jose State
Brent Brennan and MacIntyre proved you can win at SJSU, now the next step is winning consistently. The Spartans have often landed talented transfers over the years and they're in an amazing city that many coaches would enjoy living in. The facilities are currently being remodeled and SJSU could be climbing this list in the coming years.
12. New Mexico
New Mexico has a great basketball program but when it comes to football they lack tradition, it's a low paying job and New Mexico isn't know for having talented recruits. This may be the hardest place to win in the Mountain West at the moment.