The decision has been made and long-time offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs is the ninth head football coach at Nicholls State University.
Everyone has an opinion about who should or shouldn’t have been hired among the 10 finalists, but I share the opinion of the Colonels’ athletic director Rob Bernardi – Stubbs is the right man for the job.
“We’ve never had anybody of his caliber at Nicholls State,” Bernardi said. “Not only is he going to be an asset to our football program, but he’s going to be an asset to our athletic department.”
The list of candidates was an impressive one and Nicholls fans should tip their hat to local attorney Jason Dagate, who chaired a search committee that did an excellent job fielding more than 40 candidates from all across the country.
But when push came to shove, no one was more ready to lead the Colonels than Stubbs, who has headed successful offenses at prominent programs like Oregon State, UNLV, Alabama, Tulsa and Louisville.
How successful, you ask?
Stubbs’ offense was in the top-three in the Pac-10 each season he was at Oregon State from 1985-91; was ninth in the nation in passing offense in 1996 at UNLV; averaged 31 points per game from 2002-07 at Tulsa; and was first in the Big East in passing offense at Louisville in 2007.
This is all not including Stubbs’ tenure as Alabama’s offensive coordinator where the Crimson Tide advanced to the Orange Bowl in 1999 and he was named the SEC Offensive Coordinator of the Year.
So as you can see, the credentials are there and Stubbs can obviously ‘walk the walk’ on that side of the football.
But what the Colonel faithful have to do now is be patient.
Yes, Stubbs is a brilliant offensive mind. Aside from the above-mentioned accolades, he has two – and soon to be three – published books about offense to prove it.
But the path to success may be a slow one. He is inheriting a team built by former coach Jay Thomas to run a triple option system that is the absolute opposite of the run and shoot, pass friendly system Stubbs has orchestrated throughout his coaching career. That’s a transition that will take time for the Colonels to master, especially coming off a 3-8 season where the Colonels were often outmatched in talent.
“It’s a challenge,” Stubbs said. “We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work. I don’t know, but there’s one thing that’s kept coming out as I’ve talked to people here and it’s that the kids work hard here. And to me if we work hard, we’ve got a chance.”
Stubbs’ hiring wasn’t popular to some in the area who wanted the Colonels to be headed by someone with more ties to the Thibodaux community. And while, yes, it’s always great to have a hometown coach running your program, sometimes that just isn’t the most realistic scenario for success.
Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are widely held by almost everyone as two of the best collegiate coaches in America.
Quick question: What ties to Alabama did Saban have prior to becoming the Crimson Tide coach in 2007?
How about Meyer? What ties did he have to the Sunshine State before taking over the Gators’ program in 2005?
The answer is neither coach had ties to their state and both have had monumental success in their respective jobs, proving that Stubbs’ cold-turkey jump into Louisiana life doesn’t necessarily have to be a difficult transition.
“Change is not all bad,” Stubbs said. “I know one of the persons in the committee asked me, ‘I know you’re not from here or from the local area and this and that.’ But the only thing I can say is that I’ve coached a lot of different places in different parts of the United States and I embraced the university that I went to and they embraced me and there were no problems.”
So sit back and put on your seatbelts, Colonels fans, because the Nicholls football program should – if for nothing else – play a very exciting brand of football for years to come under their new and very deserving head coach.