Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spears search for a new coach is gearing up as the Vandals season winds down.
After a disappointing 1-7 start, Idaho terminated coach Robb Akey after five-plus seasons. Offensive coordinator/QB coach Jason Gesser was named interim coach for the remainder of the season, and while he has yet to win a game, there has been a definite change in the teams attitude over the course of the last few weeks.
While Spear has said he has a large pool of applicants with varying levels of experience from all over the country showing interest in the job, Gesser is in the process of being interviewed for a permanent position.
Ive already turned in my packet with my short-term and long-term program plan of development on where this program needs to go and how to build it, Gesser said. That includes everything from staffing to recruiting from changing the culture and mindset to academics and discipline.
Gesser, who was scheduled to interview by telephone earlier this week, said he compiled a 109-page booklet containing his résumé, his vision for the program and evaluations of individual players as part of the application process.
(Idaho President M. Duane Nellis) gave me a little crap about that, said it was too long, Gesser joked. But he said it was good and he said he liked it, and I think that obviously when the interview process comes well discuss it more.
Spear wont be available to media until after a hire has been made, but he has previously stated hes searching for a candidate from a successful program and one who can recruit the Northwest. He added previous head-coaching experience isnt necessary.
When asked whether he knew how many people he would be competing against, Gesser jokingly replied, basically everybody and their moms, but he didnt know an exact number.
I know there have been a lot of guys Rob Spear has talked to, and rightfully so, he wants to find the best fit for the program, and he needs to find the best fit for the program, Gesser said. Without talking to all the guys out there, you cant find that best fit.
While the university has not confirmed who is interviewing for the position, there appear to be several candidates, including Washington State linebackers coach and former Boise State assistant Jeff Choate, Montana State coach Rob Ash, Wyoming defensive coordinator and former Idaho head coach Chris Tormey, and Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh.
Choate would be an interesting candidate after his comments on Idahos independent status caused a stir earlier this season.
Its not right what (Idaho) is doing to its players in letting them get beat so they can get a paycheck, Choate said in an interview with varsitycda.com about Idaho freshman quarterback Chad Chalich. When Idaho does what it should and plays at the FCS level, I think Chalich will be an All-American player and Walter Payton Award candidate.
Tormey, who played linebacker for the Vandals from 1974 to 1977, coached at Idaho from 1995 to 1999. He led the Vandals to four winning seasons out of five, including Idahos first-ever bowl appearance in 1998. His record was 33-23 before he left for Nevada in 2000.
When the Wyoming Star Tribune asked him about the possibility of coaching at Idaho again, he sidestepped the question.
Weve got a huge game against San Diego State this weekend, Tormey said when asked about the report. We are trying to finish 4-0 in November.