Kim Blum, in no uncertain terms, said the hiring of the next head football coach at UW-La Crosse — arguably the highest profile coaching position in the 17-sport program — is going to be a team effort.
For example, the search and screen committee, which numbers 11, is comprised of current football players, an alum, coaches from other sports, campus representatives as well as a faculty and administrative staff member. The committee, headed by David Johnson, the school’s assistant athletic director for media relations, will do much of the early leg work.
But when it comes down to it, Blum, who took over as UW-L’s full-time athletic director in March, is the quarterback. She gets to make the call, which could happen by mid-to-late February.
That, she says, is “exciting.”
“Certainly there is a level of pressure to it, but it is really exciting to not only find the right person to head up our football program, but the next person who will be a colleague of mine who I will work very closely with over ‘X’ number of years,” Blum said.
“Someone who will bring a new dynamic to our department and a new dynamic to our team. I think that is exciting.”
A search for a new football coach became necessary when Joel Dettwiler submitted his resignation — which came through a university press release — on Nov. 30. Dettwiler has not spoken publicly since his resignation. Dettwiler, who was 16-34 in five seasons with the Eagles, is under contract through May, Blum said, and remains on the athletic department staff. He has been re-assigned administrative duties within the athletic department, but not those dealing with football.
Blum said Reed Hoskins, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator as well as a teacher in the Exercise and Sports Science Department, also will not return.
“He (Hoskins) will remain here through his contract, same as Joel, through the end of May. He has the opportunity to remain here through his contract,” Blum said, noting either has the option to leave at any point.
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In the interim, Andrew McGlenn, assistant coach/offensive line/recruiting coordinator, will handle recruiting duties and be the external contact, while longtime assistant Mike Anderson — who is listed as assistant head coach on the school’s web site — will be the internal contact for the players.
The university posted the job for its next head football coach on Dec. 11 and must wait 30 days before moving forward. While the search and screen committee members will review the applications — which must be done electronically — periodically, no decisions, or narrowing of the field, will be made before Jan. 11.
“You just keep up with them (applicants) as they come in, electronically,” Blum said. “Then on Jan. 11, everyone comes to the table with a pretty clear picture from their own perspective.”
Blum said there have been 25 applicants in five days (three business days), and she expects significantly more for a position that is 85 percent coaching, 15 percent administrative within the athletic department.
In the approximately two-week period from Jan. 11-25, the committee will narrow the field to about 12 applicants, then do phone and electronic interviews with those candidates. The field will then be narrowed to four, maybe five, and those finalists will be brought to campus for face-to-face interviews over a two-day period in mid-February. The process will be very similar to how the university structured its interviews for the athletic director position with open forums for campus and community members, and meet with a number of other groups and individuals on campus.
By mid-to-late February, the goal is to have hired a football coach. Another goal is having this person on campus in time for spring football practice in April.
“It is aggressive, but that is why we put out that mid-February date,” Blum said. “People don’t understand that this isn’t the Badgers and you just pick a person and they are here the next day.
“We are bound by these processes and we just can’t go out and get somebody tomorrow to interview, pick them, and have them in place the next day. It is a very prescribed process we must follow.”