Ken Wilson has a long history with the Nevada football program. He was an associate head coach, a defensive coordinator, and a position coach for more than two decades there collectively.
However, the Wolf Pack didn’t see much success since Wilson took over last year. They were 2-10 last year, with zero wins in Mountain West play, and went 2-10 again in 2023.
Nevada has now fired Wilson. With him gone, here’s a few names the team could consider for its head coaching vacancy.
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Texas Co-Defensive Coordinator Jeff Choate
Choate has reportedly become a frontrunner for Nevada’s head coaching vacancy.
In 2020, Choate became a co-defensive coordinator at Texas. This year, the Longhorns have allowed the 13th-fewest points (17.54 per game) and the 23rd-fewest yards (321.7 per game) in the FBS. Texas will now be competing in the College Football Playoff.
As Montana State’s head coach, Choate built the program up while going 28-22. He led the team to the national semifinals in his final season there in 2019.
Choate has also worked in the Mountain West before. At Boise State, he coached running backs for three years and linebackers for three years there. He was also the Broncos’ special teams coordinator from 2006-11.
If he wanted to leave a place like Texas, Nevada should certainly consider him.
Idaho Head Coach Jason Eck
Jason Eck doesn’t have much FBS experience but has been highly successful at the FCS level and has connections in the Mountain West’s geographical footprint.
Eck is in his second season as Idaho’s head coach. The Vandals went 7-4 last season and earned a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Before that, he was the offensive coordinator at South Dakota State from 2019-21 and the team’s offensive line coach from 2016-19. Going back to 2000, he’s also been an assistant at Montana State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Western Illinois, Hampton, Ball State, Winona State, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
As proven when the Vandals defeated the Wolf Pack, Eck can build a program up in a short amount of time and is the exact type of coach Nevada would want.
Montana State Head Coach Brent Vigen
Brent Vigen is going to be a popular name when it comes to Group of Five head coaching searches for the next couple years. And that’s for good reason.
Vigen has been Montana State’s head coach since 2021. That first year, he led the Bobcats to their first national championship appearance since 1984. Last season, Montana State reached the national semifinals before losing to the eventual champion, South Dakota State. The Bobcats are now widely regarded as a top-five FCS program.
Vigen also knows the Mountain West. He was an offensive coordinator at Wyoming under head coach Craig Bohl from 2014-20, most notably coaching now-NFL star quarterback Josh Allen.
If Vigen was open to it, Nevada would be smart to consider hiring him.
San Jose State Offensive Coordinator Kevin McGiven
Kevin McGiven is also extremely familiar with the Mountain West and the region.
He’s been the offensive coordinator at San Jose State since 2018 and the quarterbacks coach since 2021. The Spartans were fourth in the Mountain West with 368.2 yards and 27.4 points per game last year while working with the 2023 preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Chevan Cordeiro.
Before that, McGiven was the offensive coordinator at Oregon State from 2016-17 and OSU’s quarterbacks coach in 2015. He was also the OC at Utah State from 2013-14 before leading offenses in the FCS at Montana State (2012), Weber State (2007-08), and Southern Utah (2005).
McGiven has yet to be a Division I head coach, but he should be one Nevada considers.