After 18 seasons, Rick Stockstill was fired as Middle Tennessee’s head coach. In his final season leading the program, MTSU was 4-8 overall with a 3-5 mark in Conference USA play.
After the MTSU coach was fired, the search began for someone else to lead the program. Here’s a look at some of the names the Blue Raiders could consider.
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Austin Peay Head Coach Scotty Walden
Walden has both FBS experience and head coaching experience. He could be a good fit for a team like Middle Tennessee.
Walden has been Austin Peay’s head coach since 2020. He’s 26-14 during his time there. Though the Governors lost in the first round of the FCS playoffs this year, they’ve won conference championships each of the past two years after going 6-0 in UAC play in 2023.
Previously, Walden coached at Southern Miss. He was a wide receivers coach from 2017-18, then became a co-offensive coordinator in 2019, and took over as head coach there for four games in 2020.
Walden is in a good position to lead MTSU.
Tennessee Running Backs Coach Jerry Mack
Mack has experience as a head coach and a coordinator. And he wouldn’t have to move too far if he became MTSU’s head coach.
Mack has been Tennessee’s running backs coach since 2021. This year, the Volunteers are 12th in the country with 202.6 rushing yards per game. Leading rusher Jaylen Wright is among the top 40 running backs in the country with 1,013 yards on the ground.
Before this, he was an associate head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach at Rice. He’s also been a head coach at North Carolina Central, a wide receivers coach at South Alabama and Memphis, an OC and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Central Arkansas, and a wide receivers/tight ends coach at Jackson State.
With a resume like his, Mack would deserve to be a head coaching candidate for the Blue Raiders.
New Mexico Offensive Coordinator Bryant Vincent
Vincent was New Mexico’s offensive coordinator last season, but he has a great amount of experience in other roles.
While he was at UNM last season, the Lobos made great improvements on offense. They scored 27.3 points per game in 2023, which was more than double their production from a year ago.
Before that, he was an offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and eventual interim head coach at UAB. While leading the team in 2022, the Blazers were 7-6 overall with a win in the Bahamas Bowl. He never had a losing record in his five seasons at UAB and helped his players break several school records on offense.
He was also an offensive coordinator at South Alabama from 2015-17 and was an assistant there from 2011-13 as well. His background could set him up for success with the Blue Raiders.
Florida A&M Head Coach Willie Simmons
Simmons has the kind of head coaching experience MTSU might be looking for.
In six years at Florida A&M, Simmons has gone 43-13 with the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19. The Rattlers are scheduled to play in the SWAC Championship this weekend against Prairie View A&M, where he was the head coach from 2015-17. He had a winning record there as well, going 21-11.
Before that, he was an offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Alcorn State. But he also has FBS experience, having been an offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Middle Tennessee. He was also a graduate assistant at Clemson.
Simmons would be ready for a head coaching job like MTSU.
Penn State Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz
Diaz is reportedly receiving plenty of interest from other programs. But he has history at MTSU, so he would be a good fit there.
Diaz has been the defensive coordinator at Penn State since last year. This season, the Nittany Lions rank first in the country in total defense with 223.2 yards per game allowed and third in scoring defense with 11.42 points per game allowed.
Previously, Diaz was the head coach at Miami from 2019-21 as well as the team’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2016-18. He went 21-15 as the head coach there.
Since 2006, he’s been a defensive coordinator at several other schools, including Mississippi State (2010 and 2015), Louisiana Tech (2014), Texas (2011-13), and Middle Tennessee (2006-09).
Diaz’s experience would make him a good hire for the Blue Raiders.