Jon Sumrall won two Sun Belt Championships in two years as Troy’s head coach. And the Trojans might be in a position to dominate the conference for years to come.
However, Sumrall has gone to Tulane as the Green Wave’s next head coach, which means Troy needs someone else to lead the program in 2024.
Here are some coaches who would be good fits for the Trojans based on their resumes.
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Troy Defensive Coordinator Greg Gasparato
Obviously Gasparato could end up following Sumrall to Tulane, as many of Tulane’s assistants are going with former Green Wave head coach Willie Fritz to Houston. But if the Trojans did end up promoting internally, Gasparato would be one to consider.
When Sumrall’s move to Tulane became official, Troy announced Gasparato would be the Trojans’ interim head coach for the Birmingham Bowl against Duke. That’s after just one year with the program.
Previously, Gasparato coached Louisville’s outside linebackers in 2022 – a year in which the Cardinals led the nation with 50 sacks – and the teams’ safeties in 2021.
Before that, he was a co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Army. In 2020, the Black Knights allowed the fewest yards in the country with 275.3 per game and the second-fewest points with 14.8 per game.
He was also an assistant at App State for multiple years, so he knows the Sun Belt well, and coached inside linebackers and special teams at his alma mater, Wofford.
Gasparato doesn’t have collegiate head coaching experience, but he’s in a good position to keep the momentum going at Troy.
Missouri Assistant Head Coach And Cornerbacks Coach Al Pogue
Pogue is an assistant at a Power Five program right now and already has history with Troy.
Pogue has been at Mizzou since 2022, but he coached the Trojans in 2021 and 2014-18 when he worked with the team’s cornerbacks. From 2016-18, Troy ranked fourth in scoring defense among Group of Five programs with 20.8 points per game allowed. In 2018, Troy led the Sun Belt in interceptions.
Pogue also coached outside linebackers in 2020 at Auburn and in 2019 at West Virginia. He was an assistant at Auburn from 2011-13 as well.
Pogue hasn’t been a collegiate coordinator yet, but his experience and familiarity with the program and the state of Alabama could make him a good hire.
Tennessee Running Backs Coach Jerry Mack
Mack has experience as a head coach and a coordinator. He’s also coached in Alabama before, so he could be a good fit.
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 deserves to be a head coaching candidate for the Trojans.
West Virginia Defensive Coordinator And Outside Linebackers Coach Jordan Lesley
Lesley is an obvious choice considering he played for Troy and was a team captain for the program before he began his coaching career.
Lesley worked at Troy as a graduate assistant in 2006 and also coached the Trojans’ defensive linemen from 2016-18. In 2018, Troy was 10th in the country in sacks, 16th in tackles for loss, 24th in rushing defense, 28th in scoring defense, and 31st in total defense.
Lesley went to West Virginia in 2019 and has been there ever since. He coached the team’s defensive line that year before he was a co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2020. He’s been West Virginia’s defensive coordinator and has coached the program’s linebackers since 2021.
Lesley knows Troy well, and hiring a Power Five coordinator could keep fans excited about the trajectory of the program.
Georgia Southern Offensive Coordinator Bryan Ellis
When thinking about assistants currently in the Sun Belt, Ellis stands out. He has worked with some exceptional offenses in the past few years.
In 2022, which was Ellis’ first as Georgia Southern’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the Eagles were in the top 20 in the FBS with 466.7 yards per game and scored 32.7 points per game. This year, Georgia Southern is ranked 40th in the country with 422.5 yards per game and 45th with 30.9 points per game as quarterback Davis Brin is 13th in the FBS with 3,431 passing yards.
Previously, Ellis was Western Kentucky’s co-offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach. In 2021, the Hilltoppers were second in the country with 44.2 points per game and 535.3 yards per game while leading the FBS with 433.7 passing yards per game.
Ellis was WKU’s OC and quarterbacks coach from 2019-20 and was an assistant there from 2014-16. From 2017-18, he worked with quarterbacks at USC.
Ellis obviously knows the Sun Belt well and how to develop high-flying offenses. So if Troy wanted to hire an offensive-minded coach, he would be a good candidate.