Central Michigan fired head coach John Bonamego on Friday, hours after the Chippewas lost to Toledo in the regular-season finale.
"Making a leadership change is a difficult decision, especially when you know that coach has given his all to CMU," athletics director Michael Alford said in a statement. "After conducting a 360-degree evaluation of the program, it was clear that a change is needed if we are going to compete for and win championships. We greatly appreciate all that John has done for his alma mater and wish him the best moving forward."
Central Michigan went 1-11 this season, but Bonamego was 21-18 in the previous three seasons and became the first coach in program history to reach three straight bowl games.
With Bonamego out, who might Central Michigan target?
Current Position: Head Coach – Southeast Missouri State
Matukewicz is just 23-33 in five seasons at SEMO but he did a brilliant job this year, leading the Redhawks to their second-ever playoff appearance and first since 2010.
The 45-year-old spent the previous six seasons in the MAC, most recently as Toledo defensive coordinator, and has been recruiting the upper midwest for nearly two decades.
Current Position: Head Coach – Indiana State
Another FCS name to watch, Curt Mallory was Central Michigan defensive backs coach under Mike DeBord in 2001 and has spent all but two years of his career in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, including four seasons as Michigan defensive backs coach (2011-14).
After going 0-11 last year, his first as a head coach at any level, Mallory led Indiana State to a 7-4 mark, including 5-3 in the tough Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Like Tom Matukewicz, Mallory wouldn't be a sexy hire, but for a program coming off a disastrous 1-11 season, it's an interesting fit.
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, DL Coach – Toledo
If Alford wants a MAC man, Brian George could be on his short list.
George has spent 15 of his 21 seasons in the conference, including the last three at Toledo. He played at Ohio, was defensive coordinator at Kent State and Miami (OH), and even his six non-MAC years were in MAC country at Indiana.
Current Position: Assistant Head Coach, RBs Coach – Ohio State
Here's the résumé candidate.
Tony Alford isn't as widely known as colleagues Greg Schiano or Ryan Day, but his LinkedIn profile is laced with notable jobs. Before arriving in Columbus in 2015, he was a Notre Dame assistant (various positions, including recruiting coordinator) and coached at Louisville, Iowa State and Washington.
If Urban Meyer retires and Alford is seeking a bigger opportunity, might a MAC job make sense?
Current Position: Analyst – Alabama
A Michigan native, Jones was a longtime Central Michigan assistant (1998-2004) and head coach (2007-09) before bolting for greener pastures.He went 27-13 in three seasons as head coach, including a program-record 11 wins and the only AP ranking in program history in 2009. (CMU won a 12th game under interim coach Steve Stripling.)
If he wants to be a head coach again, might there be mutual interest in rubbing each other's backs?