‘Group of Five’ countdown, No. 6: Craig Bohl, Wyoming


Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl leads his team onto the field before their NCAA college football game against Hawaii, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl leads his team onto the field before their NCAA college football game against Hawaii, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner) by Eugene Tanner (AP photo)

It’s always a dangerous thing to shrink a pool of candidates for any job by disqualifying someone based on a trait that has nothing to do with the ability to do the job, such as: “Too old. They need a younger guy.”

Mention any football coach approaching 60 and this is a common retort. But what does it actually mean? Not much.

David Beaty, 47, could smoke septuagenarian football coaches Frank Solich and Bill Snyder in a footrace. Solich turns 74 during this coming season, Snyder 79. Beaty is 0-5 coaching against them.

Today, we look at the oldest coach on the list of 10 “Group of Five” coaches ready to hit the big-time. Why is his age relevant? It’s not. If you don’t believe me, ask his 42-year-old wife.

No. 6— Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Age: 59

Record at school: 22-29

Overall record: 126-61

Impressive win: vs. No. 13 Boise State, 30-28, Oct. 29, 2016

Why he’s on the list: Wyoming football had not had consecutive winning seasons since having five in a row (1995-1999). Craig Bohl was hired to fix that and fix it he has done. His four records at Wyoming, in order: 4-8, 2-10, 8-6, 8-5. He has flipped the program in just four years.

He’ll have a chance to show this year that it wasn’t just because he had a quarterback, Josh Allen, taken with the seven pick of the first round of the NFL draft. (Anyone who thinks that needs to know that Wyoming ranked ninth in the nation with 17.5 points allowed). Allen competed a year in junior college and sent information and a letter to FBS programs asking for a chance. Only Eastern Michigan and Wyoming offered.

Allen was not the first stealth superstar quarterback recruited by Bohl. Carson Wentz didn’t play quarterback until senior year of high school and didn’t receive any FBS offers until Central Michigan very late in the process. He played for Bohl at in-state North Dakota State, which Bohl coached to three consecutive FCS national championships at the end of his 11 seasons at the school.

So often, schools look to go 180 degrees from a fired coach when making a new hire. It would be difficult to find a more polar opposite to David Beaty than Bohl.

Beaty is a new-age coach, Bohl old-school. Beaty was a receiver at a small school, Lindenwood, Bohl a defensive back at a national powerhouse, Nebraska. As an assistant, Beaty was always on the offensive staff, Bohl the defensive. Beaty has had trouble finding a quarterback, but passes more than he runs. Bohl finds NFL passers, but runs more than he passes. Beaty’s teams try different uniform combinations every week. Bohl ditched that approach favored by his predecessor and his teams have two uniforms: one for home games, one for road games.

Beaty’s offense, the Air Raid, is all about stretching the field, making the defense defend as much turf as possible. Bohl demands his players win the battle in the smallest space of all, the one between his players’ facemasks and the enemies’ grills.

“We’re going to have our hand in the dirt and we’re going to knock the (expletive) out of you,” was how Bohl described his team’s style of play to USA Today.

Wyoming is Bohl’s second head-coaching job; Kansas is Beaty’s first. Bohl spent nine seasons as a defensive coordinator at three different schools, the final three seasons at Nebraska, before heading a program for the first time. Beaty spent one season as an offensive coordinator at Rice.

Bohl has won three national championships, Beaty three games. You can’t find much different a pair of head coaches than Beaty and Bohl.


John Fitzgerald 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Solid list so far, Tom. I'm going to take a stab at your number 1... or at least this is the guy I'd have as number 1... Jason Candle. He's young at 38 years old, has Toledo firing on all cylinders and he coached under Matt Campbell who's done an incredible job at Iowa State so far.

Jason Venable 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Jason Candle is the guy I would take. Toledo produces some very good coaches. I live here so I get to watch a lot of Toledo Rockets football. And his payout would be very little. UT does not have the booster money like KU does.

[''] 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Really? He's the best coach out there? Meeehhhh

John Fitzgerald 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I don’t see where Jason said he’s the best coach out there. Maybe the best on Tom’s list. Which if you’ve paid attention isn’t a list of the best available coaches it’s just the best non-power 5 coaches.

[''] 7 months, 1 week ago

OK thnx -- tell us again how you interviewed Mangino. We haven't heard that yet...

John Fitzgerald 7 months, 1 week ago

Ha... Relax man. I’m just trying to help you out. It’s amazing what you can learn from actually reading the articles.

[''] 7 months, 1 week ago

So when the article is about the best coaches for the job and you say the #1 choice will be Candle and then Jason says "Candle is the guy I would take." It's pretty easy to understand. It appears you are the one with the reading comprehension issue. But you interviewed Mangino and write a blog with 7 followers from your mom's basement so perhaps you think that gives you a false sense of reader comprehension.... sad

John Fitzgerald 7 months, 1 week ago

The articles aren’t about the best coaches for the job. They’re the best non power 5 coaches available. But it’s okay Ron I’m not trying to insult you or discredit your intelligence. Relax.

Bryan Mohr 7 months, 1 week ago

Candle was at the top of my list until he lost 34-0 to App St. in the Dollar General Bowl. Satterfield over Candle. But I'd rather see a HC come from a P5 conference instead of the Other-5.

Jason Venable 7 months, 1 week ago

Saban (Toledo), Pinkle (Toledo). Urban (BGSU) all they Hi.

[''] 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I've written this several times. Frank Solich at age 80 can beat a Beaty-coached team 30 times out of 30 in any venue. I would even give Solich an FCS team and he still would beat a Beaty FBS team with 90% certainty.

Jay Scott 7 months, 2 weeks ago 80, Solich might now be less likely to be fired for banging the boosters wives.....

Brett McCabe 7 months, 1 week ago

And he's snagging booster booty. The guy gets more amazing every time I read about him!

[''] 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Bohl making $1.4 M, Give him $2.25 M and tell him to bring in a coach in waiting and BOOM

Brett McCabe 7 months, 1 week ago

Please, please, please make Craig Bohl our next coach.

Dane Pratt 7 months, 1 week ago

I would be totally okay with Craig Bohl as our next head coach who BTW beat Bill Snyder in his own stadium.

Dane Pratt 7 months, 1 week ago

Not sure what would motivate a coach to come here when failure likely means your next gig will be at a school like Liberty College. For Beaty the opportunity to coach at a P5 school was worth the risk but if you are a young promising coach on the radar of college football, would you be willing to take the chance? Bill Snyder and David Cutcliffe are coaches with extensive resumes who were overlooked by everyone except the least attractive head coaching jobs, K-State and Duke. They both got their first head coaching jobs at the age of 50 and both have succeeded at schools that knew nothing about winning on the gridiron. Bohl, in spite of his success has not been given that chance and at 60 his window of opportunity is diminishing. This could be a good fit for him and KU.

Lucas Town 7 months, 1 week ago

But at his age why would he take this job. With his resume he has got to be in line for a better power 5 job. We need a young coach with the energy to turn this thing around.

Titus Canby 7 months, 1 week ago

What would motivate a coach to come to KU? It's the opportunity to slay a dragon. build a legacy. Be the architect of the biggest turnaround in college football history. If the right coach has the right support, he could be a hero.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.