Central Michigan is in no hurry to name a new football coach.
Athletic director Dave Heeke announced today that the university would not hire a replacement Butch Jones, who left for Cincinnati, until after the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6.
“In this time of panicked coaching changes across the country, we want to provide our student-athletes with stability and certainty,” Heeks said in a statement. “Our focus is on providing our student-athletes and fans with a terrific bowl experience. We have hired a highly respected interim head coach in Steve Stripling and we are committed to the outstanding staff we have in place.”
Stripling, who just finished his first season at CMU as the associate head coach in charge of defense and defensive ends coach, will lead the Chippewas against Troy in Mobile, Ala. Stripling said last week that he’d like to be the Chippewas fulltime coach, but that he also expected to speak with Jones about a possible position with Cincinnati.
Central Michigan’s decision to delay their coaching search likely means the school is content with Stripling leading the team or that they’ve spoken with potential candidates who have agreed to the situation.
With so many vacancies out there, waiting could limit the pool from which the university could choose. It also hampers Central Michigan in recruiting with national signing day less than a month after the bowl game.
Central Michigan has had success using coaches who are familiar with the university and have previously served on the staff. Jones was former coach Brian Kelly’s assistant. He led CMU to two conference titles and quarterback Dan LeFevour was twice named the Mid-American Conference’s player of the year. This season, Central Michigan was undefeated in conference play.
Stripling has more than 30 years of coaching experience. He led a Central Michigan defense that ranked 29th in the country in total defense and 14th in the country in scoring defense, which led the Mid-American Conference.