Kennesaw State ready to start interviews
KENNESAW — The countdown to Kennesaw State hiring its football coach has officially begun.
Today, the time requirement on the official job posting is complete, and KSU athletic director Vaughn Williams said the interview process is about to begin.
“We have not started the formal interviewing process,” Williams said. “But our short list of candidates is formulating very quickly. We hope to name the new coach by the end of March.”
To this point, Williams said he has received more than 100 resumes, and that number continues to grow daily. He said the quality of coaches, in addition to quantity, is something that has him looking forward to the interviews.
“The process has been great,” he said. “It’s been exciting to be a part of it and I’m excited about potential candidates.”
When Kennesaw State made its formal announcement last month that football was coming to the campus in 2015, Williams laid down the criteria he was looking for in a head coach.
“My preference will be someone from Georgia — a native son that has done good work and works well with the student-athletes,” he said.
Williams reiterated that saying that the short list has those kinds of candidates.
Likely candidates that meet those criteria are:
— Current Georgia Tech defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum, a Marietta native, who was head coach for seven years at Middle Tennessee State.
— Brian VanGorder, who was the defensive coordinator at Auburn under Gene Chizik last season. He has also spent time at Georgia and with the Atlanta Falcons as an assistant. He was also head coach for Georgia Southern in 2006.
Both have been likely candidates from the beginning and here are two new names to consider.
— Sources close to the athletic department have said Giff Smith, a Mableton native that went to Pebblebrook High School is being considered. Smith won national championships as a player at Georgia Southern. He spent the last three seasons as the defensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills under former Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey. Smith also spent three years as associate head coach at Tulane before becoming the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Yellow Jackets from 2004-09 under Gailey.
— David Dean, who led Division II Valdosta State to its second national championship under his tenure in 2012, has also entered the conversation. The Valdosta Daily Times has downplayed KSU’s interest, but other publications have listed the former Georgia Tech walk-on as someone that has Williams’ attention. Dean began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Yellow Jackets before going to Valdosta State as wide receivers coach. He left Valdosta for West Georgia where stayed as an assistant from 1992-99 and then returned to the Blazers in 2000 and became the head coach in 2007.
Dean talked to the Daily Times late last week about the potential position.
“I have not interviewed. I have not done anything at Kennesaw State,” Dean said. “It is all rumors. Anytime a job comes open there are always people that say this guy is going to get it or that guy. I can tell you this, I haven’t been up there, I haven’t been on campus, I haven’t talked with the (athletic director).
Williams said during the process he has used every contact he has to help guide him toward a final decision, including talking with connections at Utah, Connecticut, Boston College and Toledo – the other football playing universities Williams has worked at.
“I’ve used every network to football minds that I have,” he said. “It’s best if you use those gifts and things around you.”
One of those in his network has also been former Georgia athletic director and football coach Vince Dooley. Dooley headed the 33-person football exploratory committee for Kennesaw State and Williams said Dooley has been an invaluable resource in this situation.
Ticketing plan announced
The KSU athletic department launched its football website on Monday – KennesawStateFootball.com.
The new site informs fans on a step-by-step process on how to purchase tickets, and how to get involved in its new priority points system.
The points system, which is similar to other ticketing programs other universities have used, will help loyal KSU donors and supporters of the program make sure they get the tickets they want and need.
Kennesaw State will begin playing football in 2015 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.