The four candidates for the Quincy University football job have all made their way through town. If everything goes according to Marty Bell’s plan, the program should have a coach next week. As part of each candidate’s trip, they spent time with area media. I was able to meet all four candidates — the only member of the local media to do so. Here’s how I handicap the field, in order of chances to get the job:
Bell saved the best for last. Pajic is the most ready to come in and coach this team. He’s done great things at his current spot in Bloomsburg (Pa.), a Division II school. He has the Division II experience that the QU brass desires, but is lacking on any Midwestern ties. Then again none of the other finalists had a ton of recruiting ties to these parts. He’s cut from the same mold as Bell was — a long-time assistant looking for his first chance. Bell hired a coach with a similar background when he tabbed Jeni Garber as JD Gravina’s replacement for the women’s basketball program. Would not be surprised if Pajic was the next person in that mold to make his way to QU.
Pajic has had a hand in fund-raising at Bloomsburg. Fund-raising will be a big part of the QU job. Former QU coach Bill Terlisner was a tireless fund-raiser for his program and the school. Now, Pajic is a Bloomsburg grad, so it was a little easier for him to cultivate those relationships than if he were to come here and do it cold.
QU’s scholarship situation doesn’t bother him as the Hawks have more scholarships than what he currently has at Bloomsburg. He said all of the right things to the media on Thursday.
Longo was the only one in the finalist pool with prior head coaching experience. He came across as a guy who would sleep in his office to get the job done. He was very energetic and appeared to do more background on the QU job than of the others. The guy was watching high school tape of current QU players to get an idea of what he had to work with here.
Longo’s family situation might hold him back. His wife is the head women’s basketball coach at Slippery Rock and there aren’t any openings for her around here. Plus, Slippery Rock’s offensive coordinator retired on the same day that Longo was here for his interview. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was promoted to that spot. I would be a bit worried about Longo going from job to job, too, as he’s been a bit of a nomad. If he were to take the QU job, it would be his fourth job at four different schools in the last four seasons.
The defensive coordinator at Wingate (N.C.) is a friend of Bell’s, which is likely the main reason he receive an interview. He’s been at Wingate the last four seasons as the leader of the defense, but his teams haven’t been the reason for the team’s success. Wingate was 5-6 this season and the team was last in its eight-team conference in points allowed. His teams have never been higher than fourth in the league in total defense, which includes the 2010 season when the school won its league crown and made the Division II playoffs.
The surprise finalist. He has never been a full-time coach in his professional career. He’s worked a ton of hours at Butler, but hasn’t had to deal with the number of responsibilities a head coach of a program must contend with. Anderson feels like a fall-back candidate. He would bring an enthusiasm and a knowledge of the school and the program’s history, but he’d need a good staff around him to help him get his feet under him.