Just four days after Army fired coach Rich Ellerson, the field has become crowded. Without warning, the West Point coaching search has become the nation's most publicly active college coaching job hunt.
Former Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe threw his hat in the ring Tuesday. Grobe, who resigned after 13 seasons at Wake Forest last month, spent 11 seasons as a defensive assistant at Air Force before becoming a head coach. He has experience coaching at a top academic institution and rebuilding programs, having resurrected Ohio and taken Wake Forest to the Orange Bowl. Grobe's used a variety of offensive styles, but not the traditional option attack favored by the Black Knights in the past, though he has worked to incorporate more option schemes in recent years.
Georgia Southern has granted Army permission to interview Jeff Monken, the Savannah Morning News reported Wednesday. In four seasons as head coach at Georgia Southern, Monken has gone 38-16, made three trips to the FCS Semifinals, and recorded a legendary win over Florida this November. Monken learned the triple option attack in 13 seasons as an assistant under Paul Johnson and coached running backs at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech. The six seasons he spent with Johnson at Navy give him ample service academy experience, and Monken would enter the job knowing of the difficulties associated with that situation. The question remains whether Monken would be interested in leaving Georgia Southern, which is preparing for a move into FBS next season.
Many of the names originally connected with the Army job remain in play. Central Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe, who six seasons as an offensive assistnat at West Point in the 1980s and was successful as head coach at The Citadel, has transformed UCF into one of the nation's most dangerous passing attacks. He was connected with the job almost immediately after Ellerson's termination.
New York Jets special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica is a former Army linebacker, who captained the only 10-win team in the storied history of Army football. After spending seven years as an Army officer, he entered coaching and spent two years as defensive coordinator at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School before joining the Jets. Kotwica would be a throwback to the days of decorated retired officers as head coaches at West Point, and his standing with fans of the program is unmatched.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is "expected" to interview for the Army job, according to Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafolo:
Among candidates expected to interview w/Army for vacant HC job is Buccaneers OC Mike Sullivan, a candidate the last time the job was open.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 16, 2013
As Garafolo notes, Sullivan was a candidate for the job five years ago. He is a former Army Ranger, and spent two seasons as an assistant at West Point under Bob Sutton.
Navy senior associate AD Scott Strasemeier told GoMids.com that he is unaware of any contact between Army and Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper. While Jasper checks many of the boxes -- triple-option system, service-academy experience -- he would be the first Army coach to ever come directly from the rival Midshipmen.