The last time Bowling Green was looking for a head coach, they turned to a former Tennessee Volunteers offensive coordinator.
It worked out well for them, as Dave Clawson led the Falcons to a ten-win season and a MAC championship in 2013.
Clawson is now moving on from Bowling Green, to become the head coach at Wake Forest, which means the Falcons are in the market for a coach again.
Considering the success they had with Clawson, it makes sense that they’re interested in current Vols offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian.
This is according to CoachingSearch.com
CoachingSearch.com has learned that Bowling Green has interest in Tennessee offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian. Like former head coach Dave Clawson, Bajakian is a Williams College grad. More importantly, he has spent 5 years in the MAC and previously coached at Cincinnati
This is something that Vol fans should expect and should continue to expect.
I have no idea how interested Bajakian is in the Bowling Green job, or how interested Bowling Green is in him.
But even if Bajakian doesn’t end up as the head coach at Bowling Green (which I don’t think he will), the interest in him isn’t going to end.
If you run a successful program, this is just something you have to deal with. Folks are going to be interested in your assistant coaches. That’s just how it goes.
Eventually — if Mike Bajakian continues having success — he will take a head coaching job elsewhere. You don’t get into coaching to be a career long offensive coordinator. Every assistant coach eventually wants to be the captain, even if they don’t admit it. Butch Jones’ assistant coaches are a loyal bunch of guys and I don’t think any of them will ever make a lateral coaching move to leave Tennessee.
However, I do think Jones wants the best for his assistants and if the right opportunity comes along I believe Jones will encourage whoever it may be to take the job to further their career.
Again, I don’t think Bajakian will leave for Bowling Green and I think he’s committed to helping Jones rebuild Tennessee — at least for the next few seasons.
But, if he were to leave, here are three candidates that could step into the role of offensive coordinator at Tennessee.
Zach Azzanni — Wide Receivers Coach — Tennessee
This has to be the first logical choice.
Azzanni was with Jones at Central Michigan as his wide receivers coach, before spending a year at Florida with Urban Meyer as the wide receivers coach. Azzanni then spent a year at Western Kentucky as the offensive coordinator, before heading to Wisconsin for a season as the wide receivers coach.
During Azzanni’s one season as a offensive coordinator he helped turn Western Kentucky’s offense around, while helping running back Bobby Rainey emerge as the nation’s number two rusher.
Azzanni already knows the system and would seemingly step right in without the Vols missing a beat. The only concern is his lack of experience calling plays (he’s only been an offensive coordinator for one year of his career).
TJ Weist — Interim Head Coach — UCONN
Weist spent three seasons with Jones as his wide receivers coach at Cincinnati. Before that he spent eight seasons (2002-2009) at Western Kentucky as the running backs/wide receivers coach and spent three of those season as the offensive coordinator (2003-2006).
Weist was hired as the offensive coordinator at UCONN prior to the 2013 season, but took over as interim coach just four games into the season. UCONN has interviewed him for the head coaching vacancy, but he isn’t the odds-on favorite to get the job.
If he doesn’t get the job, he would definitely be interested in making the jump to the SEC. Weist is a graduate of Alabama and returning the SEC almost certainly has to be a goal of his.
Calvin Magee — CO-Offensive Coordinator — Arizona
Magee served on the same West Virginia staff as Butch Jones, under Rich Rodriguez, for two seasons. Magee has been an offensive coordinator at West Virginia, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Arizona.
He definitely has the pedigree and experience to be Tennessee’s offensive coordinator.
The biggest drawback to Magee is that he seems to be a pure spread-option guy, but he should be able to adapt to Tennessee’s pro-style spread attack (that’s the best description I can come up with for what the Vols run).
Magee doesn’t have any connections to the SEC, but he does to Butch Jones, so he might be willing to leave Arizona.