By Pete Mollica
YOUNGSTOWN — The official word out of Youngstown State University about its search for a new head football coach — is really no word at all.
YSU Sports Information Director Trevor Parks said on Thursday that the only thing he’s been told is that the head coaching search “is still ongoing.”
Here’s the unofficial word.
YSU Athletic Director Ron Strollo has been busy these last two weeks. Not only has he been trying to fill the football opening, but he also has been traveling around the country as a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision selection committee overseeing this season’s playoff action. Last week, Strollo was in Montana for a playoff game.
There have been many rumors floating around the area as to who the new coach will be.
Many believe that Strollo’s number-one candidate is Mark Stoops, the defensive coordinator at the University of Arizona.
Stoops is a Youngstown native and a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School. Youngstown State is not the only school seeking his coaching talents.
Stoops also has been interviewed for the defensive coordinator’s job at Florida State by newly appointed head coach Jimbo Fisher. That’s a job that pays upward of $500,000.
He also has been mentioned as one of the top candidates for the vacant head coaching position at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
It’s believed that the YSU job is Stoops’ job it he wants it, but the salary would probably be half of what he could get at Florida State.
If Stoops doesn’t take the YSU job, Strollo probably will go with his second choice — Eric Wolford, South Carolina’s running game coordinator and offensive line coach.
Wolford, 38, like Stoops, is a Youngstown native. He played his high school football at Ursuline, graduating in 1989. This is his first season with the Gamecocks, although he’s been coaching college football since he graduated from Kansas State University in 1993.
Whether it is Stoops or Wolford, the announcement is expected to come next week.
The head coaching position at Youngstown State became available last month when Jon Heacock resigned the post after nine seasons with the Penguins.