As a public university, Wisconsin has a few bits of red tape it must navigate in the hiring process for any coaching positions. While this can delay the official release of some staffing news, it also means that the position has to be posted publicly -- and that we get to poke around the applications after the fact.
Open records requests filed with UW's athletic department yielded 46 applicants who submitted a total of 278 pages of cover letters, resumes and "coaching philosophies" for the Badgers' head coaching position that was ultimately filled by Paul Chryst last week. B5Q submitted its own request, and we've highlighted a few of the most notable submissions below. All 46 applications are also included at the bottom.
Most Surprising: Bronco Mendenhall, Head Coach, BYU
One of the more prominent applications came from Mendenhall, the current head coach at BYU. The Cougars have performed well during his 10 years in Provo, including five double-digit win campaigns. More recently, results have been less impressive, with three consecutive 8-5 seasons as an independent team (BYU left the Mountain West after the 2010 season). Earlier Monday, his team suffered a 55-48 double-overtime, post-game-brawl-inducing loss to Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl. Mendenhall exhibited some head-scratching clock management down the stretch, burning two of BYU's three timeouts to ice Memphis on the tying extra point attempt -- with 45 seconds left in regulation.
Why would he apply for the Wisconsin job? It's an unexpected name, but Mendenhall did get a taste of Badger football when BYU visited Camp Randall in 2013. He is also close friends with Gary Andersen. The pair know each other from their junior college playing days, and Andersen credits Mendenhall for giving him his break into coaching when the latter hired him as a defensive line coach at Northern Arizona.
Most Promising: Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin
Aranda's application is an encouraging sign for those hoping he will remain at Wisconsin for some time. His resume considers the 2014 season as "in progress," but nicely sums up what he brought to the program in his first season:
Installed the 3-4 defense and guided the Badgers to a top-20 ranked defense in all four major defensive statistical categories: scoring defense (6th), total defense (7th), rushing defense (5th), and passing defense (17th). Held 5 of 13 opponents without a touchdown and seven teams to 10 points or fewer. Ranked fourth nationally in opponent third-down percentage (30.7 percent) and second in forcing three-and-outs (44.2 percent of opponent's drives).
Another interesting find from his application: Aranda did not play football at the collegiate level, but was an all-conference offensive guard at Redlands High School (Calif.).
Most Innovative: Scott Preston, Quarterbacks Coach, Belhaven University
Working under Hal Mumme, "architect of the Air Raid offense," Preston coached a Belhaven attack that finished second in the NAIA in passing yards. Imagine what he could accomplish with these principles at Wisconsin -- the Badgers' talented running backs would be the perfect decoys to open up the field for a devastating aerial assault.
Most Accomplished: Greg Miller, "Unemployed and I live with my parents," Racine, Wis.
A UW-Madison alumnus, Miller boasts a sterling resume that includes coaching "back to back Division I National Champions on the Playstation in 1996 and 1997." Wisconsin likely did not interview him because of the risk of him jumping to the NFL (or the latest edition of Madden).
Most Passionate: Justin Dodge, "superb yeller," Mequon, Wis.
A Wisconsin native and the only applicant to employ a hashtag in his qualifications, Dodge seems prepared for the more mundane aspects of coaching. As a State Department intern in Moldova, he "followed lots and lots of rules, which translates well to following all those NCAA regulations" and "regularly listened to the media talk at me as I pretended to care." Hiring Dodge might have also opened up a pipeline into the fertile recruiting grounds of the former Soviet Republic, which apparently has an American football league.
Most Thorough: Trevor Rubly, former Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Bacone College
Rubly submitted 46 pages of material. If you are interested, they are available for your perusal below.
Most Succinct: Drew Hamm, Bucky's Fifth Quarter
B5Q's own Drew Hamm, by contrast, presented a clear and inspiring vision for the program in one sweet sentence:
Most Successful: Paul Chryst, Head Coach, Wisconsin
Chryst (likely following Drew's example) also kept things brief:
Hopefully, it will be a long time until the next coaching search. The full documents, for those interested, are included below.