The season of college football coaching changes is in full swing and as a result, several Ohio State assistant coaches have already started to have their names connected to job openings.
When a football team is 12-0 and playing at an elite level on both sides of the ball, that’s naturally going to happen. Many of the Buckeyes’ younger assistant coaches are viewed as rising stars in the profession, which means it’s likely that opportunities to move up the ladder will come their way sooner than later.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day recognizes that, so while he believes that all of his assistant coaches are happy to be in Columbus, he won’t try to stand in their way if any of them have jobs they want to pursue after the season.
“I think that one of the reasons that you come here is to be a part of this special family, but it also opens up opportunities for you down the road,” Day said Tuesday. “I think that that’s healthy and it's good for families, and I support that.”
Where that can get tricky for Ohio State is that while some college football teams’ seasons are already over, the Buckeyes could still have more than a month of football left. They’re playing in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday, and are currently in position to make the College Football Playoff. The playoff semifinals will be played on Dec. 28, while the championship game is set for Jan. 13.
So while Day will support his assistant coaches if any of them have opportunities that come up after the Buckeyes have played their last game of the year, he expects them to stay focused on their current jobs until that time comes.
“The one thing I'd ask is to those guys, if that situation were to come up, is just make sure we finish through this finish line first,” Day said. “We made a commitment to these guys. Most people who are looking for coaches at this time would understand that and what that means.”
Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley, a Broyles Award finalist who is expected to draw the most interest for potential head coaching jobs of any Buckeye assistant this offseason, expressed Tuesday that his focus is fully on preparing for Saturday’s rematch with Wisconsin.
“Right now, I’m going into now the next biggest game of my career,” Hafley said when asked if he had any thoughts about his name coming up as a candidate for head coaching jobs.
Specifically, Hafley has been named by several national college football reporters as a speculative candidate for the vacancy at Boston College, where former Ohio State assistant athletic director Martin Jarmond leads the athletic department. Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington, a Boston College alumnus who both played for the Eagles and was an assistant coach there from 2012-16, has also been rumored to be a potential candidate for that job.
Expect #BostonCollege AD Martin Jarmond's connection to Ohio State to be a factor in the search. Current and former Buckeyes assistants -- Luke Fickell, Jeff Hafley, Al Washington -- all could be considered for BC.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 1, 2019
Running backs coach Tony Alford, who said at last year’s Rose Bowl media day that it is his “professional goal” to become a head coach, could be a “prime candidate” for the head coaching job at his alma mater, Colorado State, if Mike Bobo is fired, according to a report by Football Scoop’s Doug Samuels.
As of now, though, Day said he isn’t anticipating any of his assistant coaches leaving after this season.
“We got a lot of guys who want to be here, so I don't expect any changes or any of that to come up,” Day said. “But it's part of the profession.”