Who Could Be Better For UL-Monroe Football Than Terry Bowden?
The coaching carousel spins through Louisiana this college football season. After 3 seasons as the Head Coach of the Louisiana-Monroe football program, Terry Bowden has been relieved of his duties. This comes after Bowden went 10-26 overall in those three years.
Bowden is the son of legendary Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, and has his own impressive college coaching resume. His overall record is 185-140-2 between all of his stops. This includes conference titles in the SEC, MAC, Gulf South, and WVIAC as well as trips to bowl games and D2 playoffs.
He was also named national Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association of America.
Not just does Bowden have the college football pedigree and record, the National Championship Foundation has retroactively named his 1993 Auburn Tigers National Champions. Which honestly, is probably how the 1993 season should have ended anyway. Sadly, that Auburn team was under probation (not because of anything Bowden did), so they couldn't play in a Bowl and pretty much were ineligible to be National Champions, even though they were the only major school who was undefeated that year.
But lets talk about Louisiana-Monroe for a minute.
Eventually, the team moved to college football's highest level of play, the FBS, in 1994. After the move, it took the ULM program until 2012 to reach their first bowl game, which they lost. The team has not made it back to a bowl game since. In fact, the program hasn't finished a year over .500 since that bowl game. Their best season records were 6-6 in 2013 and 2018.
Actually, the program's biggest win since becoming an FBS school was probably their 2007 game at Alabama. That's the year they went into Bryant-Denny Stadium and beat Nick Saban's Alabama squad 21-14. That game was probably more important than their only bowl appearance.
I say all of that to say, ULM isn't the best place to be a football coach. Based on what some of the rankings being published suggest, the ULM job might be the worst in the country.
So, if not Terry Bowden, who can you find better?
But I get it, if you're betting on "Terry Bowden or The Field", you will take The Field. There's probably a better coach/fit out there...but can the school afford it, can the program lure them in, will players/recruits respond? It seemed like Terry Bowden, pedigree and all, was probably the best fit for this moment in ULM history.
While you'd hope for a better record out of Bowden than 10-26 over the last three years, you have to remember we're working in a Transfer-portal and NIL (name-image-likeness) driven world of college football now. You also have to keep in mind ULM is never going to be allowed to compete for a National Championship with the current structure.
I'm serious about the National Championship thing. Teams constantly do everything in their power to break into the playoff race, but if you aren't in one of the handful of conferences allowed to play for the championship, you won't get a shot. For example, Liberty is currently undefeated and just BARELY ranked in the Playoff rankings. So even if ULM didn't have a loss this year, they wouldn't be in the playoff mix.
With all of this to consider, what are we looking for at ULM?
Finding a peer to Bowden, with pedigree, resume, and enthusiasm, seems unrealistic. Right now, it seems like the program will need to either take a chance at a young up-and-coming coach, or to find someone who has a worse resume than Bowden. You're not getting a proven coach with a better resume than Bowden, and if you do find a young up-and-coming coach, your best case scenario is that he's successful for a few years, and leaves.
Maybe this is a spot where a North Louisiana high school coach gets a chance to coach at the college level. Probably wouldn't be worse than finding a former college coach with a losing record and no bowl wins on their resume.
So I really ask, who's going to be better for this program than Terry Bowden?
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