Brent Brennan is leaving SJSU for Arizona. Who will take over?
SJSU reporter Matt Weiner weighs in on potential candidates to take over SJSU.
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Who could replace Brennan?
It’s official: San Jose State seventh-year head coach Brent Brennan is heading to Arizona.
Which begs the question: Who will take over?
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, “SJSU is ready to execute a swift and targeted search where head coaching experience will be a preferred trait that they are looking for.”
If “preferred” really means ‘non-negotiable’ that may eliminate everyone on Brennan’s staff and even UNLV offensive coordinator Brendan Marion. This past season in the Sin City, Marion’s Go-Go offensive produced one of the Mountain West’s best passing attacks and college football’s best turnarounds.
Oct 1, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; San Jose State Spartans head coach Brent Brennan before the game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
So who does that leave?
The top of that list may include former UNLV head coach and current Arizona State offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo.
Arroyo’s stint lasted just three seasons after he was let go following the 2022 season.
Although, it did seem premature.
The Rebels’ five wins were its most since 2017 and came after Arroyo compiled an 0-6 record in 2020 and 2-10 in 2021. Furthermore, it was a year before the world saw the talent of quarterback Jayden Maiava and wide receiver Ricky White III, a 2023 All-Mountain West First Team selection.
An added plus is Arroyo’s SJSU connections. He was the quarterback at SJSU from 1998-200 and assistant coach from 2005-08. During that stint, he established a strong bond with Brennan, who was also apart of Dick Tomey’s staff. If Brennan gives SJSU AD Jeff Konya his blessing, that could put Arroyo above any other candidate.
Oct 16, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; UNLV Rebels head coach Marcus Arroyo is pictured during a game against the Utah State Aggies at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
A former standout quarterback at UH, Rolovich went 28-27 in four seasons, 2-1 in bowl games at his alma mater and used a 10-5 record and Hawaii bowl win in 2019 to spring board his way to WSU.
His two-year stint in Pullman saw him go 5-6 and ultimately cut short after he and four members of his staff were fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. With COVID-19 no longer a major factor, could he make his way to CEFCU Stadium?
Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warm up ups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
For now, those are two names Spartan Nation should keep an eye on. That list can certainly expand if SJSU poaches another head coach or considers hiring an assistant coach.
In that case, the list will include SJSU defensive coordinator Derrick Odum, offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven and running backs/assistant coach Alonzo “Zo” Carter. But with former Wildcats’ head coach Jedd Fisch taking his entire staff to Washington and current U of A defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen missing out on the head coaching job, anyone on Brennan’s staff could head to Tuscon.
The final name Spartan Nation should be aware of is Georgia defensive backs coach Donte Williams.
Williams was an assistant coach at SJSU from 2013-15 and finished 3-7 as USC’s interim head coach in 2021.