After serving as the head coach of the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders since 2006, Rick Stockstill has been fired following a 4-8 season in 2023. One of the longest-tenured coaches in college football has been let go.
Where could the Blue Raiders go from here to replace Stockstill?
Top Candidates for Middle Tennessee State
Buster Faulkner, Georgia Tech Offensive Coordinator
Buster Faulkner has revolutionized the Georgia Tech offense this season and has turned that offense into one of the top units in the country in a single season. Faulkner coached at Middle Tennessee from 2011 to 2015 before coaching successful offenses at Arkansas State and Southern Miss. Faulkner has coached all over the area Middle Tennessee would primarily be recruiting out of as well.
He is young and one of the top offensive minds in the country already, as proven by his track record. Given his experience already with the program, it makes sense his name would pop up in this search.
Glen Elarbee, Tennessee Offensive Line coach
A former MTSU player, Elarbee is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country and has been a major factor in the Tennessee Volunteers’ recent success under Josh Heupel. Elarbee was part of a team that helped Middle Tennessee win its first Sun Belt title back in 2001, and since then, has won everywhere he has coached.
His success coaching at various stops and his ties as an MTSU alum should make him an appealing candidate.
Joshua Eargle, Florida International Deputy HC/Offensive Line Coach
Joshua Eargle doesn’t have any ties to the Middle Tennessee program beyond playing at Memphis, but Eargle has been a successful coach in MTSU’s primary recruiting areas such as Southern Miss, LSU, Nicholls State, Austin Peay, and FIU.
Eargle was named head football coach at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas in 2013. After a 7-3 2015 season, Eargle was hired as the offensive coordinator for Austin Peay.
As the Governors’ offensive coordinator, Eargle guided a team that set numerous program records. In his first game as offensive coordinator for APSU, Eargle’s offense set the Ohio Valley Conference record for most points scored against a Division I opponent in a 78-40 victory over Morehead State.
Eargle joined Les Miles’ staff at Kansas, coaching tight ends and serving as the team’s interim head coach. After Miles was fired, Eargle spent a year as an analyst at Memphis before joining the FIU staff.
Jerry Mack, Tennessee RBs Coach
A Memphis native, Jerry Mack has held numerous successful coaching positions in his career despite being just 43 years old. Mack coached at Delta State, Jackson State, Central Arkansas, and Arkansas Pine-Bluff before joining the Memphis staff in 2011, coaching wide receivers.
Mack spent a year there before taking the same job at South Alabama and was hired as NC Central’s head coach in 2014.
From 2014 to 2017, Mack amassed a 31-15 record as a head coach and three MEAC championships. Mack joined the Rice staff as offensive coordinator in 2018 and stayed there before joining the Tennessee staff in 2021.
Scotty Walden, Austin Peay HC
Scotty Walden has done a tremendous job at Austin Peay. The successor to Eargle at East Texas Baptist, Walden was the youngest head coach (26 years old) at an NCAA football program that season. In his lone year at the ETBU helm, the Tigers led all NCAA teams in scoring offense (49.9 points per game) while finishing second in total offense (564.3 yards per game) and sixth in passing offense (365.3 yards per game).
Walden coached wide receivers at Southern Miss from 2017 to 2020, coaching Quez Watkins to All-CUSA honors before being named the head coach at Austin Peay. Since then, Walden has led the Governors to a 26-14 record and 17-6 in conference with one of the best offenses in college football.
A young and energetic candidate with an exciting offense could be an appeal to a team needing to bring fans back into the stands.