Recruiting is the lifeline of college football. It’s how a program gets, builds and maintains what it has going for it. If recruits go, so does the program.
This is why Idaho State was smart to publicly announce that it was planning to keep head football coach Rob Phenicie for the next three years.
From an outsider’s perspective, which is what most recruits have, at least at first, the coaching situation at Idaho State didn’t look good.
It looked inconsistent and it looked as if Phenicie might be an interim solution at the position following the sudden retirement of former head coach Mike Kramer.
Keep in mind, Kramer wasn’t at his retirement press conference and Tingey said that had Kramer not agreed to retire, he would not have been his head coach. This means he didn’t really retire, he was asked to retire, a gentler way of dismissing a coach, which happened five days before spring camp.
Phenicie was announced as the new head coach the same day, which raised the eyebrows of even the casual ISU football fans. Keep in mind, Phenicie had no prior head coaching experience and was set to be the receivers coach at Northern Iowa before he returned to Pocatello.
Furthermore, Phenicie was signed to a two-year, multi-tier deal where he agreed to be the lowest paid head coach in the conference for his first year and was guaranteed at least offensive coordinator for the second.
If that doesn’t scream interim head coach, I don’t know what does and you can’t tell me that other coaches weren’t using that against ISU in the game of recruiting.
That is why ISU was smart to announce the agreement.
Even though Phenicie will not officially be under the three-year contract until Idaho State takes the deal to the State Board of Education, opposing recruiters cannot pull the, “Well, I know you like this Phenicie coach, but he might not be there next year,” card.
That ammo is now gone.
I also think that ISU nailed the timing of announcing the extension.
Idaho State announced the extension after an impressive 59-30 win over Portland State where the offense racked up almost 700 yards of total offense. The win marked the fourth of the season, which meant that ISU doubled its win total from last season.
Think about this in terms of signing day as well, which is on February 7.
The high school season is beginning to wind down, which means recruits are starting to narrow in on where they want to go.
Although they don’t have to officially decide until then, or in some cases later than that, ISU nailed the timing of this announcement because it has now kept itself in the conversation with these recruits.
Nobody wants to go to a losing school with an interim coach. But players do want to go to a school where it looks like things are on the upswing with an energetic new coach.