In the days following the department's decision to fire Jeff Quinn some knowledgeable Bull Run readers brought today's FCS playoff coach up. To be perfectly honest I slept on it at the time, I had tunnel vision on a "Big fish".
It's easy to want a big splash hire to elevate your program but many a MAC school has had great success picking up the right FCS head coach.
Once I tuned into Moorhead I remembered that back in 2009, right after Turner Gill was hired away by Kansas, that he was one of the coaches being rumored as a replacement.
His first job coaching in then-Division IA was as a wide receivers at Akron under for JD Brookhart. In 2005 Domenik Hixon, under Moorhead's guidance, set a school single-season record with 1,210 receiving yards and was a huge factor in the Zips winning their first Mid-American Conference championship.
In 2007, wide receiver Jabari Arthur was ranked 11th in the country in receptions per game with 7.2 and was 12th in receiving yards per game with 96.7.
In 2008 his "multiple-no huddle" offensive scheme produced perhaps the best offense of his career when the Zips were just one of 17 schools be ranked among the top 50 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
Moorhead joined the University of Connecticut staff in 2009 as offensive coordinator. The Huskies won a Big East Championship in 2010 and made an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. Following that season he was hired by Fordham, his Alma Mater, as their head coach.
After going 6-5 in his first year in 2012, Moorheard led the Rams to unprecedented success last fall, guiding the team to a 12-2 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA FCS Championship, advancing to the second round of the championship for just the second time in school history.
Fordham won the first ten games of 2013. The school was at one point ranked fifth in the NCAA FCS polls, Fordham’s highest-ever ranking on the FCS level. The Rams had their most wins since 1920 and among them was a defeat of Temple, a win over a top-ten ranked Villanova and the school’s first ever home NCAA FCS championship playoff win.
This season he is back at it. The Rams won the Patriot league and finished the year 10-2. They are on the road against Sacred Heart this Saturday in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
The only question I have around his success at Fordham is that the Rams tend to offer more scholarships than their Patriot League counterparts. This concern is somewhat mitigated by the fact that Moorhead has stood toe to toe with teams with more money and more scholarships and came out victorious.
Five years ago I said of Moorheard
I'm on the fence on this one, on one hand he has made some great offenses but mostly at the mid major level. This is either a guy who is the real deal, thus affording UB a chance to get in on the ground floor, or he is a flash in the pan.
He's proven at UConn and Fordham that he is no flash in the pan. The guy knows how to win football games and has ten years of experience coaching and recruiting in the Northeast. He knows the MAC, he knows football, and he might just be the guy to get UB back to winning.