Dec 082011
Authors: Cris Tiller and Kevin Lytle

New CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham is in the middle of arguably his biggest decision on the job and he isn’t taking any chances.

Graham refused to reveal any names or exactly where he is in the process of hiring the next head coach of the football team Thursday afternoon.

He remained adamant that the style of play of his next head coach has no factor in his decision and that he simply wants someone capable of inspiration for the program.

“I’m not trying to hire a coach that has a specific orientation toward an offensive team or a defensive team,” Graham said. “I’m looking for a head coach who has very, very strong leadership skills.”

But on Sunday after announcing the firing of Steve Fairchild, Graham alluded to his desire for a speed-oriented team.

Here are five potential candidates…

Billy Gonzales

Gonzales is a former CSU wide receiver from 1990-93 and currently serves as LSU’s wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

Gonzales comes from the Urban Meyer coaching tree serving as Meyer’s wide receivers coach and co-recruiting coordinator at Bowling Green and wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at Utah.

He followed Meyer to Florida from 2005-09, again coaching wide receivers and as the recruiting coordinator before moving to LSU for last year and this season.

Gonzales has coached in eight bowl games, including two national championship games with Florida.

Tony Alford

Another former CSU player, Alford was a running back for the Rams from 1987-90, racking up some of the best numbers in school history.

He holds the school record for most rush yards in a game with 310 and was an honorable mention All-American in 1989.

Since leaving CSU, Alford has been an assistant for 17 years. He currently serves as the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame.

This is his second season coaching wide receivers, his first 15 years in coaching he was in charge of running backs at five different schools before going to Notre Dame.

Philip Montgomery

If you’re looking for an offensive coach, Montgomery has a pretty impressive resume.

Currently the co-offensive coordinator at Baylor, Montgomery leads an offense that scores almost 44 points per game behind the play of Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III.

And before coming to Baylor, Montgomery served as Houston’s co-offensive coordinator on a team that ranked fourth nationally in total yards.

Montgomery could be the perfect candidate to mold CSU’s young quarterbacks. He has helped mold stars Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum and Griffin.

Todd Monken

Monken has a nice blend of NFL and college experience. He currently works as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Oklahoma State, but served as wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-10.

He has an impressive resume that includes stints at LSU as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach before moving on to the NFL and Oklahoma State.

Monken helped lead one of the most potent offenses in the country, throwing for 557 yards per game while rushing for another 171. His offense ranked second in scoring offense at 49.3 points per game.

He has also served as a coach for eight bowl games and coached 13 NFL wide receivers.

Jason Phillips

Going back to the state of Texas, Phillips is current offensive coordinator for offensive powerhouse Houston.

Phillips also has NFL experience as a coaching intern with the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.

He was selected to participate in the 2008 Coaches Academy Program and the 2010 NCAA Champions Forum designed to find future head coaching candidates.

Phillip’s offense ranked first in the country with nearly 51 points per game tallying almost 8,000 yards of total offense on the season.

Sports Editor Cris Tiller and Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at

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