Chris Marcie discuses why Head Coach Mark Hudspeth stands firm at Louisiana-LaFayette.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth high fives with fans as he leads the team to the stadium prior to kickoff against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Cajun Field. (Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports)
NEW ORLEANS (C+P) — Good coaches don’t seem to last in the Sun Belt Conference. Gus Malzahn, Willie Taggart, and Bobby Petrino are just a few examples of coaches who came to the Sun Belt to strut their stuff before being picked up by one of the college football powerhouses.
Well, against all odds, ULL head coach Mark Hudspeth will be returning to Lafayette in 2015 for his fifth season with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
What Hudspeth has been able to do with the ULL football program is unprecedented. This man took a team that averaged less than four wins a season over the 14 years prior to his arrival and turned it into literally the most consistent team in all of football with four consecutive seasons with a 9-4 finish and a New Orleans Bowl victory. Hard to be more consistent than that.
There could be a million reasons why Hudspeth hasn’t been snatched up by a bigger team. Maybe it’s because he lacks a defining win against a power conference school. Well, that and he tends to get blown out in those games. ULL is 0-8 in those games, and only in his 2011 matchup against Arizona and the 2012 game against the Florida Gators was the final score within 20 points.
But it’s hard to blame the coach for that. Everyone knows that a school like ULL is not going to have the same level of players as an SEC team or a Big-12 school. Hudspeth is 36-8 against more evenly-matched teams, which is quite the feat considering the school couldn’t even win those games before his arrival.
Maybe it’s because he has been too steady with his success, bringing the program from 3-9 to 9-4 in his first year and then remaining at that record. After all, Gary Anderson got the Wisconsin job by bringing Utah State from 7-6 to 11-2. Maybe Hud was just a little off on his timing doing it year one.
I think Mark Hudspeth stayed because he loves ULL and the team. The fans love their coach, and the school is able to provide him with everything he needs to win. It’s a nice job, so why leave?
Whatever reason Hudspeth has for remaining with Lafayette, it is great for the school. And who knows, maybe Hud will jump to 11-2 this season or in 2016, and maybe then he’ll field some offers from big name programs. Until then, he’s fine right where he is.