Football coaching search is on


Photo credit: Parker Olsen

Parker Olsen, Men’s Sports Editor

It may be the offseason for the UW-Whitewater football team but it is full speed ahead in the athletic department. A search is being conducted for the team’s next head coach. After the conclusion of the 2022 season and having led the program for seven years Kevin Bullis retired, opening the door to one of the most high profile positions in the country.

Athletic Director Ryan Callahan is well aware of the attention and pressure that is on him and the Whitewater football program to pick someone who can keep the program as one of the best in the nation.

Recently Callahan was at the national NCAA convention and he was often told about how big of a decision he has upcoming. With such a big position up for grabs it warrants people from around the nation going after the head coaching job. Callahan knows that no matter how good a job it is, there are limitations, namely pay. People who are higher up in the college football world may not want to take a pay cut. According to Callahan though, there have been people who have been fine with that potential.

After an early playoff exit, some have been worried about the trajectory of the program. Callahan knows that the team has had its miscues, but he also knows that who Whitewater is has not changed.

“We had a couple times when we failed to execute but overall what we have is not broken,” Callahan said. “It’s not like we have to rebuild, we just have to reload a few positions and we’ll be alright.”


How does the athletic department go about making this major decision? 

No task this tall could be handled by one person, that’s why a search and screen committee was assembled to find the best candidates. The committee is made up of a diverse group of community members, a student athlete, and representatives from various offices around campus which will ultimately be affected by or work with the new head coach.

The job was posted for about a month, open for applicants who have at least a year of head coaching or coordinating experience. According to Callahan this is a little longer than usual because of the holiday season.

Phone interviews were conducted by the committee, which then decided on a handful of candidates who are to be brought on campus for an in person interview. Those, likely four, candidates are to be named as finalists for the position. This is where we are in the process right now, selecting the finalists who should be named any day. After the on campus interviews, one of the candidates will be offered the position.


What are they looking for in the next head coach?

The standard at Whitewater is competing nationally, and they are looking for someone who can continue to have the Warhawks deep in the national conversation. There is more than just being good at the job though.

“You want to do it the right way, for me that’s the most important part,” Callahan said. “In basketball last year, our women’s team was able to get national runner up and I really do believe they do it the right way. That’s what I’ll be looking for in this coach.”

According to him there has been no thought about hiring someone offensive or defensive minded, it is a bigger decision than that.

Callahan emphasized the importance of wanting someone who is a good mentor for both players and coaches. Ultimately he wants someone who can help put a focus on the student part of the student athlete and get them to walk across the stage with a degree.

Someone who will immediately set a standard of accountability is also a desirable trait for those applying to the job. Callahan says that a comment he once heard has stuck with him: “If you set your accountability standards right away you should limit the need for difficult conversations going forward.”


What is the state of the program as they operate under an interim head coach?

Jace Rindahl was named the interim head coach immediately after Bullis retired. Despite it being the offseason right now is an important time in college football. Recruits are visiting, getting offered spots on rosters and ultimately making their decisions on where they will compete. 

While Whitewater goes through a time of, as Callahan described it, having a lot of things up in the air, there is still excitement and comfortability in the program. Recruits are still visiting and committing while the coaches still work hard to make Warhawk football the best it can be.

Callahan gave kudos to the coaches and recruits, as well as their families, for being comfortable with what is going on and being trusting in the program.

“The feedback I’ve gotten from the coaches so far is that they’re pumped to be a part of Warhawk Football. Whoever the head coach is, they’re excited to be a part of it. They’re ready to build on the legacy that was laid many many years ago,” Callahan said.


According to Callahan they are hoping to have an offer to a candidate and hopefully an announcement of who the coach is around the first week of February. No matter who is named the 22nd head coach in Warhawk football history, be assured that the people who put them in power worked hard to make the right decision for the future of the program and the young student athletes that they will help guide to the next chapter of their lives.