Troy athletics director Brent Jones isn’t placing a timetable or requiring specific coaching experience in searching for a new leader of the football program.
What he wants is a coach who can contend for championships, something Chip Lindsey was unable to accomplish during his three seasons at the helm before being fired Sunday.
“When you look at the different metrics, you’re looking for a proven winner,” Jones said Tuesday. “You’re looking for a person who can connect with the fan base.
“You’re looking for a leader that obviously can connect with players and has a plan in place to take Troy football back to the top of the Sun Belt Conference.
“We are going to have a very thorough and detailed search. It’s a wide-open search right now for the leader of Troy football. I felt like this was a needed decision to get our program to contend for championships.”
Jones met with Lindsey on Sunday, a day after the Trojans dropped a 45-7 home decision to Appalachian State, falling to 5-6 overall, 3-4 in conference mark. Lindsey’s overall record in three seasons was 15-19.
“It did not come lightly,” Jones said of the decision. “It was after significant review with our program. We expect to compete for championships – that’s been the stated goal – and we’re unwavering in that commitment. We feel like this is one of the best jobs in the Group of 5, as well as one of the best jobs in the Sun Belt Conference.”
Defensive coordinator Brandon Hall was named interim coach and will lead the Trojans in the regular-season finale this Saturday at Georgia State.
“It’s obviously been a whirlwind the last 48 hours,” Hall said. “We were able to get the guys on the field Sunday evening after our A.D. Brent Jones met with the guys. We wanted to get them out on the practice field as soon as possible to get a sense of normalcy of what we were doing.
“We took yesterday (Monday) off to let those guys focus on their academics coming towards the near of the school year. It also allowed us coaches to start game planning for Georgia State.”
Jones didn’t hesitate in putting Hall in charge.
“I had the opportunity to really follow coach Hall for four years now,” Jones said. “I watched him from a special teams coach to the last three years being a defensive coordinator and have the utmost respect for him.
“He’s a hard worker. Our defense is Top 25 in the nation; probably top 10 in the Group of 5. What coach Hall has done in rallying his troops has been outstanding and I have the utmost confidence in him.
“When I brought him in on Sunday and asked him to step up and to be the interim head coach, he said, ‘Brent, I’ll do whatever I need to for our players.’ That’s what you want to hear.”
Hall said the message to the team was simple.
“I think they could tell by coach Lindsey’s message that he cared for them and he loved them, and he wanted them to go out and win this week,” Hall said. “My message to them was at the end of the day was Troy football is bigger than any one person.
“There are so many moving parts within this program, and whether I’m the coach, or whoever is the coach, Troy football is going to continue to be successful.
“The most important thing for us right now is for us to get ready to go and represent Troy in the best way possible against a great opponent. We still have some incredible goals that we can accomplish, especially for these seniors and send them out the right way.”
Hall will continue to direct the defense this week along with his interim head coaching duties and said running backs coach Cole Weeks would call the offense and Dayne Brown continues his role with special teams.
Should Troy win against Georgia State, it would be bowl eligible. Jones said the program would accept a bowl invitation if it comes to fruition.
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” Jones said. “That’s a discussion I had with coach Hall. I said, ‘I would like for you to be the interim coach throughout the season. The expectations are for us to go to a bowl game and to coach throughout that and until we name the next leader for the Troy Trojan football program.’”
With the early signing period in December fast approaching, Hall said recruiting is somewhat in a holding pattern.
“Because of the situation last year with COVID, we have a lot of super seniors and did not really have a lot of room to sign a bunch of 2022 guys,” Hall said. “We have five committed right now that are wonderful people who are Troy type of guys.
“In talking to our athletic director, he’s going to reach out to each and every one of those guys and honor those commitments. They’re going to be great players here regardless of who the coach is. When the next person comes in, he can move forward with the plan that he feels is best for this football program.”