We said all along that this search was unlike any other that we’ve been around for. From the beginning and middle with its virtual wall of silence from Mark Sandy and Ball State to now to the presumed end with a stellar hire, Coachsearch 16 was an exercise in patience and now presumed success as sources with knowledge of the coaching search have confirmed what Fox Sports initially reported: Ball State University will name Mike Neu, former Cardinal and current New Orleans Saints assistant coach, the next head football coach for BSU. The announcement could come as early as Thursday afternoon if i’s are dotted and t’s crossed on both Neu’s side and the University’s. If that is not accomplished a Friday announcement is likely. Details of the contract (salary, terms, length) were not immediately known and a message for official confirmation or details from BSU was not returned by this publication.
What Ball State is getting is a head coach intimately familiar with the program and the ins and outs of Muncie and BSU, seeing as how Neu was a former Cardinal, winning the 1993 MAC Offensive Player of the Year. He want on to a stint as a player in the Arena League, a coach in the Arena League, and most recently the QB coach of the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. While a Cardinal, Neu completed his career as Ball State’s all-time leading passer with 6,221 yards and 43 touchdown passes. Riley Neal should be pretty jazzed about that little nugget.
The ability of a MAC squad to “win the press conference” is a rarity considering the budgets MAC programs work with, BSU especially. But I won’t lie and say I’m not excited. First and foremost, it is someone who understands the logistics and (sometimes) warts of this program. Second, it is a coach with a commitment and a mind for offense, not just delegation and CEO-ness. Third, it’s someone with head coach experience which is always a plus. Truth be told, between the last few hires (Lembo, Parrish, and Hoke specifically) a case could be made that Neu’s background is as solid or more so than any of them.
So welcome to Coach Neu. It’s always a great day to be a Cardinal, but especially so when hope and optimism springs eternal at the Scheu.
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