From a Navy fan’s point of view, the Georgia Southern head coaching search boiled down to Ivin Jasper vs. Not Ivin Jasper. In the end, it was the latter that won out, as the powers that be in Statesboro chose Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz.
I don’t follow Georgia Southern closely enough to have too much of an opinion on the hire, but I am a little surprised that Coach Jasper didn’t get the job. He seemed like the natural pick to keep the momentum going after Jeff Monken returned the program to its option-running roots. Then again, perhaps Jasper’s background worked against him instead of for him. Jasper was probably seen as the “safe” pick. Maybe the AD wanted to make a splash instead, to put his own stamp on the program. Maybe the school’s leadership felt that the new FBS era called for a new approach. Or maybe they just plain liked Fritz more. Certainly his record as a head coach speaks for itself, and there are plenty of football programs that would feel lucky to have him.
Whatever their reasoning, Georgia Southern’s loss is most definitely Navy’s gain. I’m pretty sure that anyone reading this blog already knows what I think about the Navy offense under Jasper. Not quite as obvious is how good he is as a quarterbacks coach. He’s so good at teaching quarterbacks how to run the option that Navy feels they can go after any quarterback, not just guys who ran the option in high school. Without Coach Jasper, there is no Ricky Dobbs or Keenan Reynolds. He single-handedly increases Navy’s recruiting pool. All of that really only scratches the surface on everything he does for the Navy program.
Football is just fun for us fans, but it’s a career for these coaches. I know that. Coach Jasper has earned the chance to run his own team. That said, my emotions here are not mixed. I’m thrilled that he’s still in Annapolis. Yeah it’s selfish, but I don’t care. Coach Jasper is awesome, and I like when awesome people are at the Naval Academy. It’s only a matter of time before someone does give Jasper a head coaching job, and whoever does will probably become my second favorite team. Until then I’m just going to be thankful for every season this coaching staff sticks together.