College programs are always on the lookout for the next hot coordinator who is ready to become a solid head coach. Most young coordinators are looking for that opportunity to prove themselves. That’s the situation that Arkansas Razorbacks defensive coordinator Chris Ash finds himself in as he tries to turn his position in Fayetteville into his first head coaching gig.
Ash came with Bret Bielema from the Wisconsin Badgers this offseason to see if he could conquer the SEC. Wisconsin’s defense was under Ash for two seasons and went to Rose Bowl games each time. His units allowed just 5.1 yards per play and only 19.5 points per game. His coaching style and demeanor have made him a natural fit with Bielema, which made it easy for the new coach of the Hogs to bring him south with him.
If you ask just about anybody who has been around Ash, they agree that he has the presence of a head coach and he has been building the resume to give himself that opportunity. Arkansas has been kept out of the SEC title hunt by their defense on more than one occasion, so if Ash can turn things around in the next season or two and make them a respectable SEC defense, teams will be coming after him to lead their programs in droves.
A possible landing spot for Ash could be back in the Big 12 with the Iowa State Cyclones. If things start to go south in Ames in the next few seasons, the program may be enticed to make a change and hand the reins over to Ash who spent a major portion of his assistant coaching career on the Iowa State staff.
His ability lead and recruit make it just a matter of time before Ash ends up as a head coach somewhere. Will his work at Arkansas make that day sooner rather than later?