Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have confirmed that the Murray State coach — a Georgia native and former coach at Valdosta State and Georgia Southern — is a candidate to be Kennesaw State’s first football coach. A source close to Hatcher said he interviewed for the position over the weekend.
The Macon-born Hatcher has a career record of 112-42 in 13 seasons, with winning records at each of his three head-coaching stops. Hatcher was most successful at Valdosta State, his alma mater, where he led the Blazers to a 76-12 record and the 2004 Division II national championship.
He left Valdosta State for Georgia Southern in 2007 and led the Eagles to an 18-15 record over three seasons before being fired after the final game of the 2009 season. Hatcher has spent the last three seasons at Murray State, leading the Racers — like Georgia Southern, a Football Championship Subdivision program — to an 18-15 mark.
A Murray State spokesman said Hatcher would have no comment, saying that Hatcher “doesn’t speak about open vacancies at other schools.”
Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams had no comment other than to say he was “excited about the search and the progress being made.”
Two other confirmed candidates are a pair of current Georgia Tech assistants — linebackers coach Andy McCollum and Brian Bohannon, who coaches the quarterbacks and B-backs.
McCollum, a Marietta native, has coached for three decades, with additional stops at North Carolina State, Baylor, and UTEP. He has previous head-coaching experience at Middle Tennessee from 1999-2005, where he led the Blue Raiders to a Sun Belt Conference championship in 2001 and helped take the program into the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Last Saturday, McCollum withdrew his name from consideration as a candidate for the head-coaching job at his alma mater, Austin Peay.
Bohannon has no head-coaching experience, but has been part of Paul Johnson’s coaching staff the last 17 years at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Kennesaw State had interviewed at least three finalists for the job over the weekend and that there may be up to six finalists overall.
Hatcher, an All-American quarterback at Valdosta State in the 1990s, is known for his wide-open offensive approach — the “Hatch Attack.” Murray State’s offense has rolled up more than 5,000 yards each of the last two years.
It’s a system he learned under his coach at Valdosta State, Hal Mumme, whom he later followed to Kentucky as an assistant. Hatcher has also been quarterbacks coach to a pair of future NFL players in Kentucky’s Tim Couch and Central Florida’s Daunte Culpepper.
Hatcher would fit into the criteria Williams said he is looking for in a head coach.
“My preference will be someone from Georgia — a native son that has done good work and works well with the student-athletes,” Williams said after last month’s announcement that football would kick off on the Kennesaw State campus in 2015.
Another coach that is likely being considered is current Valdosta State coach David Dean, who succeeded Hatcher as the Blazers’ coach in 2007 and has since led the team to a pair of Division II national championships.
Dean began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech before spending four years as Valdosta State’s wide receivers coach. He left for West Georgia, where stayed as an assistant from 1992-99, and then returned to work on Hatcher’s Valdosta State staff in 2000.
Williams has said that he wants to have coach in place at Kennesaw State by the end of the month.