USU football: Aggies give up on coach Guy

He tells his players that he will step aside after their Nov. 29 season finale against New Mexico State
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Utah State football coach Brent Guy, who has failed to win more than three games during any of his four seasons in Logan, was fired Sunday, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.

As first reported on The Tribune's Web site, multiple sources close to the program confirmed Guy and USU athletic director Scott Barnes delivered news of the dismissal to the team during a Sunday afternoon meeting.

Guy will finish out the season, with his last game on Nov. 29 at Romney Stadium against New Mexico State.

A press conference has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. today.

Guy's firing ends months of speculation about his job status. After winning a total of just six games in his first three years at USU, Guy was squarely on the hot seat entering this season. Going into the fourth year of a five-year contract, he publicly acknowledged that he needed to produce wins.

The Aggies - who have a bye this week - are just 2-9 entering their season finale.

The question now is, who will succeed Guy?

John L. Smith, who coached the Aggies from 1995-97 and posted a 15-18 record that included two victories over Utah, would be a popular choice among USU fans. Fired by Michigan State during the 2006 season, Smith wants to coach again. But the Aggies could have competition for Smith, who is believed to have strong interest in the Wyoming job if coach Joe Glenn is fired. Kent Baer and Michael Canales, former USU players who were the other finalists when Guy was hired, are certain to contend for the job again.

Baer, a longtime defensive coordinator whose stops have included Notre Dame and Washington, is currently San Jose State's linebackers coach. Canales, a former New York Jets assistant, is South Florida's passing game coordinator.

USU is also likely to have interest in Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen, who was Southern Utah's head coach in 2003 between stints with the Utes. Andersen's defense held the Aggies to 116 yards in Utah's 58-10 victory in September.

New Mexico offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin is another probable candidate. A former San Jose State head coach, Baldwin had success as Michigan State's offensive coordinator under Smith.

Before the season, the conventional wisdom was that Guy needed to win at least four games this season in order to receive an extension and be bought back next season. In that light, he was the victim of a little bad luck. Had the Aggies held on to defeat Louisiana Tech in Saturday's 45-38 loss - USU led 38-35 late - Guy may still have a job. Were it not for a 58-yard field goal in a last-second loss to Fresno State, he also might still be employed.

Guy is a meager 8-38 in his tenure. But whoever succeeds him won't have a bare cupboard like the one Guy inherited when he replaced Mick Dennehy in 2005.

Diondre Borel, a sophomore, has had a breakout season at quarterback. Robert Turbin leads a host of talented freshman running backs. Stanley Morrison, a redshirt freshman, is a talent at split end.

The Aggies displayed stretches of brilliance this season, but the rest of the time were mostly a disappointment. Losing the season opener to UNLV was a blow. Getting routed at San Jose State, Nevada and Boise State - the Aggies were generally horrible on the road - hurt Guy as well.

At home, however, there were bright spots. The Aggies gave No. 14 BYU all it wanted for a half.And they defeated Hawaii, a team they hadn't been competitive against since entering the WAC. Add the fact that the on-campus facilities are much better now than at the beginning of the Guy tenure, and it's clear that USU's made strides during his time at the helm - and his successor will likely be the beneficiary.

Tough times

Brent Guy's record as head coach at Utah State:

Wins / Losses

2005: 3 / 8

2006: 1 / 11

2007: 2 / 10

2008*: 2 / 9

Total: 8 / 38

* - Aggies' season finale is Nov. 29 vs. New Mexico State