Bobby Wilder, the only coach the resurrected Old Dominion Monarchs football program has ever known, has signed a one-year contract extension, keeping him at the school until 2019.
The move was announced this morning, and isn't a surprise, considering the Monarchs' at-times modest but noticeable entry into FBS and Conference USA play. The team finished 6-6 (including wins over Rice and Louisiana Tech), bowl-eligible in their first season in the upper division, quite a feat for a program that has only been playing for six seasons, five of those in FCS.
But one wonders in a day and age where the bigger programs often dish out cash like they have a room on campus dedicated to printing out currency (looking your way, Ohio State, since you're paying Urban Meyer over $6 million a year now) if Wilder will actually be in town in 2019, especially if the Monarchs find further success down the road. I'd guarantee that Old Dominion (as nice a school as it may be) simply doesn't have the resources to get into a bidding war with a Power Five school should one inquire of his services.
Wilder's previous contract, which was signed in 2013 and originally ran until 2018, had some language in it to prepare the school for the possibility of his departure. That's likely modified in the extension, and we'll have to wait to see the specifics of it to see what those exact modifications are. But let's jump into a theoretical situation: ODU somehow wins the C-USA title next year and a coaching position at an under-performing P5 school opens up—let's say Virginia for argument's sake, since they're in the same state. Let's also say Mike London has another disappointing season and is axed. I'd have a hard time believing that one of the first calls Craig Littlepage would make wouldn't be to Norfolk. The University of Virginia has two things ODU doesn't: a bigger conference and more money, and when those two things come together, that makes for some tough decisions.
Of course, this is all hypothetical. The Monarchs could turn out to be simply average in FBS. Bobby Wilder could decide to stay in Norfolk for the rest of his coaching career, or he could be fired and never get a shot at a big-time job. But if things fall into place, and the opportunity presents itself, you'd have to wonder what his next move will be.