After serving as a graduate assistant with a focus on wide receivers at the University of Utah during the 2018 season, Chad Bumphis hoped his budding coaching career would one day lead him back to Salt Lake City.
Bumphis, Utah’s new wide receivers coach, never imagined he would return to the Utes two weeks after taking a different job.
On Feb. 17, Bumphis was announced as the new wide receivers coach at Central Michigan after holding that position for two seasons at Austin Peay. Bumphis had remained in touch with Kyle Whittingham, so when he got the CMU job, he let the Utah head coach know, to which Whittingham congratulated him and told him to stay in touch.
On March 1, Utah confirmed that Guy Holliday was let go as Utah wide receivers coach, opening up that position two weeks before spring practice began on March 15. Bumphis, sensing an opportunity, didn’t wait around.
“I reached out to him, reached out to some guys on the offense just to see what he was looking for, if they had an idea which direction it would go,” Bumphis said Monday morning on a Zoom call. “It worked out. That Thursday (March 4), I interviewed and Saturday morning, I was on a plane, so it worked out just like I wanted basically.”
Two days after Bumphis got on a plane, he was introduced as Utah’s wide receivers coach and for a few reasons, the hire makes a lot of sense.
For starters, Whittingham on Monday noted that there was a time crunch to get someone hired in time for spring practice, which entered its second week on Monday. With little time to work with, Bumphis checked off boxes. He is already familiar with the program, but more importantly, familiar with some in the wide receivers room, including redshirt junior Britain Covey and junior Solomon Enis.
Before Bumphis was hired, Whittingham went to Covey and Enis, among other veterans of the position group who are familiar with Bumphis, and asked what they thought. Both players agreed with Whittingham’s thinking.
“When Coach Whitt asked us about him, we all gave him the highest recommendation,” Covey said. “It’s been nice to have someone that you know, while also having a fresh, new face that brings fire to the room. We really respect him, partly because, go watch his highlights. He’s walked the walk and he is very practical.”
Added Enis: “You always want to see the guys you’ve met before and been coached by before. Coach Bump is such a great guy and he’s had success at other places, so why not bring him back? He already knows people here, and you know guys will like him, because you’ve been coached by him already. I was excited when he got the job.”
Covey’s assertion that Bumphis has walked the walk relates directly to his playing career. Bumphis, 31, led Mississippi State in receiving three times in four seasons, earning All-SEC honors as a senior in 2012. Beyond college, Bumphis spent two seasons on the practice squads of the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars before embarking on a coaching career starting in 2016.
The life of a college football position coach is set up to be chaotic, but the last six weeks have been especially so for Bumphis, who has worked at three different schools in that span, Austin Peay, Central Michigan and Utah. The benefit here for Bumphis is that his wife is on board with the chaos, and that is no surprise given her background.
Nataly Bumphis is the daughter of Oregon special teams/tight end coach Bobby Williams. The head coach at Michigan State from 1999-2002, Williams has worked at seven different colleges, plus three seasons with two different NFL teams and one year spent with national high school power St. Thomas Aquinas.
Yes, Nataly Bumphis understands the grind of a football coach, including the need to move, sometimes on a whim. Chad Bumphis noted that his wife is currently still in Nashville getting ready to move to Utah, which means the CMU hire and exit was so quick, that she never even made it to Michigan.
“It’s been wild, it’s been a wild ride, and you don’t expect it,” Chad Bumphis said. “I was in Michigan thinking I would be there for a while, and bam, this opportunity happened and I jumped on it.”