Matt Lubick

Nebraska offensive coordinator Matt Lubick is in the mix to be MSU’s next coach. (Journal Star file)

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A Nebraska assistant coach with Montana State ties is in the running to be the Bobcats’ next head coach.

Husker offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick is a candidate for the head coaching job at Montana State, where his father, Sonny, worked for more than a decade, multiple sources told the Journal Star on Wednesday.

It is unclear exactly how formal the talks have been or if Lubick has interviewed in person or remotely, but he has deep connections to the Bozeman area. He was born here and played his college ball at Montana Western, where he was teammates with multiple MSU assistant coaches.

Lubick also worked from 2007-09 at Arizona State under former Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson, a Montana State graduate and long-ago Bobcat assistant coach who is still respected in the area and is part of MSU’s search committee.

Lubick just finished his first year as the offensive coordinator at Nebraska, where he rejoined a familiar face in coach Scott Frost.

Frost and Lubick coached together at Oregon. Frost has enough trust in him that he handed over some of the play-calling duties, the first time in Frost’s five seasons as a head coach that he’s given any of that power to his offensive coordinator.

Former MSU head coach Jeff Choate left last week to take an assistant job at Texas.

Lubick would have to take a pay cut for the chance to be a head coach. He makes $500,000 as NU’s offensive coordinator. Choate’s base salary at MSU was about $206,000, but other guarantees moved it to more like $300,000.

Lubick has been a full-time college assistant coach every year since 1996 — except for the year he took off in 2018 to work at a credit union in Fort Collins, Colorado — but has never been a head coach.

Frost on Friday told the Journal Star that he trusted Lubick enough to hand off some of the play-calling workload to him over the second half of NU’s 2020 season.

“I trust Matt. He’s up in the box where he can stay calm and think through things,” Frost said. “He and I talk between series, talk about the stuff we want to get to in the series. He writes all that down, we talk about our first plays and what we want to get to on our first third down and what we want to get to on our first play in the red zone and what we want to get to in the tight red zone, what tempo plays we might want to go with.

“We then both operate off a shortlist for each series.”

Sources also tell 406mtsports.com that others expressing interest in the position include former Nebraska and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley, now offensive coordinator with the XFL’s Seattle Dragons; former Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher; and former MSU assistant Jason McEndoo, now a tight ends and running backs coach at Oklahoma State.

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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