Wednesday, November 30, 2011

As the Carousel Turns-2011 Volume 3

It's time for the most up to date events surrounding the Coaching Carousel that tipped off its spin this week! More information is incoming from all over the country, so let's take a look at the ongoings from around the world of college football...

No changes are anticipated at Maryland, but there are loud grumblings with the failures that have escorted Randy Edsell through his first season in College Park. Several voices want him gone now, but he is likely to get one more season before any fires are lit to oust him. He will be on a short leash in 2012.

Penn State
Rumors abound that the Nittany Lions are seeking a coach from the ranks of the SEC. The lates rumor circled the head of Misissppi State coach Dan Mullen, who appeared to be very upset that this information made it into public hands, calling the rumor "irresponsible". Where there is smoke, there is fire, as Mississippi State is putting together a candidate list just in case Mullen does bolt, which centers around Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Mark Hudspeth. That being said, Hudspeth pulled himself out of consideration for the Mississippi job just two days ago.
Other Candidates: Harvard Coach Tim Murphy, Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald, Boise State Coach Chris Petersen, Iowa State Coach Paul Rhodes

Ohio State
With Urban Meyer firmly entrenched as the new Buckeyes Head Coach, Meyer has made some quick moves on defense, retaining Luke Fickell, and also hiring former Buckeye and NFL LB Mike Vrabel. Moves will come quickly in Columbus.

Texas A&M
There were conversations going on in the athletic complex today at College Station in regards to Coach Mike Sherman. Sherman may very well not be safe, and many feel that the Aggies would be better off with new leadership heading into their debut with the SEC next fall. Coming off of a loss to Texas last week, Sherman would be especially vulnerable to a firing if he were to fall in a bowl game. His position as of tonight is tenuous at best.

Word out of Lawrence is that Kansas is moving ahead with their search quickly, and it may have centered around Florida State assistant Mark Stoops. It is unknown at this time whether or not he has interviewed, but it seems as if the operation is full steam ahead, with him being their primary target at this hour.
Other Candidates: Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Dave Christensen, Wyoming; Nolan Cromwell, Rams WR Coach; Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois; Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; June Jones, SMU; Dirk Koetter, Jacksonville Jaguars OC; Kevin Sumlin, Houston

Nothing new out of Birmingham at this hour, but Oregon Secondary Coach John Neal appears to be the frontrunner. Neal has strong ties to the school, and was a former assistant with the Blazers under former coach Watson Brown. Our source tells us that the unstable nature of this program (no new stadium, talk of shutting down the program) has scared away most major candidates, and many coaches are avoiding this job like the plague.
Other Candidates: Jeff Monken, Georgia Southern; Paul Petrino, Illinois OC; Jason Phillips, Houston OC

George O'Leary has made major staff changes, releasing his DC and others, but he still remains onboard. The staff changes were a way to save himself for another season, but the four years remaining on his contract probably saved him more than anything. It will all be on O'Leary to get the Knights back to the top of the conference next fall, or he may not get any more time past 2012.

Larry Porter made a major mess out of what was already a major mess, and it could take years to clean up, if it ever can be. Major candidates appear to be shunning the Tigers for better opportunities, and it appears unlikely that they can nab anyone from the top pf their list (Hugh Freeze, Hudspeth). Stay tuned.
Other Candidates: Clint Conque, Central Arkansas; Randy Fitchner, Steelers QB Coach; Ross Huesman, Chattanooga; Houston Nutt

Dead Pool swimmer David Bailiff has been thrown a last minute life raft at the 11th hour to save his job. Bailiff will likely be given only one more season to turn Rice into a winner. The Owls did improve somewhat this season, so it all falls in 2012.

The Miners administration have also given Mike Price one more season to straighten out their football program, as UTEP fell one win short of bowl qualifying this season.

Every day we hear that the Green Wave are close to making a hire, only for the deal to fall apart. The current candidates are Oklahoma State OC Todd Monken and New Orleans Saints WR Coach Curtis Johnson. A deal has been imminent for several days running, making this job a running joke. One piec of good news is that Tulane has been approved for the contruction of an on campus stadium, which would move them out of the cavernous Super Dome.
Other Candidates: Manny Diaz, Texas DC; Mark Hudspeth, UL-Lafayette; Jeff Jagodzinsky; Steed Lobotzke, Wake Forest OC; Todd Monken, Oklahoma State OC

The Zips job was offered to none other than Jim Tressel, but Tressel turned them down, offering instead to act as a conusltant to help them find their man. What Akron was even thinking is beyond me, as Tressel brings nothing but baggage and problems with the NCAA. The search has now seemingly narrowed down to Wayne State (MI) head coach Paul Winters, but the Warriors are currently entrenched in D2 playoff games. Others mentioned have been UCLA interim coach Mike Johnson and UConn QB Coach Joe Moorhead.
Other Candidates: Matt Campbell, Toledo OC; Trent Miles, Indiana State

Colorado State
It is largely thought that Steve Fairchild will be fired at CSU after the Rams complete their season this weekend at home against Wyoming. With a loss, the Rams will have finished at 3-9 for the season.

Oregon State
Mike Riley is still standing, and is refusing to make any changes to his staff for 2012. Word is that without immediate improvement next fall, Riley will be out after next season.

Washington State
AD Bill Moos didn't waste a minute, hiring Mike Leach today. Leach was signed to a 5 year deal worth 2.5 million dollars per season today. Leach will have a pool of $1.8 million to hire assistants, and WSU is already working on improving football facilities on campus. This may be the home run hire of the year.

Los Angeles billionaire Casey Wasserman has taken over the UCLA coaching search entirely, according to many sources in LA this week. It has been reported that Wasserman, who donated $50 million to UCLA Medical Center's eye clinic, has cracked open his immense checkbook and will reportedly pay for the next head coach, his staff, and to upgrade UCLA's football facilities. His first target? Boise State coach Chris Petersen, who has been the primary want from day one dating back to September this time around. Before you laugh, consider these factors. First, Petersen's son has special needs, and his doctor in Boise has recently located to UCLA Medical Center, where Petersen's son was seen last week. Second, Petersen is no fan of the Big East flirtations, and prefers not to join the far flung conference. Third, Petersen is rumored to not like the new Boise State school president. Fourth, the graduation of Kellen Moore and many other stars takes place this off season. The second target would apparently be Houston Coach Kevin Sumlin, with Cincinnati Bengals OC Jay Gruden climbing the list.
Other Candidates: Mike Belotti; Tom Cable, Seahawks OL Coach; Herman Edwards; Vic Fangio, 49ers DC; June Jones, SMU; Mike McIntyre, San Jose State; DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State

Arizona State
With Dennis Erickson out, the search has seemingly focused on three current candidates for ASU. Housont Coach Kevin Sumlin, SMU Coach June Jones, and Chicago Bears OC Mike Martz are currently the top three candidates in Tempe. Martz appears to be the favorite, as it has been rumored that Sumlin is waiting to see how things shake out at UCLA with Chris Petersen before making a move.
Other Candidates: Ron English, Eastern Michigan; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; Mark Helfrich, Oregon OC

The focus on this job came down to Alabama DC Kirby Smart today, as it was reported that the Rebeles had come to an agreement with Smart, only to have that news immediately retracted. The Rebels have had problems locking anyone into this job, as UL-Lafayette Coach Mark Hudspeth pulled out after being mentioned as a favorite just two days ago. Arkansas State Coach Hugh Freeze and Southern Mississippi Coach Larry Fedora appear to be the other candidates for the job.
Other Candidates: Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC; Kevin Sumlin, Houston

Florida Atlantic
The Owls have been jilted twice in the last week, first by Mike Leach, and then by Mike Stoops, as the job was offered and nixed by both. Look for the search to turn to former Miami Coach Randy Shannon, who may be very interested indeed. Also mentioned are Terry Bowden of North Alabama, Florida State RB Coach Eddie Gran, and Houston OC Jason Phillips.
Other Candidates: Mentioned Above

With Zook out of the picture, expect the Illini to focus on someone with strong midwestern roots who will know how to attack the Chicago area high schools. No real names have surfaced as frontrunners yet.
Candidates Mentioned: Tim Beckman, Toledo; Paul Chryst, Wisconsin OC; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; Butch Jones, Cincinnati; Todd Monken, Oklahoma State OC; Kevin Sumlin, Houston; Willie Taggert, Western Kentucky; Kirby Wilson, Steelers RB Coach

North Carolina
Expect some movement to a new regime, as Everett Withers seemed to slide towards the end of the season as the schedule got increasingly more difficult. As of today , the search seemed to focus on Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin, but Vandy was busy trying to come up with an extension to lock Franklin down.
Other Candidates: George Edwards, Bills DC; Skip Holtz, South Florida; Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC; Chuck Pagano, Ravens DC; Paul Rhodes, Iowa State

The Minutemen made a change as they leave their FCS foothold to join the FBS and the MAC in 2012. Kevin Wilson was released after three consecutive seasons of either finishing 6-5 or 5-6.
Candidates: Mike Bajakian, Cincinnati OC; Don Brown, UConn DC; Ben Albert, Temple LB Coach; Bill McGovern, Boston College DC; Mark Whipple, Browns QB Coach; Jack Bicknell, Jr., Giants OL Coach
Brown and Whipple are former UMass head coaches who moved on to other jobs.

Northern Michigan (D2)
OC Chris Ostrowski has been named head coach replacing Bernie Anderson. A new DC will need to be hired as well.

South Dakota Mines
A finalist list is expected in the next 5 to 7 days.

Ferris State
The Bulldogs are making a change, as Jeff Pierce is out.

Weber State
As was reported earlier in the week, look for the Wildcats to make a play for Paul Wulff at this time. Also look for a request to interview Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin.

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