Thursday, December 3, 2015

As the Coaching Carousel Turns: 12/4/15 Edition

As the Coaching Carousel Turns: 12/4/15

Here’s the latest from the carousel this week…

Newly Hired

UCF made a surprising move after their deal with Dino Babers fell apart when the administration made an announcement prior to the MAC title game, which was against Babers’ wishes. UCF then turned to Oregon OC Scott Frost, who also had a deal on the table from Syracuse. Frost turned down the Orangemen to take a gig in a better climate, and overall, UCF is a much more stable situation long term. Frost should bring an entirely different energy to Orlando than the program had under George O’Leary, and the recruiting intensity ought to increase immediately.
With Mark Richt having been let go at Georgia, the door immediately opened for his return to his Alma Mater in Miami. Richt flirted with the opening at Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland this week before settling in on a deal that will pay him $4 million per season with a salary pool of $2.5 million for assistants. Miami has always had a reputation of not wanting to pay, and it has cost them in the past, so this time they made sure to open the wallets and pay up, and it turned out wonderfully for them. Richt will likely win right away at Miami, and will likely be under less pressure while ridding himself of the meat grinder of the SEC. The ACC is much more winnable, and Richt ought to be able to run the program his way without the kind of overbearing pressure felt at Georgia.

Virginia Tech
As stated earlier in the week, Virginia tech moved quickly and hired Justin Fuente from Memphis. This was a great hire that moves the Hokie program into the future, and Fuente got to keep Bud Foster at DC in the process.

Iowa State
Iowa State hired Matt Campbell from Toledo this week in a major coup event. Campbell’s name had been surfacing with what I consider to be better jobs at Missouri, Virginia, and South Carolina, but he jumped early to head to Ames.

Campbell has already lost his OC at Iowa State, however, as Jason Candle went back to Toledo after following Campbell to Ames, and Candle is now the new head football coach with the Rockets. I stated earlier in the week that I felt that it was likely that Toledo would try to retain someone from the former staff to take over, and that is exactly what they did. This was a solid move for continuity.

Maryland made a big move by hiring DJ Durkin away from Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan. While a solid hire, Durkin is not exactly the high powered offense guy that the Terps were longing over when the process began to find a new coach. Durkin, a defensive specialist, is sort of on the other end of the spectrum, but he still has not identified a new OC as of yet, so we shall see what they can get.

Illinois decided to stay out of the job search for the time being by retaining interim coach Bill Cubit, even after the Illini closed out at 5-7. Cubit, the former OC and Head Coach at Western Michigan, got a 2 year deal to stick around, but I am guessing that once the job search scene has a chance to cool down somewhat next year, they could be in the market once again if Cubit collapses.

Hawaii made a smart, move forward kind of hire when they gave their job to Nevada OC and former Rainbow QB Nick Rolovich. There was a strong push to bring back June Jones, who did apply, however this move signals a move towards the future, which is exactly where Hawaii needs to focus.

Georgia moved quickly in replacing Mark Richt when they unofficially announced the hiring of Kirby Smart from Alabama. Smart, a Georgia guy who played for the Bulldogs, should be an interesting hire, but the offense needs to be fixed immediately, and Smart is a defensive guy. We shall see how this plays out as UGA is expected to make an official announcement next week.

Texas Southern
Texas Southern is the first of now 10 schools that were looking for coaches on the FCS level, as they announced the hiring of former Pittsburgh head coach Mike Haywood today. Haywood, who had off field issues that kept him from ever coaching a game for the Panthers, has gotten himself together and is looking to work his way back up the ladder once again. This is a strong hire for TSU, which had underperformed in 2015, leading to the firing of Darrell Asberry.

Still Looking

With no coach hired, at least we will now know who that coach will be working for. Northern Iowa AD Troy Dannen will be the new Athletic Director at Tulane. Now that this issue has been handled, he can get to work to find a new coach. The only candidates mentioned were in my post earlier this week, Terry Bowden of Akron, and Houston Nutt. Apparently, Tulane is not overly excited about either option, so expect a fresh batch of candidates in the coming days.

The odds on favorite for this job is Bowling Green coach Dino Babers, who already turned down UCF. Babers will coach Bowling Green in the MAC title game Friday night,  but could take the job as early as Saturday or Sunday. Chris Ash of Ohio State has already walked away from this job, and was considered as the other favorite. Other names associated that could come into play if Babers falls through are Ed Orgeron, Ed Warriner, Al Golden, and Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia.

UVA has to be let down to see Mark Richt get away to Miami, as they had focused in on him after an interview in the last 48 hours. It would seem that Richt was never as interested in this job as they were in him. Now Virginia turns to Sonny Dykes of Cal, Al Golden, Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm, and Greg Schiano. Brohm could be a dark horse who is moving up the list rapidly, and may fall in right behind Dykes as a favorite.

Michigan Defensive Coordinator
With DJ Durkin having moved on to Maryland (he will not coach in Michigan’s bowl appearance), Jim Harbaugh is concentrating on a replacement. Early names are Stanford DC Lance Anderson, current assistant and former DC Greg Mattison, and current DB coach Greg Jackson.

With Kyle Flood finally gone, Rutgers can move forward from the mess that was the Kyle Flood era. Al Golden, Ohio State assistant Chris Ash, and another Ohio State assistant in Ed Warriner are all hot candidates as of now. Former head coach Greg Schiano is highly unlikely, as he seems loathe to return to Rutgers at this point.

UTSA Offensive Coordinator
It would seem that many fans got their wish this week when it was announced that Kevin Brown would not be returning as OC in 2016. No word yet on potential candidates, however I will report any names that I can find in the coming days.

North Texas
This search is a bit of a mess, as Dusty Meacham was expected to be named head coach only to pull out of consideration leaving North Carolina OC Seth Litrell as the lone remaining mentioned candidate. That being the case, no official announcement has been made, as UNC is playing Clemson in the ACC title game this weekend. Here’s hoping that this gets settled either on Sunday or Monday.

There has been a ton of action on the Missouri front, with as many as five candidates having been interviewed in the last few days. Current DC Barry Odom is still in the mix, and apparently is no longer a candidate at Memphis, but more on that later. Sonny Dykes of Cal has interviewed, and Troy Calhoun of Air Force, Mike Bobo of Colorado State, and Matt Wells of Utah State have all interviewed in the Denver area this week. There is no telling as of now who the favorite is, but Barry Odom feels that he has a strong chance. In my opinion, he is the right hire for this job.
Update: (10:09 PM PST) Barry Odom is now the official head coach at Missouri and has agreed to a five year deal.

South Carolina
There is a lot of smoke and buzz around this job. Will Muschamp is so confident that he is reaching out to potential assistants should he get the job, but South Carolina is still adding to the candidate list, so Muschamp may be a bit myopic here. Sonny Dykes of Cal has had contact with officials regarding this job, and the latest interview that will be granted is Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, who will interview Friday. Shawn Elliott, the current interim head coach,  has interviewed as well.

There are a ton of initial candidates on this list, but there is no telling if the administration and the search committee have narrowed much, if anything, down to a manageable level. SE Louisiana coach Ron Roberts is still the favorite, but add former Tulane coach Chris Scelfo, LSU assistant Frank Wilson, Kentucky OC Shannon Dawson, Mississippi State assistant John Hevesy, Southern miss OC Chip Lindsey, TCU RB coach Curtis Luper, UL-Lafayette assistant Reed Stringer, former ULM coach Mike Collins, and current interim coach John Mumford to the list of coaches that have been attached to the search.

Memphis has apparently moved on from Barry Odom, as both sides agreed to move in different directions this week. Odom is pursuing the Missouri job, where he is currently DC, so Memphis got tired of waiting. Look for more names to spring up in the next day or two, and I will post them here.
Update: (10:12 PM PST) Memphis has named Arizona State OC Mike Norvell head coach tonight. More as it becomes available.

Auburn DC
Will Muschamp is unlikely to return to Auburn according to Muschamp is interviewing for South Carolina’s HC job, but is unlikely to be a main target. According to the piece, he could end up as an assistant at Georgia or Alabama. Stay tuned.

Fluid Situations

North Carolina
The administration is currently trying to work out a contract extension for Larry Fedora, and hopes to have that accomplished within the next week. Fedora’s name has been associated with the search at South Carolina briefly, but that seems unlikely at this point.

Tom Herman apparently has signed his new offer paying him $3 million per season, the highest contract for any G5 coach in the nation. He may still be in play, however, as other situations could develop that could eclipse that number elsewhere.

The Golden Bears have a contract extension worked out for Sonny Dykes, but he has not signed it yet, and continues to interview for jobs at Missouri, Virginia, and South Carolina. He seems unwilling to stick around much longer, and I am guessing he could be gone by next week.

Jim Mora is now one of three early candidates for the Miami Dolphins soon to be open job. He could also be once again considered by the Chargers if they indeed decide to move on from Mike McCoy after the Chargers have started 3-8 this season with a possibly impending move to the Los Angles market on the horizon. Expect the Bruins to draw from a pool of Mike Leach, Tom Herman, and Matt Ruhle of Temple if Mora decides the time is right to move on.

FCS Openings

With Texas Southern having hired Mike Haywood, there are now 9 openings in FCS football.

There have been between 25 to 30 applicants for the job since Jack Cosgrove retired, and the administration is looking to narrow that list to 4 to 6 by the weekend or early next week. Current interim coach Joe Harasymiak is a strong candidate at this point and will likely be a finalist.

Montana State
There has been little movement this week, but OC Tim Cramsey has interviewed and has a strong shot at the job. Former Montana and UNLV coach Bobby Hauck and Dan Hawkins are still on the list as well.
Update: (10:09 PM PST) Bozeman sources are now reporting that Missouri QB coach Andy Hill is the front runner. More as news becomes available.
Update: (10:13PM PST) Others that officially interviewed were FAU OC Brian Wright, Arizona State Co-DC Chris Ball, Jeff Choate of Wazzu, and Hill. Cramsey interviewed as well.

South Dakota
The administration is not naming names, but they have a search firm hired to move forward. Joe Glenn, who retired, is lobbying hard for current OC Wesley Beschorner to get the job.

Austin Peay
Two new names have surfaced in the last 48 hours. Former Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow has become the main target, and would be an excellent choice. Former Tarleton State coach Cary Fowler has also been attached to this job.

Kerwin Bell has shockingly parted company with JU today after having a falling out with the future direction of the program as a non-scholarship program with the administration. More news as I get it, but this one is a surprise.

No New News
There is no new news on the Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, Southern Illinois, or Tennessee Tech jobs today. I will continue hunting for info and ill update when it is available.

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