Archive for Monday, December 5, 2011

If biggest coaching names choose other schools, Phillip Fulmer could fit at KU

December 5, 2011


Tracking the Kansas University coaching search recalls the conference realignment musical-chairs game, replete with wild swings from optimism to pessimism and right back to optimism.

It’s so fluid because it involves so many different parts, competing interests, emotion-driven changes in the market.

Mike Leach, a different case because he has lawsuits against Texas Tech and ESPN, did not cause the dominoes to tumble.

The next biggest names on the radar of coach-seekers — Larry Fedora, Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin — could trigger a rapid succession of hirings.

The worst-case scenario from a public-relations standpoint for Kansas: Bubba Cunningham, KU’s first choice for athletic director, entices Fedora to come to North Carolina to work for him. Cunningham is extremely familiar with Fedora’s work because they both were in Conference USA. Despite having worked as a high school coach in Texas and at as an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and a position coach at Baylor, most of Fedora’s Southern Miss players were recruited from the deep South, including 11 from Florida on this year’s roster. Fedora worked as Florida’s offensive coordinator (2002-2004).

If it plays out that way, it doesn’t mean Cunningham’s a better recruiter than Zenger. It means Fedora feels he has a better chance of winning conference championships at North Carolina than at KU.

If Texas A&M; wanted Kevin Sumlin before the lopsided loss to Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship game, why let one game change your thinking? Then again, A&M; has been known to make emotion-charged moves.

Strong coached in the SEC as Florida’s defensive coordinator, leading some to believe that makes him a better fit than Sumlin. Yet, Sumlin has recruited the east Texas area so well through the years.

At this moment, we’re pretty much guessing, so guess we’ll do at a few schools could fill their coaching vacancies.

North Carolina: Fedora.

Texas A&M;: Sumlin.

Illinois: Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

UCLA, Arizona State? Let’s see if the first three dominoes fall. Kansas? Zenger’s cone of silence works much better than Maxwell Smart’s did. Those in the industry believe Zenger hasn’t yet turned to assistant coaches and won’t until his list of candidates with head-coaching experience has been exhausted.

Phillip Fulmer, 61, was interviewed by Kansas two years ago, but didn’t get an offer, despite making a hugely positive impression on some in the room. The guy has a personality that would market the program. Of all the coaches who appeared in Blind Side, he popped through the screen as the guy for whom I would want to play if I were 30-something years younger, eight inches taller, far more coordinated, faster and if my weight were distributed differently.

When a man who has won a national championship at Tennessee is interviewed for a less prestigious job and doesn’t get it, it would be asking a lot to expect him to interview again. If he’s not gung-ho to become the next Kansas coach, he’s not the man. If he is, Zenger might want to invite him into his cone of silence.


big_john 3 years, 10 months ago

you have no idea who's on the AD's list or whom he has visited, so why this daily bs of who might be. it is a wasted time on reading your opinions. you have no clue.

big_john 3 years, 10 months ago

you have no idea who's on the AD's list or whom he has visited, so why this daily bs of who might be. it is a wasted time on reading your opinions. you have no clue.

stevieboy 3 years, 10 months ago

when did tenn win a National Championship?

melkord 3 years, 10 months ago

Tennessee has actually won 6 NCs. The last was with Fulmer in 98. The guy won over 150 games in the best conference in major college football. He will recruit nationally, and he has the type of personallity that people and more importantly, the players will want to follow him. It was time for him to go at Tennessee, but Kansas definitely isn't Tennessee when it comes to football, and thats why I believe he could be a good fit, and if he doesn't even get a look, the management at KU needs some help.

judasfrippo 3 years, 10 months ago

stevieboy, The Vols won the NC in 1998 at I believe 13-1. Fulmer was the head coach.

stevieboy 3 years, 10 months ago

wow...13 years ago..a lot has changed since then..this guy seems a bit old...need new blood, someone playeres can relate to..

jbc03c 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, someone young like Turner Gill.

I don't get why Fulmer can't find a job. They finished in the top 10 the season before he left. Some questioned his work ethic, but on the whole, his record is much better than Sumlin, Fedora and the other hot names.

Considering our options, Fulmer should get a hard look. Great record and has a chip on his shoulder---ready to show the other AD's who passed on him that he can still coach.

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