Entries from blogs tagged with “Tale of the Tait”
Realignment heats up once again, as Big 12 expansion committee schedules teleconference to talk Louisville and BYU
1:21 p.m. Update:
Talked to a couple of Big 12 administrators in the past couple of hours and found out a few things to follow up on all of this supposed hot talk regarding realignment.
For starters, today's teleconference is nothing out of the ordinary. It's been scheduled for a while now and is merely an indication that the Big 12 is doing everything possible to stay out in front of things this time.
As one source put it, "That committee is going to stay in tact for at least the next decade... It’s going to think and talk and think and talk, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything's happening."
Another source told me flat out: “We’re not in expansion mode.”
Meanwhile, a couple of folks I talked with at KU said the committee is constantly in contact with representatives from all members of the Big 12 and the committee is well aware of how KU and the rest of the institutions feel about expansion.
Couldn't find out for sure who was on the Big 12's expansion committee but I know it's a list of around 5 people and it includes Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione and a couple of university presidents or chancellors from schools other than OU and Texas. I want to say Iowa State and Baylor may also be involved.
As for the West Virginia news, still trying to track down more on that, but I'd say if the Big 12 seriously is going to have its 2012 football schedules released by next week, that would be a good sign that WVU is going to be in the Big 12 next year.
I'll make a few more calls and see what else is out there, but, at least for now, it seems like the expansion news may have been a little overblown. Shocking, isn't it?
11:08 a.m. Update:
Serious conference realignment talk regarding the Big 12 Conference appears to be back on the table, although it’s unclear at this point to what extent the expansion talk may or may not be reaching.
Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News Tweeted this morning that he had confirmed that a Big 12 teleconference of the league’s expansion committee would take place sometime today. That call will be the first since league officials last met to finalize plans to admit West Virginia into the league.
The general consensus now — as it was then — is that Louisville and BYU remain at the top of the Big 12’s wish list. While that may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that many of the concerns that prevented the Big 12 from moving forward on this months ago still exist.
Louisville appears to be a sitting duck in all of this, and it’s possible that it’s just a matter of time before the Cardinals join the league. As many of you probably know, many Louisville coaches recently were telling recruits that they would be in the Big 12 very soon. That’s a bold statement and it certainly makes sense. The biggest problem for Louisville continues to be finding a suitable partner to join the league to prevent the Big 12 from having to move forward with an odd number. Although 11 worked for the Big Ten for years, sources have said that many in the Big 12 would prefer to avoid having 11 teams and would ideally like to move back to 12 or be content staying put at 10.
Here’s a link that discusses the idea of adding Louisville:
One possible reason the Big 12 could consider moving ahead with a serious look at Louisville would be the ramifications such a move would have in the Big East. With the battle still raging to set West Virginia free, another blow to the Big East’s current lineup certainly would make a move for WVU more feasible.
As for BYU, certain issues remain here, as well — travel, play on Sundays and the ability to move seamlessly into a new league without penalty chief among them — but it has been believed all along that BYU would be a solid pick up for the Big 12 because of its national brand and impressive standing in the major revenue sports.
While the latest buzz surrounding Big 12 expansion has centered around Louisville and BYU, another report — actually, a blog — surfaced recently regarding possible interest between the Big 12 and a handful of unhappy ACC schools.
Here’s a link to that blog, for your perusal:
You should know that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger told me yesterday that he had not heard a thing about the ACC talk.
In addition, it should be noted that many of those same ACC schools included in the blog above have been linked to expansion rumors in the SEC.
That’s a quick view of what’s happening now. We’ll have more as this story develops.... if it develops.
Update from KU:
A KU spokesperson said university officials had no comment because the matter is pending an appeal. A decision is expected in the next week or so.
The following is the press release drawn up by the attorney for former Kansas University quarterback Brock Berglund, who was dismissed from the team by KU coach Charlie Weis on Monday for missing a mandatory team meeting.
Berglund, a freshman from Highlands Ranch, Colo., emailed the release to about a dozen media members.
Brock Berglund Seeks Official Release from University of Kansas Football Program After Initial Denial
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Colorado Springs, CO. January 19, 2012 — The University of Kansas (KU) football program has a new coach, Charlie Weis, and several high-profile transfers from other programs. Fortunately for KU, schools such as Notre Dame, BYU and Oklahoma have released incoming KU transfers, quarterback Dayne Crist, quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Justin McCay, from their respective commitments to those programs.
Unfortunately for Brock Berglund, KU, however, has refused to extend the same courtesy.
Berglund, a freshman, was heavily recruited out of high school, and accepted a scholarship to KU in 2010, primarily because of the bond formed between him and then-coach Turner Gill during the recruiting process. Gill assured Berglund that his quarterbacking skill set was a perfect fit for the KU offense, and that he expected Berglund to compete for the starter's role right away. However, KU terminated Gill and his staff at the end of the season, and hired Charlie Weis as its head coach.
Shortly thereafter, Weis successfully landed his high-profile transfers -- all of whom he had previously recruited out of high school when he was head coach at Notre Dame. In December, 2011, Berglund was informed during a short conversation with new quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus that Crist, the Irish's former starting quarterback, would start for the KU football team in 2012, and that Berglund was only competing for the backup quarterback position. Given the change in coaching staffs and offensive philosophies, and the abrupt demotion, in December 2011, Berglund requested permission from KU to enable him to speak with other Division I-A football programs about a possible transfer.
Without KU's permission, NCAA rules prohibit any contact between Berglund and other Division I-A programs, effectively precluding the player's ability to explore any other potential opportunities prior to considering a transfer.
Despite the information communicated by Coach Weis, Berglund’s written request to KU made clear that it was “simply a request to communicate with other coaches and [was] not intended to alter [his] status as a University of Kansas student athlete in any way.”
What ensued was a six-sentence response letter from Theresa Becker, Associate Athletics Director at KU, which not only denied Berglund’s request to communicate with other coaches but made clear that, while he had not even asked, Berglund would not be released from his commitment to the KU football program. Specifically, Becker stated that:
“[i]n consultation with Dr. Sheahon Zenger, Director of Athletics for the University of Kansas, we are denying your request for permission to have contact with another university regarding your decision to transfer. Additionally, your request to be released from the University of Kansas is also denied.”
The balance of Becker’s letter informed Berglund that he had three business days to appeal KU’s decision to the KU Student-Athlete Appeals Board (SAAB). No reason for the denial or other information was contained in Becker’s response letter.
Berglund has consulted with an attorney, Vince Linden, regarding KU’s decision and has informed KU that he intends to appeal the denial of his request. Linden confirmed that KU has scheduled an appeals hearing before the SAAB, but stated “beyond that, we have no information regarding the basis for KU's decision. Neither the coaching staff nor the administration have provided any information or criteria upon which they based their decision."
Due to the scheduled appeal hearing, and because his attendance may have subjected him, pursuant to strict NCAA requirements, to complete an additional academic semester at KU, Berglund did not attend a mandatory team meeting last Sunday, but informed KU in advance of the meeting that he would not be in attendance. However, Berglund was dismissed from the team by KU and Weis on Monday, reportedly for failing to attend the Sunday meeting. Berglund learned about his dismissal, not from Weis or anyone else at KU, but via Twitter and internet media outlets, which reported that during Weis' press conference he personally introduced his new high-profile quarterback transfers and announced certain "dismissals" from the team -- including Berglund.
KU scheduled Berglund's SAAB appeal hearing after Weis' press conference, signaling that the athletic administration still intends to defend its denial of Berglund's request.
No further explanation or justification of KU's decision has been offered since its initial written denial.
Berglund plans to follow the required appeal procedure and hopes that KU will reconsider its decision and allow him the same opportunity which the KU football program accepted from the athletic administrations at Notre Dame, BYU, and Oklahoma -- the opportunity for a fresh start.
His attorney, Linden, is cautiously optimistic and wrote:
"The SAAB's inquiry will focus on whether the decision was fair and just given the circumstances. Any objective observer, shown all the facts, will know that the decision was not only unfair, but was arbitrary and capricious, and should be overturned. It will be very interesting to hear KU's explanation, particularly in light of the fact that it so gleefully courted players who were granted releases from their own respective programs, and wished the best of luck by their former coaches."
Today marked the first day of workouts for the Kansas University football team under the new coaching regime, and, by all accounts, it started bright and early and was as intense as anything the players had seen in quite some time.
New KU strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple — not new coach Charlie Weis — was the man in charge of today’s events, and, according to many of the players, Holsopple and his staff turned up the intensity a notch or two compared to what the Jayhawks were used to.
As Weis mentioned during his news conference on Monday, Holsopple will be one of the most important men in the KU program during the next few weeks. He’ll be the one coach who has direct contact with the players, and, if that contact is anything like Weis has promised it will be, the next few weeks are going to be brutal.
Early morning runs, intense workouts, weight-lifting marathons — all with a no excuses mentality.
It’s still early in the process, but a quick scan of Twitter this morning revealed just how Day 1 of the Charlie Weis era went.
Here’s a look:
Sophomore DE, Keba Agostinho - 8:27 a.m.
Done with 1st day of workouts n all I can say is it's bout to get REAL around here!!
Junior DE, Toben Opurum - 8:59 a.m.
Can't wait to get back in my bed lol
Freshman DE, Ben Goodman - 8:24 a.m.
Our workout was long... Damn near 2hrs #timetogethuge
Junior WR, D.J. Beshears - Mid-day
Today was a wake up call ,,, back to reality !
Senior WR, Daymond Patterson - Pre-workout
I'm ready to workout time needs to speed up
Sophomore WR, Chris Omigie - Mid-day
New semester rules for C.O..... class > sleep
Freshman LB, Ben Heeney - Early evening
First workout with the new coaches went good sore as a mug #teamswoll
Sophomore WR, Andrew Turzilli - Early evening
First workout with the new staff #complete
Sophomore WR, Erick McGriff - Mid Evening
u ever been so tired u fell aslp sending a txt #bodybag #kufball
I know that's a small sample size, but in everything from realization and dedication to a change in attitude, it appears as if the Charlie Weis Era is off to a solid start.
I'm sure today was only the beginning.
A lot of you have asked for an update on the goings on of conference realignment in the past few weeks and I'm here to give it to you.
I have to admit, after spending the better part of two straight summers — and then some — in a torrid love affair with all things realignment, I was happy to let it walk out the door never to be heard from again.
But it's not that easy. So here we go, with the latest on West Virginia's move to the Big 12 and some other interesting tidbits and links of the like.
First up, it looks as if we're headed toward legal mediation to determine just when WVU will be allowed to leave the Big East and join the Big 12. Both sides are suing each other — the Big East for WVU to stay for the required 27 months and WVU to bolt by next season — and because they can't peacefully come to an agreement, a Rhode Island judge recently ordered the issue to be sent to a mediator.
I've said from the beginning — and I still believe it today — that one way or the other the two parties are going to find a way to work this thing out and that West Virginia is going to be in the Big 12 next season. It might be a rocky road to get to that point, but it's coming, whether we like it or not. After the showing that West Virginia's football team put on in the Orange Bowl maybe we don't want them coming too soon.
As for Mizzou's move to the SEC, it's a done deal. I'm sure most of you saw it, but in case you didn't, here's a look at the Tigers' SEC football schedule for next season, which was released in late December.
MU is still looking to fill a couple of non-conference dates and there's still plenty of talk from the Tigers about one of those being against Kansas. But it isn't going to happen. KU officials continue to be 100 percent against playing MU in anything after the 2011-12 season expires.
You may here some Border War talk from across the state line, but don't expect it to happen.
With that in mind, and with WVU still in limbo, KU's scheduling (along with the rest of the Big 12) has been difficult to nail down for next season in just about all sports.
At this point, the Jayhawks are locked into three non-conference football games and are planning to play a nine-game Big 12 schedule, with the expectation that both West Virginia and TCU (no hurdles there) will be in the 10-team league. None of the specifics have been released as of now and they probably won't be for quite some time.
KU's non-conference games include home match-ups with South Dakota and Rice and a road game at Northern Illinois. After that, it's all still up in the air right now.
Another interesting realignment note that popped up recently concerns Louisville and the school's on-again-off-again relationship with the Big 12.
In late November, this report surfaced that indicated that Louisville football coaches were telling recruits that the school's future was in the Big 12, "no doubt."
I think that's a little premature — obviously — but I also think that if and when the time comes that the Big 12 wants to jump back to 12 teams, Louisville is all but a lock to get in. The problem now is that it's been difficult to find a suitable 12th team to join the Cardinals and several of the powers that be in the Big 12 also are concerned about moving too quickly with so many league issues still up in the air.
The Big 12 survived the second round of realignment in 2011, but there's still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the conference is stable and sound heading into the future.
Speaking of the future, there's been next to no public discussion about a possible replacement for interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who took over for Dan Beebe at the end of the realignment mess.
Neinas, who said at the time that he was a short-term solution to the mess, has continued to work hard on behalf of the league in just about every capacity. Some have been more publicized than others, such as Neinas' push for a plus-one system in college football.
One more thing, non-Big 12 related, there's still talking of the Mountain West and Conference USA joining forces to create some kind of super conference that far exceeds the 16-team models that were en vogue last summer.
Another meeting of league officials is set for Sunday in, get this, Dallas of all places. You can't make this stuff up!
I know that's not everything, but that's a decent look at what's been going on with the world of realignment lately. Most of that you probably knew about already, but, hey, at least now you have a place to talk about it with others.
I'll keep my eyes and ears open for more, especially on the West Virginia situation, and will try to bring that to you as it happens.
For now, though, I have to get back to this KU football beat. I don't know if you heard, but...
Ah, the joys of covering football in mid-January!!!
As you were.
OK, so here’s what we know about the vacant defensive coordinator position at Kansas University.
It still has not been filled.
There are no known front-runners.
There is no time table for when it might be filled.
Sound familiar? It should. This is pretty much what we’ve known all along and may very well be all we are able to find out until the hire is announced.
During the course of the past few weeks, I’ve received all kinds of information from all kinds of sources about this guy or that guy, this name or that name. So far, despite coming from some pretty solid places, not of a stitch of it has turned out to be accurate.
At one point, I heard that former San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was the leader for the job. Around the same time, I heard that Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was the man to watch. And that same night I was told that current Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh was going to be hired. Again, these all came from pretty decent sources and all of them — at least up to this point — proved to be false.
So we move on.
At this point, it’s hard to know exactly what is causing the delay. I’ve been told throughout the process by people close to the situation that there really is no hurry here. As much as it might make fans of the program sleep a little easier knowing who the new DC is — big name or otherwise — new KU coach Charlie Weis is sleeping just fine.
Weis has complete control of recruiting and seems to be bringing in some solid names, both as commitments and for visits. Included on that list are defensive players, thanks largely to the work of defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt and running backs coach and recruiting guru Reggie Mitchell.
What’s more, there’s no coaching to be done currently, as the position coaches cannot have regular contact with their players until spring practices. The one guy who can work with the players — new strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple — is here, so there’s no need to worry about losing time or ground in that department.
As for those who say that delaying the announcement could cost the program valuable time that could be used to install the new defensive philosophy, there are a couple of things to remember there. First, it’s safe to guess that several players who will be listed on the two-deep depth chart on defense aren’t even here yet. Second, there’s plenty of time between spring drills and fall camp to install KU’s base defense. Once that is in place, most of the wrinkles that are added to it will come during game weeks, in season, anyway, as the Jayhawks prepare a game plan for each opponent.
One thing that may not be helping KU here is the number of DC vacancies that are out there, both in college and the NFL. A surplus of vacancies means options for the guys that land on most wish lists. And those guys having options means that the rest of us have to wait for things to play out in other places before this candidate or that one actually even can make a complete evaluation of what his next move may be. That could be what’s happening with Oklahoma assistant coach Willie Martinez and may very well have been the case with new Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
Here’s a short blog about Martinez from the folks who cover the Sooners: http://blog.newsok.com/ou/2012/01/06/martinezs-name-popping-up-for-dc-jobs-whats-it-mean/
Beyond these names, Texas A&M, Penn State, Tennessee and Auburn — among others — have been or are currently looking to fill the same position. As exciting as things seem around the KU football program right now, Kansas still ranks a ways behind those schools in terms of places most people would want to work.
Other names still worth keeping an eye on include: Jim Leavitt, San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach; Raheem Morris, former Tampa Bay head coach and K-State DC; and all of those you haven’t heard yet, as was the case with Weis during the head coaching search.
I’m as eager as the next guy to find out who the new defensive coordinator will be. A new name — particularly if it’s a big one — just means that many more stories that can be written and angles that can be pursued. That’s exciting. Until we get something tangible about the job, I’ll keep pursuing every angle and trying to find out as much as I can about the names that pop up and even a little about the names that don’t.
Just enjoy the process and trust that the right guy will be brought in. This could end up being like those Heinz Ketchup commercials from back in the day.... "good things come to those who wait."
When former Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing caught the highlights of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow unleashing his unusual style on the NFL, it brought back memories.
Reesing, though more of a pure passer than Tebow, shared a lot of characteristics with the former Florida Gators standout during his playing days at KU.
Tebow, who won a Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida, will begin his quest to repeat that kind of postseason magic in the NFL at 3:30 today, when his fourth-seeded Broncos (8-8) play host to No. 5 Pittsburgh (12-4).
The fact that the Broncos are even in this position speaks to Tebow’s leadership. After handing the starting quarterback job to Tebow in Week 6, Denver went 7-4 down the stretch and won the AFC West. Although the run-first QB struggled during the past three weeks and was criticized throughout the season, Reesing said neither fact changed the bottom line.
“It’d be unfair to say that he doesn’t bring something to the table that a lot of other players don’t have,” Reesing said.
That “something” typically is measured in intangibles, and, because of those, Tebow has become one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports. Most football followers either love Tebow’s game or hate it. There’s not much in between. Reesing, however, falls in the middle, saying he doesn’t necessarily root for or against Tebow. He does admire him, though.
“He’s just a true competitor,” Reesing said. “He gets enough flak and grief for all the other things off the football field, it’s hard to take anything away from him on the field.”
The Tebow intangible that impresses Reesing the most rests inside his helmet.
“He is so mentally tough that he can go 3-of-16 in the first half and then bounce back and go 16-of-24 in the fourth quarter and lead his team to victory,” Reesing said. “The fact that he’s done it week after week when he continues to be scrutinized for his passing mechanics and not being able to complete a high percentage... at the end of the day, he finds a way to win.”
Reesing knows a thing or two about being scrutinized. Throughout his playing career, the Austin, Texas, native was criticized for being too small or too slow. All he did was use the doubt as fuel for a record-setting career at KU, where he served as a catalyst for one of the Jayhawks’ best football stretches of all-time.
As for his career beyond college football, Reesing did not get an opportunity in the NFL. In fact, he barely got a chance at all. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, of the Canadian Football League, picked him up for a few days, only to send him home after they wound up with a surplus at the position.
Since then, Reesing, who now works in client relations at the recently opened Vancouver branch of Dimensional Fund Advisors — owned by KU alum David Booth and based in Austin — has thought a lot about football.
“It’s pretty much done and behind me at this point,” he said. “I had offers for Arena ball and overseas and stuff, but it really wasn’t going to progress anywhere so I figured I’d just move on to the next chapter and get started with work.”
Does he miss the game?
“Every day, man,” he said. “It would’ve been fun to continue to play, but, hey, we went out with a couple of good years at Kansas and I’ve got nothing but fond memories. I’m not leaving the game with a sour taste, which is probably more than a lot of people can say.”
The NFL playoffs are set, and while most Kansas University football fans have used that as a gauge to track KU’s quest for a defensive coordinator, there’s also another reason for the arrival of the postseason to draw the interest of KU fans.
Four of the seven former Jayhawks currently playing in the NFL will be on playoff rosters in 2012. Whether they all will be active or get a chance to play remains to be seen. But getting there is half the battle.
Here’s a quick look:
Believe it or not, Denver cornerback CHRIS HARRIS is probably the one former KU player who will make the biggest impact on the postseason this year. Whether the Broncos make any noise as the No. 4 seed in the AFC or not, Harris will be on the field and will be given a chance to make plays against the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harris, who ranks fourth in the NFL in tackles among all rookies, finished with three solo stops and one pass break-up during the Broncos’ 7-3 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. Harris finished the regular season with 72 tackles, one interception and six pass break-ups while playing most often as Denver’s nickel corner. The Bixby, Okla., native led the Broncos in tackles mulitiple times and was, without question, one of the team’s biggest surprises, having joined Denver as an undrafted free agent.
Denver (8-8) will play host to Pittsburgh (12-4) at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
As for the former Jayhawk most likely to make the next biggest impact this season, that’s a tough call. ANTHONY COLLINS (Cincinnati), KERRY MEIER (Atlanta) and MORAN NORRIS (San Francisco) all have roster spots on their postseason team, but none are guaranteed to play.
Collins, an offensive tackle, played in seven games this season for the Bengals and made two starts (Dec. 11 and Dec. 18) in place of the injured Andre Smith. AC also played some on special teams and as an extra blocker in short yardage situations.
Cincinnati (9-7) will travel to Houston (10-6) to take on the AFC South champion Texans at 3:30 p.m. today.
Meier, a wide receiver, played in 12 of the Falcons’ 16 games this season — mostly on special teams — and did not record a catch or a tackle. He missed Weeks 16 and 17 with a groin injury and likely won’t play this weekend when the fifth-seeded Falcons (10-6) travel north to take on the fourth-seeded New York Giants (9-7) at noon Sunday.
Finally, Norris, a fullback and 11-year NFL veteran, has played in four games for the surprising 49ers this season, starting the first two games of the season and then playing sparingly in Week 12 and Week 17. Norris battled injuries most of the season and did not record a carry, catch or tackle during the four games in which he played.
No. 2 seed San Francisco (12-4) earned a first-round bye in the NFC and will play host to a Divisional Round game the weekend of Jan. 14-15.
Now that the NFL regular season is over, it’s time for all of those coaches who are or soon will become available to find new jobs.
More importantly, it’s time for Kansas University to fill out its football coaching staff.
The search for KU’s next defensive coordinator very much has resembled the search to land Charlie Weis as the school’s new head coach. Quiet, deliberate and full of speculation are just a few of the similarities. The other has been incredible interest from a suddenly football-crazed fan base.
I understand the excitement and the desire to know what’s happening. In many ways, I love it and think it’s exactly what KU football needs. But know this: Nobody knows definitively what’s going on with these hires right now. Maybe not even Weis.
This much we do know: Reggie Mitchell (RBs), Ron Powlus (QBs) and Tim Grunhard (OL) are in. Buddy Wyatt (DL) also seems safe. Beyond that, it looks like Bernie Parmalee (TEs) and Rob Ianello (WRs) will be joining Weis’ staff at some point in the near future. Both would be good hires because of their experience and familiarity with Weis and both figure to be solid on the recruiting trail.
There also has been some increased talk lately about the strength and conditioning job, with Florida assistant Scott Holsopple and former Notre Dame assistant Ruben Mendoza’s names popping up most often. The only hint I’ve been given here is that it’s not likely to be Mendoza.
As for the defensive coordinator position, it remains a mystery. An announcement could come as early as this week or still could be a couple of weeks away.
The only rock solid information I’ve been given about the job in the past few days is that Weis has been waiting for some dominoes to fall before he can actually move on this. I’m sure he’s been putting together lists and talking to whomever he can, but, in a lot of ways, his hands have been tied for the past couple of weeks.
So what dominoes could we be talking about here? Just about everything is on the table.
• Could have been waiting on a coach and/or coaches to get fired
• Could have been waiting for college team to play its bowl game
• Could have been waiting on NFL regular season to end
• Could still be waiting on NFL playoffs to end
The names that have come up most often here have been: Greg Manusky (San Diego DC), Mike Nolan (Miami DC), Al Groh (Georgia Tech DC), Romeo Crennel (interim coach at KC) and Jim Leavitt (San Francisco linebackers coach). As I’ve told you before, I’ve heard that Manusky, Nolan and Groh each were offered the job at some point. I’m not sure I believe that entirely, but that’s what I’m hearing. If that’s true, I don’t know the order of when each was offered.
I think Nolan will search for and find an NFL DC job, perhaps even with the new staff in Miami. I think staying in the NFL is his preference.
I think Manusky could still be in play here. Even if Norv Turner is retained by the Chargers, it looks like Manusky’s out in San Diego.
I also think that Jim Leavitt could still be in the mix. Early on, I was told he would not be a candidate. But that’s been three weeks ago now. Things change.
From where I sit, Leavitt would be by far the best hire Weis could make. He has a solid mix of NFL and college experience, knows Kansas, knows the Big 12 and could be the perfect guy to take over one day if this staff gets things rolling again.
The 49ers are slated to play their first game of the postseason on Saturday, Jan. 14, so if we’re waiting on Leavitt, we could be waiting a while. In fact, if this thing isn’t nailed down this week, I would think that the odds of it being Leavitt increase substantially.
If I had to rank that list in terms of who would be best, I'd go: 1. Leavitt, 2. Crennel, 3. Nolan, 4. Groh, 5. Manusky.
One more thing to mention before moving on, let’s make sure we take a lesson from the coaching search. All that speculation, all those lists, all wrong. Weis’ name was not being mentioned anywhere and he would up being the guy.
If that were to happen here, it would not surprise me at all. That’s just the nature of these types of hires. Charlie Weis is the only guy who knows completely what’s going on right now and he’s not talking.
So we wait. But don’t sweat it. I’ve been told by a couple of people who know how this works — guys who have been a part of it — that Weis could wait until March to hire his DC and it wouldn’t have a negative impact on the program.
Happy New Year, everyone. Is this going to be a fun year or what?
Oh, two more things:
First, don't forget that tomorrow (Jan. 3) is the day that South Bend, Ind., wide receiver Gehrig Dieter is supposed to announce his college decision.
And, second, although we still don't know which KU players won't be back next year, I'm hearing that it's more and more likely by the day that running back Darrian Miller will return.
OK, so now that Charlie Weis has been hired and Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps have committed (I still kind of can’t believe it even after dozens of times writing it), we can move on to the next line of business regarding KU football.
As you know by now, the announcement of Weis as KU’s new coach made waves nationally and was regarded by many as an impressive hire, even if the jury’s still out on whether it was a good hire or not.
The commitments of Crist and Heaps — both top-tier QBs with the potential to change the landscape of football at Kansas for years to come — went down as equally big news, largely because they committed within a couple of hours of each other and because, at least coming in, they represent the most impressive set of QBs KU ever has brought into the program at one time.
With that in place, it’s safe to say that KU won’t make another splash that even comes close to approaching the Weis hire or the QB commitments for several months, right?
I’m not saying it’s going to go down this way, but it could. Here’s what I’m talking about:
At this point, no single move could possibly approach the level of the two I mentioned above. Head coach and quarterback are without question the two most visible positions on a football team so it’s safe to say that no other position — defensive coordinator, strength coach, linebacker, whatever — could or even would be met with the same kind of excitement and enthusiasm as those two.
But what if it all comes in the same day? Think quantity over quality here. What if Weis, maybe sometime early next week, announces the name of his defensive coordinator and follows it up by revealing the rest of his coaching staff. We’re talking another five or six guys, all with the potential to impress your socks off.
Some names to keep an eye on: Rob Ianello as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator; Bernie Parmalee as tight ends coach; and Greg Manusky, Mike Nolan or Al Groh as defensive coordinator. I haven’t been able to nail down who the leader is just yet (in fact, I’ve actually heard that all three have been offered the DC job) but it seems like those are three of the top candidates, if not the three top candidates.
OK, so now, on the same day, you learn the identity of the rest of the coaching staff — everyone from the potential big-name defensive coordinator to a strength and conditioning staff.
That’s a start. Now, what if, on that same day, a bunch of recruits decide Kansas is the right place for them and they elect to commit.
Some names to keep an eye on: Justin McCay, OU wide receiver who may be eligible to play next year because of a special hardship waiver and release; Brian Wagner, the Akron linebacker who was among the nation's leaders in tackles last year and, like Crist, will have one year of eligibility remaining; Gehrig Dieter, the South Bend, Ind., wide receiver, who will announce his decision on Jan. 3; and Brice Butler, the USC wide receiver, who also will have one year of eligibility remaining and is reportedly considering KU. There were reports that Butler committed to San Diego State via Twitter on Thursday, but it seems like those were false, as Butler is claiming that his account may have been hacked. SDSU remains a likely destination for Butler, but nothing's official yet.
It’s hard to imagine all of those guys will become Jayhawks, but it’s definitely possible. It’s also possible that a couple of seniors who played with Crist at Notre Dame and maybe even a Florida player or two could be transferring to Kansas to join Weis and Co. I think the odds are very strong that McCay and Dieter are coming.
It’s been pretty quiet around KU lately. The coaches who are in place have been on the road recruiting and aren’t talking and probably won’t be any time soon. I was told yesterday, however, that KU has scheduled a news conference for Jan. 16 for Crist, Heaps and whatever other newcomers the program may have by that time. I also was told KU football officials have informed all commitments who haven’t arrived yet to turn down any future interview requests.
That’s a bummer, but not all that surprising. And, hey, at least we’ve got that Jan. 16 date to look forward to.
I think plenty will happen before then, though. I’d expect the rest of the coaching staff to be in place well before then and I’m guessing we’ll hear about a few other commitments in the very near future.
I’m not saying it’s all going to happen at once. But let’s mark down Jan. 3, next Tuesday, as the next big date for KU football news. If the rest of the coaching staff is revealed and Dieter and a couple of other players commit, it’s a day that could rival the Weis announcement or the quarterback bonanza in terms of hype and excitement.
Let’s see what happens...
All this waiting around for players to make decisions and coaches to be hired kind of stinks.
I know it. You know it. We all know it.
But don’t let the bummer of the wait cloud your view of what’s happening with Kansas University football right now. In fact, it’s very possible that all of this waiting actually could be good for KU. In the very least, it seems that it’s not really that harmful.
Let’s start with KU’s defensive coordinator opening. Sure, it would be nice to know the name of every member of new KU coach Charlie Weis’ coaching staff, but wouldn’t you rather those names be the right guys?
Hiring a defensive coordinator could be the most important move Weis makes at Kansas. It certainly will go a long way toward determining how his first couple of seasons go, and, because of that, it’s important that he get it right.
Waiting until he feels he’s found the right man for the job increases the odds of KU being successful under Weis. And it really doesn’t do anything to hurt KU’s offseason approach.
For starters, waiting actually increases the size of the pool of candidates. Weis may have his eye on a couple of guys still coaching — be that in bowl games or in the NFL — and would be wise to at least talk to them before picking a coordinator. Going with a guy who's available now just to fill the job could do damage to the entire defensive staff.
I know many think waiting around could delay KU’s efforts to rebuild the defense, but it won’t. It’s a dead period in recruiting, which means that even if Weis had a DC in place, he couldn’t be on the road talking to prospects anyway. Even contact by telephone is limited right now.
All the more reason to let Weis search high and low to make sure he finds the right fit for what he wants to do here at Kansas.
There’s not a lot of talk out there right now about which coaches might be on his list. But my hunch keeps leading me to guys with previous head coaching experience. Whether that’s a guy like Butch Davis (possible), Jim Leavitt (doubtful) or someone else in that category, it wouldn’t surprise me for one second if the new DC comes loaded with experience. In fact, it would surprise me if he doesn’t.
Moving on to the players — specifically the quarterbacks — waiting on these guys to pick a school also can be tough, but the same rules apply here. These guys are making big-time decisions that will affect their futures both in college and possibly the NFL.
Patience is key and it’s my belief that the guys who take longer to make a decision might be the guys you want playing for your team anyway. Most often, the longer a decision takes is an indication that more thought and research went into making it.
In the case of former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist, who currently is picking between Kansas and Wisconsin for his final season of college football, there are a number of factors in play. Some of them, I touched on in the article we ran today.
Others, like the possibility of Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst being hired as the head coach at Pitt, also factor in to Crist’s decision.
When that decision will come or what his choice will be remains anybody’s guess. But this much seems safe to say: If Chryst leaves Wisconsin, Crist will be coming to Kansas.
Here’s a little more on Chryst’s candidacy at Pitt:
I know this blog didn’t provide the answers that many of you were looking for, but the bottom line here is that most of those answers aren’t out there at the moment.
So get comfortable, sit tight and enjoy the wait. Trust me, it’s not a bad sign.
Five days into his career at Kansas, head football coach Charlie Weis already has hired three members of his coaching staff.
Weis, who was introduced last Friday as the Jayhawks’ 37th coach in school history, announced at his introductory news conference that KU’s interim head coach, Reggie Mitchell, had agreed to join Weis’ staff.
Mitchell, who served as the team’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator under Turner Gill, is expected to continue to coach the KU running backs under Weis.
Tuesday, Weis added to his staff by announcing the hires of offensive line coach Tim Grunhard and quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus.
We’ve got stories up about both hirings, but here’s a little more on Powlus and Grunhard:
RON POWLUS - Former Notre Dame QB, who coached QBs at ND and Akron:
All-access video from Akron:
NBC Sports Video about Powlus:
Here’s a list of Powlus’ Notre Dame records:
TIM GRUNHARD - Former Notre Dame OL, who played in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and coached high school football at Bishop Miege in Kansas City:
Feature on Grunhard after being hired at Miege:
A good look at Grunhard’s life:
There’s more to “Grunny” than football:
The weekend of Weis has come and gone and, by now, people seem to be coming to terms with the fact that Charlie Weis actually is coming to Kansas to coach football.
Fact is, he’s already started.
Weis, who was introduced as the Jayhawks’ 37th coach in history last Friday, welcomed a handful of recruits to town this week for the KU-Ohio State men’s basketball game.
In addition, he’s expected to hit the road to recruit sometime this week.
While we don’t yet know where that will take him, it’s safe to assume he’ll meet with some pretty big time players. Weis already has thrown out some offers to some of the top players in the country.
I know many are also hearing rumors about current KU players leaving the program and it’s safe to say that is happening. Who and how many has not yet been determined, but you can bet that it will be around 10.
Several players who had committed to KU under former coach Turner Gill also have changed their minds. Florida cornerback Daniel Gray bailed midway through the season, Washington D.C. defensive lineman De’Jon Wilson dropped KU and committed to Colorado last month and Florida quarterback Bilal Marshall recently switched his commitment from Kansas to Purdue.
This, too, is to be expected. And it does not indicate a problem with the program or with Weis. Many times, when new coaches take over, players who were recruited to fit one style find out that they don’t fit the new style and they choose to go elsewhere. The same could be true for the players already on the roster. The bottom line is this: If they won’t fit and don’t want to be here, KU doesn’t want them taking up a scholarship.
At the end of the week, after guys leave and the final number is set, Weis may be able to target a 2012 class of around 20 guys, which would seem to be a good thing for KU.
Much more on that in the next few days.
As for now, here are a couple of things we’re hearing and/or working on:
• Still trying to track down leads on Charlie Weis’ first coaching staff at Kansas. Weis said at his introductory press conference that he’d take a few days to get it nailed down and that 80-to-90 percent of it should be done quickly.
We already know that running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell is staying and we have a strong feeling that wide receivers coach David Beaty may stay, too. Keeping both would be huge for Kansas.
As for new names, one that’s starting to hum a little louder today is Tim Grunhard, former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs star and current head coach at Bishop Miege. Reports have indicated that Grunhard has called a meeting with his team and staff at Miege. Could be to tell them he’s leaving. Grunhard, who likely would coach the offensive line, would be a good pick up. He’s a tireless worker, a great football mind and would go a long way toward helping KU land the Kansas and Kansas City kids.
Another name that’s been kicked around quite a bit is Jim Leavitt, the former South Florida head coach who now coaches the linebackers for the 49ers and has deep ties to KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger. Many have speculated that Weis could hire Leavitt as his defensive coordinator. Don’t look for that to happen.
Vic Koenning, who served as the DC under Ron Zook at Illinois, could be a guy worth watching for the same position here. Koenning was the interim head coach for the Illini after Zook was fired and the new staff at UI may want to keep him. But it seems likely that he’d at least get a call from Weis and KU.
Other names to keep an eye on include: Ruben Mendoza, who was Weis’ strength coach at Notre Dame; John Latina, who coached the O-Line under Weis at Notre Dame; Clint Bowen, former KU player and defensive coordinator could be eyeing a return to Lawrence as a position coach; It also seems as if KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has more than a fair chance to stick around; Ron Powlus, former Notre Dame quarterback (before Weis) who coached QBs under Weis and also spent time as the QBs coach at Akron.
• No news on Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist yet. Haven’t been able to track him down to see how his visit went, but the feedback I have been able to gather from people in town said he had a good time and that everyone who met him really enjoyed him.
Crist, of course, is the Notre Dame senior whom Weis recruited who is scheduled to graduate this month and, therefore, would be eligible to use his final year to play at another school immediately.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound pocket passer from Canoga Park, Calif., is a big-time talent. Crist chose Notre Dame — largely because of Weis — over offers from Florida State, Stanford, Michigan, Nebraska and USC.
During his senior season in high school, Rivals.com ranked him the 25th-best prospect in the nation, the second-best pro-style quarterback in the country and fourth-best recruit in California. He also was rated the 22nd-best player on the ESPN 150 list.
After not playing at Notre Dame in 2008, he played in a combined 13 games during 2009 and 2010, but saw each season cut short because of knee injuries.
This season, he was named the starter during fall camp and started Notre Dame’s season opener. However, during that opening game, he was benched and remained a back-up the rest of the way.
Here’s a look at the latest on Crist, from the Chicago Tribune.
• Finally, I’ve had a lot of requests to keep the daily blog going for a while and I will certainly try to do that. It might not be updated every hour, but I’ll try to throw it up there so that when news happens I can add it. In the meantime, it can serve as a great place for those who want to talk more about the program to chat it up in the comments section.
That said, the later part of this week may be a little slow in that regard. I’m going to take a few days to do nothing and recover from the craziness. Starting early next week, though, I’ll dive back in 100 percent.
It’s going to be fun from here on out.
4:12 p.m. Update:
When Kansas University athletic director hit the road Nov. 30 in search of a football coach to replace Turner Gill, he made it clear that he was looking for the right fit for Kansas and would not be swayed by big-name candidates or the fan base’s desire for KU to land a big fish.
As it turns out, Zenger caught a man who used to work for the Big Tuna.
Charlie Weis, 55, the offensive coordinator at Florida, has agreed to become the 37th head football coach in KU history, KU officials announced around 4 p.m. Thursday. Weis will be introduced officially at a news conference at 5 p.m. Friday.
After breaking into coaching with 11 seasons as a high school coach and college assistant at South Carolina, Weis jumped into the NFL with the New York Giants and coached under Bill Parcells for three seasons from 1990-92. From there, he spent four years with the New England Patriots (1993-96), three years with the New York Jets (1997-99) and returned to the Patriots from 2000-04, where he teamed with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to win three Super Bowls. All but one of his NFL seasons were spent coaching offense, including holding down the title of offensive coordinator from 1998 on.
Weis is no stranger to college football. From 2005-09 he coached at his alma mater, Notre Dame, leading the Irish to a 35-27 record and three bowl appearances during his five seasons. Although those numbers would signal success at a program such as Kansas, it was not good enough for Notre Dame and Weis was fired following the 2009 season.
That led him back to the NFL, where he previously spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach. Ironically, he returned to pro football with the Kansas City Chiefs. In one year as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Weis helped lead K.C. to the playoffs.
He bolted for Florida following the 2010 season because of a desire to focus more of his attention on his family. Weis and his wife, Maura, have two children, Charles, 17, and Hannah, 15.
For much more on this story, including reaction from people at KU as well as former and current KU players, stay tuned to KUSports.com throughout the night.
4:09 p.m. Update:
It's official. KU has announced that Charlie Weis will be its next football coach.
Weis will be introduced at a news conference on Friday. KU officials said he is not in town yet, nor is KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.
No further details of Weis' hire have been announced at this time.
Here's more from Weis' bio:
Charlie Weis, a 32-year veteran of coaching, including 16 in the National Football League and five as the head coach at Notre Dame, comes to Florida as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Weis was the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2010. Weis previously enjoyed offensive coordinator stints with New England (2000-04) and the N.Y. Jets (1998-99). He has coached in five Super Bowls, owns four Super Bowl rings and has been a part of teams that have appeared in six AFC Championship Games.
Weis was instrumental in the development of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2000 and who has since become a two-time Super Bowl MVP and five-time Pro Bowl performer.
During the 2010 NFL season, he helped the Chiefs win an AFC West title, and Kansas City reached 10 wins for the first time since 2005. The team has averaged 359.6 yards of offense through 15 weeks, including a league-leading 167.5 rushing yards per game.
As head coach at Notre Dame, Weis tallied a 35-27 record, including 19 wins in his first two seasons, the most in a two-year period for the Fighting Irish since 1992-93. Under Weis’ guidance, Notre Dame reached BCS Bowl Games in back-to-back seasons, earning a Fiesta Bowl bid in 2005 and a trip to the Sugar Bowl in 2006.
Weis demonstrated his ability to tutor quarterbacks with the Fighting Irish as well, as Brady Quinn (3,919 yards in 2005) and Jimmy Clausen (3,722 yards in 2009) put up the two most prolific passing seasons in Notre Dame history. Wide receiver Golden Tate also established eye-popping numbers under Weis, setting a Notre Dame record with 2,707 career receiving yards and taking home the 2009 Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the country. Tate also set single-season school records in 2009 with 93 receptions and 1,496 yards and a school record-tying 15 touchdown grabs.
During Weis’ five-year stay with the Patriots from 2000-04, the club won three Super Bowls in a four-year span, only the second team in NFL history to accomplish the feat. New England was 53-27 (.663) during Weis’ five-year tenure and had a 9-0 playoff record.
Over Tom Brady’s first four seasons as a starter in the NFL (2001-04), he ranked fourth in the NFL with 97 passing touchdowns and earned Super Bowl MVP honors in two of New England’s three championship victories, while wide receiver Deion Branch earned the other. The Patriots produced two straight 14-2 seasons in 2003-04, each capped by winning the Super Bowl, and New England rushed for 2,134 yards in 2004, the team’s highest total since 1985.
In 2001, Weis’ second season as New England’s offensive coordinator, he added the responsibility of quarterbacks coach after the death of Dick Rehbein in August of that year. Weis filled both roles for New England in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons. During the second game of the 2001 season, starter Drew Bledsoe was injured, and Brady stepped in to help the team achieve its first Super Bowl championship.
From 1997-99, the Trenton, N.J., native spent three seasons on staff with the N.Y. Jets, working under head coach Bill Parcells. Weis came on staff as the wide receivers coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1998. That season, the Jets advanced the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1982.
In Weis’ first stint with the Patriots, he helped the club earn its second AFC Championship in team history, reaching the Super Bowl following the 1996 season. Over the four years of his first tour with New England, Weis coached tight ends (1993-94), running backs (1995) and wide receivers (1996), helping players like Ben Coates, Curtis Martin and Terry Glenn emerge as playmakers.
Weis first broke into the NFL as an assistant on Parcells’ N.Y. Giants staff from 1990-92, as a defensive/special teams assistant in 1990 and as running backs coach in 1991-92. In his first season with the team, the Giants won the Super Bowl. He then helped Rodney Hampton to a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
Weis spent time working in the Giants’ pro personnel department in 1989 before joining the team on a full-time basis. While doing that, he served as head coach at Township (N.J.) High School and led the team to the state championship.
From 1985-88, Weis worked as an assistant at South Carolina. He began his coaching career at Boonton (N.J.) High School in 1979 before serving five seasons at Morristown (N.J.) High School (1980-84).
In 2003, Weis and his wife Maura created the Hannah & Friends Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. The foundation funds Hannah’s Helping Hands, which provides quality of life grants to families across the country who care for children and adults with special needs. The Weis family opened the Hannah and Friends Neighborhood, a 40-acre facility north of South Bend, Ind., that provides much-needed housing and care services for adults with special needs.
In the spring of 2008, Weis traveled to the Middle East as part of a contingent of college football coaches who were visiting military personnel stationed in the region.
2:22 p.m. Update:
Working on a couple of different leads at the moment, one involving Charlie Weis and the other involving Gus Malzahn.
Can't say much more than that just yet, but didn't want you to think I fell asleep.
I'll have updates as soon as I can nail it down. Hoping that's very soon!
In the meantime, I'm hearing that ESPN Radio in Arkansas is saying that Gus Malzahn is the guy at Kansas. I'm not buying it.
Malzahn spent time in Springdale, Ark., as a high school coach and also worked one year under Houston Nutt at the University of Arkansas.
It seems the world is split on this deal. Some say Weis, others say Malzahn. Crazy that the candidates could be so different. Or are they? Both are great offensive minds and both are no-nonsense guys who live and breathe football.
11:34 a.m. Update:
For those who have yet to purchase their Charlie Weis bobble head dolls and may still be wondering about Gus Malzahn's role in all of this, a couple of folks who cover the team down in Auburn have told me that the word down there is that Malzahn is a leading candidate for the KU job.
That's not really a surprise. Malzahn's been in it for the past several days. One guy down there told me that some folks at Auburn expect Malzahn to know his status with Kansas by Friday.
Just because he's A leading candidate doesn't mean that he's THE leading candidate.
But I'd be careful about getting too wrapped up in the Weis rumors. It could very easily be either one of these guys.
And, heck, the way this thing's gone, it could still be somebody else entirely.
Our own Tom Keegan just penned this column saying that Dave Doeren could still be in the mix.
Either way, I'm still confident that it'll be done very soon. Likely Friday, with word about who the guy is possibly coming out sometime today or tonight.
10:42 a.m. Update:
Spent most of the morning trying to track down this Charlie Weis situation and information is tough to come by. A few different sources have said that Weis is absolutely a legit candidate for Kansas, but whether he's the guy KU is going to hire or not remains up in the air.
Football Rumor Mill continues to push updates on Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, with the latest update from them saying that Malzahn has emerged as the leader. This is very possible.
Evidently, so is Weis. What a crazy turn of events this search has taken. All signs continue to point to a Friday press conference to introduce the new coach and a Saturday introduction at the KU-Ohio State men's basketball game.
Here's something to think about, if it is Weis, can you imagine the coaching staff he could put together? I don't know about you, but I think there could be some pretty impressive and surprising names there, too.
While we wait for more info on Weis and the search, here's a video of Weis talking about moving from Kansas City to Florida after the 2010 NFL season.
1:43 a.m. Update:
Just the name makes your ears perk up a little more and holds your attention a little longer.
How long? Maybe just a night. Maybe 24 hours. Maybe for the length of whatever kind of contract he'd be willing to sign at KU.
We've reached that point in the search to find KU's next head football coach. Call it crazy. Call it delirium. I know fans of Kansas State, Missouri and probably every other college football program in the country certainly will. But that's OK, because, at least for now, it may actually be an option for KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger and the Jayhawks.
Weis, 55, currently is finishing up his first season as offensive coordinator at Florida. In 2010, Weis held the same position with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs -- which at least lends some credence to the talk that he may be interested in coming to KU -- and helped KC reach the playoffs.
He left, abruptly, because of a desire to be closer to his son at UF and his family. Now, sources have told the Journal-World that Weis has talked with Zenger in recent days. Whether that was as an actual candidate for the job or more of a consultant remains to be revealed. But the mere thought that this four-time Super Bowl champion who spent five seasons as the head coach at Notre Dame (35-27 from 2005-09) would even be talking to anyone at KU about football is reason enough to pay attention.
There are a lot of things about Weis coming to KU that make no sense. While at Notre Dame, where he struggled to win big but still guided the Irish to 3 bowls in 5 seasons, those who spent time around him said Weis, a 15-year veteran of the NFL sidelines, didn't take to the grind of recruiting, disliked even more the public appearances and donor functions and was more concerned about coaching the X's and O's of the game than running a program. Scary thought for a program like KU, which currently is in desperate need of a guy who can do it all. And do it well.
In addition, it would not be right to blog about Weis coming to Kansas without saying that the idea of him taking on the enormous gamble of trying to win at KU seems at least a little odd.
As for why he might consider it... Who knows? Maybe the challenge appeals to him. Win here and he's a legend. Maybe he believes in and likes Zenger. Maybe he wants to try to redeem himself for the 5 years in South Bend, Ind., and believes he can do better in the college game.
And maybe he doesn't. Again, our sources are simply telling us that Weis has talked with Zenger. To what extent and what was discussed is unknown at this time.
What is known is that after 10 days of waiting, wondering, worrying and hand-wringing, if Zenger ends this search by announcing Weis as KU's replacement for Turner Gill, KU fans are likely to party like it's 2007 and shouts of "Mike Who?" will be heard across campus.
Long, lonnnnnggg, way to go before we're there. And until anything more concrete emerges, you have to assume that KU hiring a guy like Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Jacksonville OC Dirk Koetter or La. Tech head coach Sonny Dykes is much more likely.
But you never know what could happen. Especially with this search.
On to Day 11. Could be another crazy day.
Coaching Search 2011: Day 10, 4:16 p.m. - More on June Jones, Auburn and Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst; Plus, is Zenger now targeting NFL guys?
4:16 p.m. Update:
More on the talks between June Jones and Arizona State breaking down... At this point, it'd be crazy not wonder if Jones could re-emerge as a candidate at KU. At this point, anything's possible.
One thing we should all have learned from the June Jones situation is that anything is possible. Remember, two days ago, there were credible reports of him saying he was happy at SMU and wasn't going anywhere. Then, he got to the freakin' board room at ASU with a contract in front of him and negotiations broke off.
So now what? He's either happy again or going somewhere else. You just never know.
3:56 p.m. Update:
With Gus Malzahn's name being linked to KU with such force lately, it inspired me to look into what's going on at Auburn. It looks like there could be trouble.
Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof recently announced that he was leaving Auburn to take the same position at Central Florida.
That might make a little more sense if Roof were leaving to become UCF's head coach. But defensive coordinator? Odd. Roof's the second guy to leave Gene Chizik's staff at Auburn since 2009. If Malzahn should leave, that would make three.
Definitely worth noting.
2:28 p.m. Update:
I'm seeing posts on message boards throughout the Internet saying that radio stations in and around Kansas City are reporting that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has been hired by KU. Evidently, that's not correct.
A quick call to an official who works at the university said the following:
"I can tell you right now there isn't anybody yet. They're reaching."
I figured as much, but worth checking on.
2:09 p.m. Update:
With reports surfacing that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has interviewed with Kansas University officials for KU’s open head coaching job, the race to find out more information about Chryst began.
Chryst, who also is rumored to have had discussions with Illinois about its vacancy, has become one of the hottest assistants in college football.
This year alone, his offense yielded one Heisman Trophy finalist in tailback Montee Ball and was just a few votes away from making it two in the form of quarterback Russel Wilson.
Although it’s not yet known how serious Chryst’s candidacy at KU has become or will become, the Badgers OC already has a connection to the program.
Former KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson played two seasons for Chryst at Wisconsin (2006 and 2007) before transfering to KU. I caught up with Thorson on Wednesday to hear his thoughts about Chryst, a man he admires greatly.
Here’s what he had to say:
“He comes off as very laid back, but when you start to spend time around the football program, you quickly learn that he was putting in a lot more time than the rest of the coaching staff. Not to prove anything, that’s just what he loved to do.”
“He was never really tempted by running the spread.”
“The two stats that he was most concerned about are time of possession and turnovers. That was something that was always expressed to us.”
“His concept of playing football is he’s still fine with three yards and a cloud of dust and believes that that’s going to turn into the 10-, 20- and 30-yard runs.”
“We’ve got great backs here, but we don’t play power football necessarily. He’s built that offense based on the fact that they don’t have a lot of receivers and they’ve got giant linemen from the state of Wisconsin and a big fullback and some good backs behind ’em.”
“He’s a very honest guy and his players have always really liked that.”
We’ll do some more digging to find out if Chryst is a finalist or an also ran.
1:27 p.m. Update:
Tom Keegan just filed a column with information from a source that says Zenger's focus is on NFL guys. Here's the link. Good stuff in here.
12:11 p.m. Update:
Just came across a story from a Wisconsin paper that says Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst met with KU officials about the football job, according to a source close to Chryst.
Not much more than that in the article regarding KU.
The way this is written makes it sound like Chryst isn't going anywhere. But he's definitely a guy worth keeping an eye on now that it's been reported that he actually met with KU.
I think he'd be a long shot, but I also didn't get to interview him.
11:16 a.m. Update:
Some of the SMU folks have gathered info from the Arizona State Rivals guys and posted it to their message boards. They're saying June Jones is headed to Arizona State. Here's the link.
If true, that would seem to indicate that KU's final options look something like this:
Troy Calhoun, Air Force Dirk Koetter, Jacksonville Jags (by way of Boise State and Arizona State) Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC Mystery Candidate, Take your best guess
11:08 a.m. Update:
All right, so the Fedora to UNC stuff looks completely legit now. Figured it was, just didn't want to take him off the board in case there was something crazy going down.
Joe Schad of ESPN.com has Tweeted and written a report that Fedora has accepted the job.
Diving into some more info and updates on June Jones and Troy Calhoun at the moment. Jones has said he's happy at SMU and Calhoun appears to be a top candidate for Texas A&M, but I'm not willing to count either guy out at KU yet.
10:21 a.m. Update:
Been making some more calls trying to find out where we're at with this thing and I've got some pretty concrete info on several candidates you've been wondering about. Still don't know for sure who the finalists are but I am hearing that Malzahn and Koetter are both likely in the mix for the job.
Here we go with some quick-hitters:
• Phil Fulmer's out. Was interested but won't be a candidate. Sounds like there were just too many roadblocks on both sides of this thing to make Fulmer a serious candidate.
• Doesn't look like Dave Christensen of Wyoming made the final list either. I've been told by two sources that he's discussing a contract extension at Wyoming.
• Houston Nutt is out and was never seriously considered. He was very interested in the job, though.
• Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois) is out and has not been contacted. It's also probably safe to say that Mark Stoops is out of the mix. Same for OU assistant Brent Venables.
• Names to keep an eye on: Troy Calhoun (Air Force), June Jones (SMU), Sonny Dykes (La. Tech)...
• I know it sounds crazy, but until there's rock solid confirmation that Larry Fedora's in at UNC, we can't let him slip our minds. I've heard that his interview with A&M was underwhelming for both parties and, if for some reason he decides against UNC or that falls apart, him coming to Kansas could become a reality. Highly doubting it's him, but until it's official at UNC, it seems like the possibility still exists, however slim it may be.
• As for Boise's Chris Petersen, Tuesday has come and gone so I'm doubting it's him. It's pretty quiet on that front, though, so I'm not giving up entirely. Less than 1% chance, I'd say. Talked to a former athletic department staffer from Boise who knows him well and he said "not in a million years." He also said he thought Koetter would do a great job here and that he thinks Koetter wants a chance to redeem himself for the way he was fired from Arizona State.
I've got in an in with the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff and I'm trying to go through him to get some info on if Koetter's been talking about the job at all, perhaps to the point of even asking my guy to come to KU with him. As I said yesterday, I put in a call to Koetter and left him a message but haven't heard back. Wouldn't read too much into that either way.
For what it's worth, I'm feeling stronger and stronger about Koetter by the minute...
At this point, it's just a waiting game. I'll keep pounding the phones, but these coaches aren't answering or calling back and the agents have gone quiet, too.
I do think we're getting close. Multiple people are telling me that and I have other reasons to believe that's the case.
8:49 a.m. Update:
Maybe they were just Internet rumors spit out by people (is that the right word?) who have no clue what they’re talking about.
Maybe they have merit.
Either way, talk on Twitter of the Kansas University football program’s search for a new head coach heated up like crazy late Tuesday night.
First, rumors ran wild about Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter being KU’s likely target. No one said anything outlandish, more just the usual stuff, such as, “I’m hearing it’s going to be Koetter.” OK. Sure. Sounds good. But, hey, it made sense. Koetter’s name has been linked to KU’s list for several days now, and the guy has college head coaching experience at two fairly big-time programs.
Just when the Koetter chatter started sinking in, Twitter blew up with rumors of a deal between Gus Malzahn being complete. Naturally, I immediately started making calls and searching the web for any kind of substantiated story about the Auburn offensive coordinator becoming KU’s next head coach. Nothing.
I’m not saying it can’t happen. I’m not even saying it won’t happen. But everyone I talked to Tuesday night thought the same thing — it just didn’t add up.
That’s Twitter for ya. Love it or hate it, use it or abuse it, this is the world we now live in.
All right, so as KU’s search enters Day 10 — and, by the way, all signs are pointing to this thing coming to an end real soon — I figured why not at least entertain the idea that Malzahn and Koetter have emerged as KU’s top two targets and pit them against each other in a little Tale of the Tape exercise. After all, this is Tale of the Tait.
Birthplace----Irving, Tex.-----Pocatello, Id.
HC exp.------None-----9 years (Boise State and Arizona State)
HS exp.-----15 years-----2 years
NCAA exp.-----6 years-----29 years
NFL exp.-----None-----5 years (Jacksonville)
Schools-----3 (OC at 3)-----7 (OC at 5)
Titles-----2 (2010 NCAA & SEC)-----2 (Big West in 1999 and 2000)
All right. Let’s see what today brings. While we wait for news and while I search for some more answers, here are a couple more videos on the guys who could be at the top of the list if these Twitter rumors have legs.
Remember, it’s still very possible that it could be neither of these guys and even could be a coach who hasn’t received much mention during the search, if any.
Malzahn profile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHXaeE...
Summer interview with Malzahn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRuLpC...
Recent Koetter postgame interview: http://www.jaguars.com/media-gallery/videos/Koetter-press-conference/653964b7-cbee-468d-9400-4d12c49de27d
Coach Speak with Brian Billick and Dirk Koetter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZIcmxljMvU
Coaching Search 2011: Day 9, 8:38 p.m. - Report: Fedora accepts North Carolina job; Where does Kansas go from here and how quickly?
8:38 p.m. Update:
The Winston-Salem Journal, in North Carolina, is reporting that three sources have told the paper that Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora has agreed to become the Tar Heels next head coach.
If the report turns out to be accurate — and there's no reason to believe it's not — the move likely will spark a fast response from KU, which, according to sources, had held out hope and been in the running for Fedora as late as Tuesday morning.
Where the Jayhawks turn now is anyone's guess. The search has been air tight and nobody from KU is saying much at all about candidates or the location of AD Sheahon Zenger, who has been on the road interviewing candidates since last Wednesday.
Some names rumored to be in the running include:
Dave Christensen, Wyoming
Dirk Koetter, Jacksonville Jaguars OC
Troy Calhoun, Air Force
Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC
Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech
Chris Petersen, Boise State
As I've said all along, I still believe there's a better-than-good chance that a name or two that hasn't been mentioned during the past nine days could wind up being the guy.
Working like crazy to come up with a list of guys that could be.
3:43 p.m. Update:
Just got a tip from a colleague who said that the name Todd Graham was being thrown around the press box at last night's Pittsburgh Penguins game.
Graham just finished his first year at Pitt (6-6), and although moving so quickly to a job that most would not consider to be better doesn't make much sense, there are a couple of factors that make it worth looking into.
Graham is a native of Dallas, was an extremely successful high school coach in the state and spent a few seasons at Tulsa before moving to Pitt. Obviously, his ties to the Midwest and his Texas roots could benefit him at KU.
Graham just lost three members of his coaching staff to Arizona. All three were former staff members of Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia and they chose to rejoin Rich Rod out west.
I'm making some calls to see if I can track down Graham right now. This could be absolutely nothing but it also could be one of those "unmentioned" names.
Graham makes $2 million at Pitt and he and his wife have six children.
I also have a call into Dirk Koetter. Not sure if he'll call back and won't read too much into it either way, but I'm hoping to hear from him.
1:13 p.m. Update:
Here's a little more on Fedora and UNC... Several outlets are now reporting that Carolina has made Fedora an offer. Doesn't mean he's going to accept it, doesn't mean he isn't. But it's now clear that an offer seems to be on the table for Fedora.
The sooner he decides where he's headed, the sooner the rest of us can move on.
1:04 p.m. Update:
Just got a call back from the Florida State athletic department and both FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and FSU athletic director Randy Spetman said they have not received any requests from KU regarding permission to speak with FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
Not a huge surprise here. And, because of their past connections, this does not mean that Stoops and KU AD Sheahon Zenger did not speak about the job. Just that nothing formal was done.
Most have moved on from Stoops as a candidate here, but I've seen people out there still asking about him.
It really feels like this thing is heating up and moving closer to reaching the end.
11:21 a.m. Update:
Just got done reading some UNC message boards and thought I'd pass along this tidbit for perspective.
Although a bunch of Carolina fans seem pumped by the rumors that Larry Fedora is expected to be named UNC's new coach later today, there seems to be an equal number of Tar Heels who are not impressed.
Many of the complaints go like this: "Four years at a small school, sounds about right. I'd expect that to be the best we could do."
Just struck me as funny how the guy KU fans have been rooting for big-time during the past week or so is only drawing a lukewarm response from the fans of the school that might actually get him.
Again, just for perspective. At the end of this thing, KU will have hired a solid coach, big name or not. Even though the rumors all point to Fedora going to UNC or A&M, I'm not 100 percent convinced he's out of the mix for KU just yet.
Unlikely? Sure. But sources said early on in this thing that he would probably pick KU over Arizona State because of his Texas/Big 12 ties. If it comes down to that, and UNC and A&M go different directions, Fedora could still be KU's guy.
Crazier things have happened.
One more note.... This morning, I also heard back from Patrick Strong, an agent who works at the firm that represents both Fedora and Sonny Dykes. All that Strong told me that I can share was that the company has a policy of not commenting on job openings.
Back to the phones. Stay tuned...
10:14 a.m. Update:
Justin Hopkins, of 24/7sports.com, is reporting that SMU head coach June Jones has informed his staff, that he will stay at SMU.
Jones, a long shot candidate for KU, was rumored to be in the running for the job at Arizona State.
Here's more on where Jones stood with the Sun Devils from azcentral.com. Although this may not seem that interesting to KU fans, it's worth skimming because there's talk in there about how ASU's search has become incredibly quiet in recent days.
One more note of interest: Miami head coach Al Golden has become the latest to say 'No thanks' to UCLA.
8:59 a.m. Update:
Although Monday was a pretty quiet day in terms of actual news on Kansas University’s ongoing coaching search, it may have been pretty productive.
Of course, nothing has been confirmed through KU, but multiple sources not connected with Kansas have said that KU may be getting close to making a decision.
While I firmly believe that Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora was a legit option for KU prior to last weekend’s Conference USA championship game, Fedora’s stock rose too fast and too high for KU to be considered a favorite.
Fedora, who has emerged as a top candidate at nearly every major opening in the country, appears to have his pick among Arizona State, North Carolina and Texas A&M. Many believe it’s easier to win at Carolina and Arizona State than it is at Kansas, and A&M, though headed to the SEC next year, is located in Fedora’s hometown and has long been considered a dream landing spot.
So with Fedora all but off of KU’s board, the question becomes who’s left? Plenty of names have been kicked around and most have compelling cases for coming to Kansas.
But as we wrote last night, it seems that Zenger’s desire to hire a current or former head coach, preferably with at least some kind of BCS experience, may be the trump card in this situation. If so, that would eliminate a lot of names right away.
Of course, it’s still possible that talks with those types of candidates could break down or stall, which then would keep small-school coaches such as Sonny Dykes or SMU’s June Jones as well as assistant coaches such as Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Florida State’s Mark Stoops and even Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst in the mix.
But, for now, let’s go on the assumption that Zenger’s looking for a head coach with BCS-level experience. With all that in mind, here’s my best guess at KU’s current list (no order) followed by another look at their extended bios.
• Troy Calhoun, 45, Air Force Academy head coach
Record at school: 39-23 in 5 seasons (4 bowl appearances)
Current salary: $889,095 per year
Why it makes sense: Experience all over the board from Ohio and Air Force to Wake Forest and the NFL. Offensive-minded coach who knows how to utilize multiple running backs, a position that should be a strength at Kansas for at least the next few years. Named Mountain West coach of the year in 2007 and known for creative offensive gameplans.
Why it might not happen: His is not the biggest name of the bunch and he seems to be pretty happy at Air Force, where he starred as a quarterback during his playing days and began his coaching career under the legendary Fisher DeBerry.
• Dave Christensen, 50, Wyoming head coach
Record at school: 17-18 in 3 seasons. (2 bowl appearances)
Current salary: $843,376 per year
Why it makes sense: Record-setting former Missouri offensive coordinator knows the area well and has recruiting ties throughout the Big 12 from his 12 seasons at Mizzou. Took over at Wyoming in 2009 and has led the Cowboys to bowls in two of his three seasons.
Why it might not happen: Could be a reach, and his losing record in the Mountain West Conference might hit too close to home for people still feeling burned by KU’s hire of Gill, who arrived at KU in 2009 with a 20-30 record in four seasons in the MAC.
• Phillip Fulmer, 61, former University of Tennessee head coach
Record at school: 152-52 in 17 seasons at Tennessee (15 bowl appearances)
Current salary: Made $2.4 million in final year at Tennessee (2008)
Why it makes sense: Fulmer was forced out at Tennessee after an uncharacteristic 5-7 record in 2008. All he did before that was win 10 games in ’07, nine games in ’06 and 10 in 2002 and 2003, as well. Oh, he also guided the Vols to the 1998 national championship. Although the Tennessee native has spent all but four years of his coaching life in his home state, the four years away were in Kansas at Wichita State. Expressed interest in and interviewed for vacancies at Louisville and UConn in late 2009 and appears to be interested in the KU opening this time around.
Why it might not happen: Fulmer’s been out of the game for three seasons now and could have trouble adapting to the spread offenses — both offensively and defensively — currently in favor in the Big 12.
• Dirk Koetter, 52, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator and former head coach at Arizona State and Boise State.
Record at school: 26-10 in 3 seasons at Boise (2 bowl appearances); 40-34 in 6 seasons at ASU (4 bowl appearances)
Current salary: Not Available.
Why it makes sense: Was the man who got Boise State going before handing over the keys to Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen. Has served as an offensive coordinator at five schools — including Missouri from 1989-93 — and, in 29 years, has developed ties to dozens of coaches, which could lead to him hiring an impressive staff.
Why it might not happen: Not incredibly familiar with Big 12 country and has been away from the college game for five years.
• Houston Nutt, 54, former Ole Miss and Arkansas head coach
Record at school: 75-48 in 10 seasons at Arkansas (8 bowl appearances); 24-26 in 4 seaons at Ole Miss (2 bowl appearances).
Current salary: Made $2.7 million at Ole Miss in 2011
Why it makes sense: Coached 14 seasons in the SEC and finished with more than a handful of division titles and has openly said he’s interested in the gig. Disciplined, understands how to clean up, build and sustain a program and has the respect to do so. Also figures to be able to attract good assistants and is one of few options left for KU that offers name recognition that fans may be drawn to.
Why it might not happen: Finished the 2011 season at 2-10 and was fired by Ole Miss. In fact, Nutt has been fired from each of his past two jobs. Although his experience makes him a solid candidate, is that the message KU wants to send to its fan base?
Source for salary information: USA Today.
Coaching Search 2011: Day 8, 6:16 p.m. - Fedora now the man at UNC? Or is it ASU? Or is it A&M? Plus, the case for Chris Petersen
6:16 p.m. Update:
Larry Fedora is without question the hottest name in the country... Reports of Arizona State's scheduled meeting with Fedora on Tuesday now are being trumped by news from Chapel Hill, N.C. that says Fedora is the top candidate at UNC and may already have an offer.
There's even been talk of the contract... $2.2 million for 5 years. Not bad for a guy who makes $700,000 currently.
I wouldn't sign off on the Fedora deal until he's wearing new colors and standing at somebody's podium, but it's looking less and less likely that he's coming to Kansas.
I knew I should've held out on the percentage wheel!!! Oh well, at least I only gave him a 1 in 4 chance. If it turns out to be an unmentioned, I won't have embarrassed myself completely.
Let's see what happens. Stay tuned...
5:03 p.m. Update:
This report indicates that June Jones' candidacy at Arizona State is starting to cool. Can you guess why? Yep... Like everyone else, the Sun Devils are now hot on Fedora.
This report indicates that both ASU and A&M are scheduled to interview Fedora on Tuesday.
The more schools that get involved on Fedora at this level, the worse it gets for KU's hopes of landing him. That's not to say they don't have a shot, but the guy appears to literally have his pick right now and I'm guessing it's not just going to be money that decides it for him.
3:56 p.m. Update:
It's been a very quiet Monday, much more so than most of us expected. That could mean a couple of different things.
- Things are really getting down to business and the people involved in this hire — both at KU and elsewhere — are not even coming up for air.
- Coaches and athletic directors have been traveling today to various bowl receptions and postseason award banquets and things have stalled.
- We're getting closer to an announcement and no one wants to jeopardize anything.
Could be one or two of those. Could be none of those. But it's definitely quiet. I've spent the past couple of hours calling various athletic departments trying to find out whether KU has requested permission through the athletic director to speak with a candidate.
As you can imagine, those calls have not proven to be very fruitful. Oh well, no harm in trying.
Although things continue to be quiet and the outcome of this thing seems to be up in the air, I still feel strongly that it will be nailed down sometime this week.
Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora is in New York City and either met with Texas A&M officials today or will meet with them tomorrow (I've seen reports of both). Once that happens and Fedora decides if he's in at A&M or not, this thing should pick up steam for Kansas.
Back to the phones. Still have a few other numbers to call and a couple of other people to track down.
I'll leave you with the closest thing to a percentage wheel I can give you right now... Here it is, reluctantly, but you deserve it.
- Larry Fedora 25%
- Unmentioned name 25%
- Sonny Dykes 12%
- Houston Nutt 10%
- Gus Malzahn 9%
- Dirk Koetter 9%
- Mark Stoops 6%
- Other 4%
See why doing one of these is so tough this time around? That doesn't tell you much at all, does it!?!?!
1:04 p.m. Update:
OK, so the Switzer link didn't go over too well with everyone... Sorry, folks. Not trying to make a mockery of this thing, just trying to cover all angles and work as hard as humanly possible. No stone unturned, you know?
Moving on to someone who might be a little more realistic. And I emphasize the "little more" part of that. His name is Chris Petersen and he's the head coach at Boise State. During his time with the Broncos, he's racked up a 72-6 record, received all kinds of national notoriety, has been offered more than a few jobs and turned them down and has become one of the top coaching minds in the game today.
So why in the heck would he come to Kansas? Good question. I have heard from two different sources that Petersen could be in the mix at Kansas. Again... COULD. Both are connected to big KU donors but both are a stretch. I'd still put the odds of Petersen coming at less than 5%, but let's look at the case just for grins.
• For starters, Boise State has gone 11-1 in back-to-back seasons and has nothing to show for it but a cute little story. 11-1 at Kansas gets you into the BCS and maybe the national championship game.
• In addition, the jobs Petersen has turned down in the past have been at big schools and in bigger cities. One source who has spent time with Petersen told me the guy likes the laid back vibe of Boise and would be a much better fit in a place like Lawrence than he would a place like L.A. That's probably why he turned down UCLA last week and is a small reason why I think he might consider KU if the money were right.
• Maybe Petersen's ready for the challenge. After having similar success at Boise, Petersen's predecessor, former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, was wooed away by the challenge and although he eventually fell on his face, he received a heck of a pay day, loved his time in Boulder and proved leaving Boise for the Big 12 could be done.
• One other thing that might entice Petersen to go? Boise has a new athletic director. Longtime AD Gene Bleymaier was fired about six months ago and there's a new man in charge. That's not necessarily a deal breaker for Petersen, but there's a precedent here for a new regime making an established coach feel like leaving. His name is Roy Williams and the new regime was led by Al Bohl. What's more, a couple of people who know Petersen said KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger is the kind of AD he'd be comfortable working for.
• Finally, things have been pretty quiet in Boise during the past week. Other than Petersen turning down UCLA (again, quietly) and the Broncos finding out that their 11-1 season that was a missed field goal away from landing them another BCS berth was only good enough to get them a match-up with 6-6 Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, nobody's talking a whole lot about Petersen. Carolina appears to be interested and could prove to be stiff competition for KU, if Petersen's even thinking about leaving.
I know some of this might sound ridiculous, but we know Petersen's out there, we know he's being offered jobs and we don't know — for certain — who Kansas is targeting.
Crazier things have happened.
I'm trying to track down both Petersen and Bleymaier to dig a little deeper here. Don't know if it'll even be worth it, but it can't hurt to try.
12:16 p.m. Update:
Although it seems that a clear-cut list of candidates for KU's job opening has been established, new names are popping up all the time. Some are serious candidates and others long shots at best.
A new one emerged recently that, in my opinion, at least should make KU think a little bit.
His name is Barry Switzer, the former Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach, who has been wildly successful just about everywhere he's been.
On a recent college football show with XM Radio, Switzer mentioned that he was intrigued about the idea of getting back into college coaching. No specific ties to KU have been mentioned, but isn't it possible that Switzer would be a good fit at KU?
The one problem that seems to be present is his age. Switzer is 74 years old. Switzer also comes with some baggage regarding past probation.
Who knows where this will go. Most likely nowhere. But it's at least worth discussing. As a point of reference, K-State coach Bill Snyder is 72 years old.
11:54 a.m. Update:
Just a quick note of perspective for those who may be wondering: KU has hired its last two football coaches in the early part of December.
Mark Mangino was officially introduced at KU on Dec. 4, 2001, a Tuesday.
Turner Gill was officially introduced at KU on Dec. 14, 2009, a Monday.
Obviously, that doesn't mean much for this year's hire, but it does give you an indication of how the timing of these things works.
Working on several more updates so stay tuned...
11:22 a.m. Update:
According to several threads on various Texas A&M message boards, Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora is in New York today and will interview (or perhaps is interviewing as I type) with A&M officials for the Aggies' job.
Most reports from College Station and Houston seem to indicate that Fedora and Louisville coach Charlie Strong have emerged as the top two candidates for A&M. No surprise there, with Strong having ties to the SEC and Fedora being from College Station.
If this, in fact, accurate and the Aggies go with either Fedora or Strong, don't expect Houston's Kevin Sumlin to move just to move. He's happy at Houston and is in line for another raise down there after this fantastic season.
10:57 a.m. Update:
May be making some headway with some of these guys in terms of contacting them or their agents to find out some more substantial information on the connection between them and the Kansas job.
Just tried a number I got for Gus Malzahn and, not surprisingly, I received the "all circuits are busy" message. I'll try again in a bit, but it could be tough to get through to him that way.
Malzahn is represented by Jimmy Sexton, the president of Athletic Resource Management and I have a message into Mr. Sexton.
I also have emails into Russ Campbell and Patrick Strong, partners at the firm that represents both Larry Fedora and Sonny Dykes. We'll see where that gets me.
Can't imagine any media members will be anywhere near the top of their priority call-back lists, but hopefully we'll get some concrete info from them at some point today. Even just a confirmation that they are or are not candidates would be great.
In addition, I put a call into Florida State's director of football operations to see if KU had requested permission to contact Mark Stoops and he said he knew nothing about it. No surprise there, since he's not an administrator, but he did give me the name and number of someone better to contact.
More to come soon. Trying to track down more agents and numbers for a few of the deeper reach candidates just to see if we can start eliminating anyone yet.
8:34 a.m. Update:
Well here we go... About to kickoff Day 8 and Week 2 of Kansas University's search for a new head football coach.
Although this weekend's on-the-field and BCS action was pretty wild and crazy, the off-the-field coaching-search stuff moved pretty slowly and quietly. Only Ole Miss reached a resolution, while several other big-name schools, including KU, head into the first full week of December with their searches ongoing and an increased sense of urgency.
Yesterday, we brought you a quick look at each opening and who we thought were the favorites and long shots for each program.
We'll kick today off in a similar manner, but instead of sizing up the schools we'll outline the likely options for each coach whose name has been associated with KU in the past week.
A big and busy day awaits, so check these out and see if you agree, while we start working the phones again.
Still Alive: Texas A&M, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona State
Call Me Crazy: Southern Miss
Still Alive: Texas A&M
Call Me Crazy: Arizona State
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Illinois
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: North Carolina
Favorite: Louisiana Tech
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Louisville if Charlie Strong goes to Texas A&M
Favorite: Northern Illinois
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Illinois
Favorite: Florida State
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Goes w/ Mike Stoops to a school not yet mentioned
Favorite: Boise State
Still Alive: North Carolina
Call Me Crazy: Kansas
Favorite: Arizona State/SMU
Still Alive: SMU/Arizona State
Call Me Crazy: North Carolina
Favorite: Air Force
Still Alive: Kansas, North Carolina
Call Me Crazy: UCLA
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: UCLA as OC under Jack Del Rio
Coaching Search 2011: Day 7, 6:53 p.m. - Sumlin out at UCLA; Auburn OC Malzahn in the mix at KU? Plus, sizing up the coaching vacancies
6:53 p.m. Update:
According to the LA Times, Houston coach Kevin Sumlin is now out of the race to become UCLA's next head coach.
At this point, it looks like the only way Sumlin moves on is if it's to Texas A&M. Otherwise, he probably will stay put at Houston. Crazy turn of events. Seemed pretty certain that if Houston had won that game he was headed to A&M.
Still trying to contact some agents regarding the guys in the running for KU. If nothing more comes tonight, tomorrow could be a huge swing day.
3:03 p.m. Update:
Lotta talk down at Texas A&M about Charlie Strong becoming the favorite for the Aggies now. Makes sense. The man was the defensive coordinator at Florida before going to Louisville and has a lot of ties throughout the SEC. If that goes down (Smart, Sumlin and Fedora are still alive at A&M), I'd think the picture becomes much clearer...
Just speculation and a gut feeling here, but if Strong's the guy for A&M, here's how I see it going:
Strong to A&M Sumlin to UCLA Fedora to Kansas Freeze to Ole Miss Jones to Arizona State
Not sure where that leaves Carolina or Illinois. Carolina's still entertaining Chris Petersen and Gus Malzahn, and there's talk that Air Force's Troy Calhoun is gaining ground there... Illinois looks to be headed toward a coordinator, with Wisconsin's Paul Chryst possibly at the top of that list.
Doubtful that this is the way it goes down... That would just be too simple. But this is one logical outcome based on what I'm hearing and reading everywhere I can.
2:28 p.m. Update:
Couple of quick things I've been able to find out about Malzahn in the past couple of hours... Nothing major here but a couple of interesting tidbits that might indicate how serious a candidate he is here.
• Malzahn has been in contention for several jobs during the past couple of offseasons. He's regarded by many in the business as one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and would definitely be able to keep up in the Big 12 once he brought a few players in to help.
• Talked to one source who seems to think the KU talk might be a leverage play for Malzahn, who also is a top candidate at North Carolina.
• Most of his ties are to the south - before becoming the Auburn OC he held the same position at Arkansas and, while there, he was named the top offensive coordinator in the nation. That said, he did spend two seasons at Tulsa (before going to Auburn in 2009) and also was born in Irving, Texas.
• The guy loves the hurry-up, no-huddle offense and, in 2003, he wrote a book about that philosophy. He's also known as one of the top innovators of the Wildcat offense that has spread throughout college football and even the NFL like crazy in the past decade.
Not saying he's a leading candidate or even a likely option, but there's a very good chance he's in the mix here and, if so, that could be intriguing for KU's personnel. Think of all the Wildcat stuff KU ran this year, all the backs they have to utilize and how good Christian Matthews looked running that set late in the season.
Still waiting on a couple more calls about this situation.
12:33 p.m. Update:
Like many of you, I'm hearing wild rumors about Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn being a strong candidate for Kansas. I've got a couple of phone calls out to find out more about this so stay tuned.
My first thought is that it would make sense considering the fact that we started hearing yesterday that there were still a couple of names in the mix that weren't being talked about much, if at all. I think Malzahn fits into that category.
Here's a quick look at Malzahn... We'll dive in much deeper very soon if these rumors get legs.
Also, here's an update on the situation at Texas A&M for those still tracking the Aggies, as you should be.
More to come, stay tuned...
10:12 a.m. Update:
All right, well the conference championship games are behind us, the BCS mess is still in front of us — no surprise here, but I’m in the camp that says Oklahoma State belongs in the title game; 7-3 advantage in W’s vs. teams with winning records; 5-2 advantage in W’s vs. BCS Top 25 — and we can finally start to zero in on what some of these schools with vacancies in their head football coaching offices are going to do to fill them.
A lot has happened during the past 48 hours and a lot more figures to go down in the next 12-to-24 hours.
Things remain quiet in the Kansas camp, as atheltic director Sheahon Zenger remains on the road but has not tipped his hand about where he’s been, who he’s met with or when he’ll return.
It looks like most of the names on that Top 5 list (Fedora, Mark Stoops, Dykes, Koetter, Doeren) we came up with the other night are still in play, but rumors of other candidates who haven’t been mentioned much continue to swirl. I’ve said all along that it seemed like there was going to be a name or two on Zenger’s list of finalists that we weren’t talking about and it looks as if that still could be the case.
Trying to track down who those mystery names could be.
One thing I have been able to track down is another name of someone it’s not going to be. After talking with some South Florida folks at the KU basketball game yesterday, you can forget about Skip Holtz leaving USF. He was probably a long shot for a couple of reasons anyway, but these people made a pretty convincing case for why Skip’s not going anywhere.... maybe ever.
To kick things off today — Day 7 of KU’s coaching search — and before things change too drastically too rapidly, let’s take a quick look at each opening and see where things stand. Here goes nothing:
Favorite: Larry Fedora looks like the front-runner, but KU’s not alone in feeling that way about him
Still In It: Sonny Dykes, Dave Doeren, Dave Christensen, Mark Stoops, Dirk Koetter, Couple Unknowns?
Call Me Crazy: Boise State’s Chris Petersen
Hot Link: You’re on it!
Favorite: Gotta be Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, even with Saturday’s tough loss to Southern Miss
Still In It: Larry Fedora, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Alabama DC Kirby Smart and TCU’s Gary Patterson all being mentioned
Call Me Crazy: What about Baylor’s Art Briles?
Hot Link: http://houston.cbslocal.com/2011/12/03/university-of-houston-coach-kevin-sumlin-to-named-texas-am-coach-within-24-hours/
Favorite: Looks like Arkansas State’s Hugh Freeze is prepared to take the job
Still In It: Maybe nobody, but Kirby Smart may still be in the mix; Fedora has rejected it
Call Me Crazy: Seems like Freeze not getting it would be crazy at this point
Hot Link: http://olemiss.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1302435
Favorite: Reports late Saturday said SMU coach June Jones and ASU had been in long talks
Still In It: Larry Fedora (he’s everywhere!)
Call Me Crazy: Nothing would be considered crazy at ASU right now
Hot Link: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2011/12/03/20111203asu-football-benefit-consistency-coaching-hire.html
Favorite: All we know is Petersen pulled out
Still In It: Miami’s Al Golden, Kevin Sumlin, Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti
Call Me Crazy: Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach and California native Jack Del Rio
Hot Link: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-ucla-golden-sumlin-20111204,0,6885923.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fsports+%28L.A.+Times+-+Sports%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
Favorite: Larry Fedora is expected to interview with UNC
Still In It: Auburn OC Gus Malzahn, Air Force’s Troy Calhoun
Call Me Crazy: Kevin Sumlin
Hot Link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/rapid-reports/post/16286311
Favorite: Too hard to say because Illini have been so quiet
Still In It: Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst, Larry Fedora (yep, again)
Call Me Crazy: Kevin Sumlin
Hot Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-1204-illini-foot-coach--20111204,0,4070053.story
That’s a decent look at where everyone else stands — or at least stood as of Sunday morning... From here on out, we’ll get back to focusing on what’s happening at Kansas.
Coaching Search 2011: Day 6, 9:09 p.m. - Can KU still snag Fedora? Plus more on Sumlin, Fedora’s similarities to Bill Self and other interesting nuggets
9:09 p.m. Update:
Just got done with the men's basketball game and figured I'd update you with a quick recap of where we're at heading into Sunday.
• For starters, even though Houston lost to Southern Miss in Saturday's Conference-USA title game, there still seems to be a strong belief that Sumlin is Texas A&M bound.
• In addition, USM's huge victory and the impressive way in which it came, seemed to make Larry Fedora a much more popular man than he was when he woke up. This quick blurb from CBS Sports indicates that Fedora will interview at North Carolina. It also shows who else might be on the Tar Heels' wish list.
Having said all that, don't think for a second that Fedora to Kansas is out of the question. With Ole Miss out of the picture, it seems to come down to three or four schools in the mix for Fedora, unless someone else pops up late. Those schools are: UNC, KU, Arizona State and Illinois, with Texas A&M possibly still in the picture.
Sources indicated earlier this week that Fedora, who is from Texas and has strong ties throughout the Big 12, may favor the Kansas job over Illinois and Arizona State. UNC seems to be a new player here and probably got involved because of what Fedora's team did today. I don't know where he would rank the Carolina job.
Bottom line is this: If Fedora believes he can win at Kansas and if Kansas pays in the same neighborhood as all of those others, I think Kansas still has a great shot. His Texas ties will serve him better at KU than at any other school we've mentioned.
I felt pretty good about Fedora to KU as of Friday night. I've softened a little, but still think there's a great shot that he ends up in Lawrence. Let's see what A&M does and roll from there.
More to come. I'll keep an eye on things the rest of the night but unless something big happens, I'll be back at it in the morning. Tomorrow could be a big day for a lot of coaches and a lot of schools.
5:38 p.m. Update:
Just came across a link from 24/7's Ole Miss site that has the following headline: "Fedora Out at Ole Miss."
It's a pay site and I'm not a member, but that headline has to be promising for KU fans who want Fedora to be their next coach.
I'll make some calls and see what more I can find out.
2:41 p.m. Update:
Here's my quick take on this Southern Miss upset of Houston in the Conference USA championship game... I'm not saying it changes everything, but it could make things a little more difficult for KU to land Fedora - if he was, in fact, a target.
Heard Fedora gave a rousing pregame speech. I'm gonna keep an eye out for that to see if I can find it to post it here.
As for the ramifications, if Texas A&M wanted Sumlin, I think they still want him. Obviously, someone wanted him and he had something lined up enough for ASU to just completely drop out of the running for him. There's no way a school would do that if they thought they still had a shot at him. Furthermore, there's no way Sumlin's people would tell ASU he's not going there unless he absolutely, positively had something lined up somewhere else.
Why would he give up the leverage of their offer?
My guess is that A&M is still going to go after Sumlin, but if there's a school out there that could let the emotional swing of one football game completely throw them off course, it's probably A&M, which has shown just how crazy and unstable in can be in the way it handled the move to the SEC and the firing of Mike Sherman.
More to come on this in a while. And I'll be keeping my eyes and ears peeled for news from Sumlin or Fedora's camp now that their big game has ended.
12:21 p.m. Update:
Just doing a little more digging into Fedora and I found this link... Sound familiar?
Very similar to what Bill Self does here for the women who are fans of KU basketball — or just Bill Self the man, ha! — and there are many people close to the program who have long believed that the blueprint for what KU needs in its next football coach is a guy with Self's demeanor, charisma and personality.
That's probably why Harbaugh was such a solid candidate in 2009. Not saying Fedora's exactly the same kind of guy, but, clearly, there are some similarities.
11:56 a.m. Update:
Just a couple of quick notes about the past before moving on to the future again.
Just saw a statement from Arkansas that confirmed that UAB has hired Arkansas assistant Garrick McGee. Former KU coach Turner Gill was reported to be a finalist for that job.
Also, for those who care, here's a good look at how the Mike Leach hiring at Washington State went down.
10:16 a.m. Update:
Not a lot of new news to report as of this morning, but I can assure you that the search is going to be rolling along today and tomorrow.
Before I dive into a deeper look at the Kevin Sumlin situation, let me hit you with a couple of quick nuggets that I've learned in the past 12 hours.
• Hearing that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger has visited Laramie, Wyo., which makes it likely that he has at least talked to Wyoming coach Dave Christensen about the job. I don't think I'd put Christensen in the top tier just yet, but this means he's definitely on the list of Zenger's 6-to-10 candidates.
• Also hearing that Dave Doeren continues to be a long shot because of his limited experience. I do believe that Doeren has been contacted, but it sounds like the hire will go elsewhere before it gets to Doeren. Now... if things fall apart with a couple of names above his, Doeren could jump right back into play in a hurry. He's not dead in this. But I'm hearing he's not likely.
For those who missed it elsewhere on the site, here's our updated list with a new favorite (Fedora), three strong candidates, a bunch of forget-me-not guys and three deep reaches.
OK, moving on, let's look at the Kevin Sumlin situation a little more since that could have a major impact on what happens at KU.
As you probably know by now, Sumlin is out of the Arizona State race. ASU revealed yesterday evening that they were no longer pursuing Sumlin.
Logical thinking seems to indicate that that makes Sumlin to Texas A&M a shoe-in, but things aren't always logical in these coaching searches. I'm sure A&M will go after Sumlin like crazy, but I'm told he's not the two-handed, break-away slam dunk we all think.
Here's a interesting read about why it's too early to put Sumlin in A&M gear.
And here's this examination of why A&M wants Sumlin from Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News.
For those not following, or who have been out of the loop these last few days, the reason the Sumlin to A&M news is worth tracking is because if Sumlin elects NOT to go to A&M, that bumps Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora up a notch or two in the Aggies' search.
Carlton originally listed three candidates ahead of Fedora when the news of A&M's opening broke: Sumlin, Charlie Strong, of Louisville, and Kirby Smart, the Alabama DC.
Ironically, Sumlin and Fedora will face off against each other at 11 today in the Conference USA championship game. Houston is undefeated and ranked No. 6. Fedora's Golden Eagles are 10-2 and ranked 24th.
Here's a preview: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/preview?gameId=313370248
The good news about the game is it's early. The sooner Sumlin and Fedora can get their seasons behind them, the sooner A&M, Kansas and possibly others can move on in their pursuit of both men.
Like I said already, Saturday and Sunday are gonna be wild.
Coaching Search 2011: Day 5, 7:18 p.m. - Five favorites for the KU job? Plus, will Sumlin go to A&M or ASU? And a deeper look at Sonny Dykes
7:18 p.m. Update:
One more link: This SB Nation report says that Arizona State has ended talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
Again, this could make it more likely that Sumlin goes to Texas A&M, which hypothetically would give KU a better chance of landing Larry Fedora.
Interestingly, Fedora also makes the list of Arizona State's potential candidates in the link above.
5:37 p.m. Update:
Couple of quick things before nightfall (sorry East coasters)...
First, an email was sent out from KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger to all Williams Fund Members today. It was short, sweet and to the point. KU's still searching and KU has options.
Here's the email:
Dear Williams Fund Donor,
Just a quick note to tell you we appreciate your support as we navigate through the important issues at Kansas Athletics.
Dealing first with conference alignment and now a change in out football program, it is certainly never a slow time in athletics.
As a Jayhawk, I am incredibly excited about the opportunities before us. I look forward to introducing the Jayhawk nation to the new leader of our football program very soon. I ask for your continued support as we move through this process.
We are fortunate to have such a strong fan base that reminds us, “Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk.”
Director of Athletics
University of Kansas
One other note... As the weekend approaches and Zenger continues to try to trim his list and hone in on his finalists, we believe the top-tier guys are starting to take shape.
As of this minute on this day, here's a look at the likely Top 5:
1. Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach - may be the favorite
2. Mark Stoops - Florida State defensive coordinator - hanging around
3. Sonny Dykes - Louisiana Tech head coach - solid option
4. Dirk Koetter - Jacksonville OC (it's pronounced "Cutter" by the way) - rising fast
5. Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois head coach - not likely but not eliminated
I know that's not quite a percentage wheel, but it's close. And I think I may be feeling one coming on in the near future.
3:16 p.m. Update:
Boise State coach Chris Petersen, one of the big fish in the small pond of this year's coaching candidates, evidently will not be an option for UCLA.
Sources told ESPN.com that Petersen's name will not surface at UCLA, which is looking for a coach to replace Rick Neuheisel and restore some sort of luster to the Bruins program.
2:56 p.m. Update:
Not a whole lot of new information in this, but John Henderson of The Denver Post, compiled a short and sweet look at all of the jobs out there right now. It's worth a look for a little perspective.
Trying to find out more on Fedora, Doeren and the Sumlin situation at the moment.
1:51 p.m. Update:
My bad on the Sumlin-ASU link. That was from Thursday and was refuted. I thought it was new... The link's still below in case you want to check it out, but, evidently, nothing is new there as of yet.
1:34 p.m. Update:
The Arizona Republic reported Thursday that Kevin Sumlin has been offered the job at Arizona State. Sumlin later refuted the report so who knows exactly where it came from.
Here's the link. Certainly would create a shift in terms of Larry Fedora and would leave A&M on the board as a top-tier job.
1:07 p.m. Update:
First of all... WE'RE BACK up and running!!! Thanks for hanging in there. You guys are awesome! Time to make up for this morning's debacle. Got a lot planned for this afternoon, so check back often.
Here's the latest:
Seeing reports of Texas A&M making a serious play for Houston’s Kevin Sumlin... Makes perfect sense and may be a perfect fit.
I’d love to get in to Sumlin’s people and find out if the prospect of going from Conference USA to the SE-freaking-C would turn him off. If that’s the case, he, like Leach, could probably draw a similar payday (if not more) out west from UCLA or Arizona State.
I’m sure KU would even pay well for Sumlin, but it seems that he has no interest in Kansas. Surprises me a little since his recruiting ties and familiarity are basically in the heart of Big 12 country anyway. But to each his own.
The Sumlin news still has a potential impact on KU in terms of how it affects Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. Fedora’s not talking until after the Eagles take on Sumlin’s Cougars in this weekend’s Conference USA championship game. If then.
In other news... Starting to hear about Sonny Dykes working on a contract extension with the folks at Louisiana Tech. Can't find anything concrete on this, but I'll keep looking.
I still don't think Dykes was a top-tier guy for the KU job, but it's interesting nonetheless.
More to come. Stay tuned...
11:33 a.m. Update:
Well, we've had some pretty major site issues today that's kept our traffic and discussion from being what it normally would.
All apologies for that. The issues is with Knology, our Internet service provider, and we've been told they're doing everything they can to fix the problem and get us back up and running.
Drag, I know. But look at it this way, at least this didn't happen on the day the new coach was hired... [me knocking on wood]...
I'll keep the updates limited until I know we're up and running again, but a couple of things to remember for those who can access the site right now.
• Just because a guy says he's interested doesn't mean KU's going to jump all over him. As I mentioned in a Tweet I sent while the site was down, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger hit the road with a list and I'm guessing he's not going to deviate much from that list. Now, if Pete Carroll called and said he'd like to be considered for the job, I'm guessing Zenger would add him to the list. But not every Tom, Dick and Harry out there is going to get that kind of treatment, regardless of past experience. Zenger came up with the list he has with good reason and he's the kind of guy who's going to stick to his game plan.
• Another thing about coaches names coming up out of left field... A lot of times people will push a coach's name just so it's out there. Maybe a coach wants a job somewhere else but hasn't had contact with that school yet. So he says he's interested at another school to get his name on the radar and have people start talking about him and then that spreads like wildfire. It happens all the time in these deals and probably has already happened here with the KU job opening. No harm, no foul. Just the way it goes.
• One more thing that I'm starting to gather from talking to people in all corners of this thing, there seems to be serious sentiment that the program is in the best hands and in the best shape when Kansas guys are involved at least a little bit... Makes sense, really: The more people from around here that are on the staff, the deeper they're going to care about what happens to the program. I'm not saying that will be a deciding factor here by any means, but in addition to looking at the head coaching candidates with ties to KU and Zenger, it's important to think about the head coaching candidates who can bring in the most guys with ties to KU for their staff.
More to come. And once the site's back up for everyone, we'll try to make up for lost time.
8:57 a.m. Update:
It’s Day 5 and the list of candidates for Kansas University’s vacant head football coaching job seems to be getting clearer by the day.
One problem.... It also seems to be getting longer.
After riding the wave of the ups and downs that come with any coaching search for the first few days of the week, some real pitches for the job have started to surface.
Before we dive too deeply into the candidates, new and old, who have thrown their name into the hat, let’s take a moment to simply list the guys that seem to be in the running.
We’ll go with no particular order here — because, quite frankly, it’s still a little too difficult to tell who the favorites are — but assume that the guys near the top of the list have a better shot than the guys near the bottom.... for now. I’ll put breaks between what I perceive to be the different tiers.
Here goes nothing:
1. Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach one of the hotter names available
2. Mark Stoops - Florida State DC staying quiet and hanging around
3. Skip Holtz - South Florida head coach eyeing Big East to Big 12 move?
4. Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois head coach and former KU assistant
5. Sonny Dykes - La. Tech head coach known as offensive guru and solid recruiter
6. Brent Venables - OU DC is interested in KU job and primed for chance to run own program
7. June Jones - Offensive-minded veteran with past success at Hawaii and now SMU
8. Dave Christensen - Wyoming head coach and former Mizzou offensive coordinator
9. Dirk Koetter - Jacksonville asst. w/ 9 years of college experience at Arizona State & Boise State
10. Troy Calhoun - Air Force coach may be intrigued by challenge of Big 12
11. Houston Nutt - Can you hire a guy who just got fired even if it was from Ole Miss?
12. Phillip Fulmer - Former Tennessee coach ready to get back into coaching?
13. Gary Barnett - Former Colorado and Northwestern coach expressed interest in KU
14. Glen Mason - Former KU coach interested in getting back into coaching and KU
OK, I’m sure there are a few more names that could be on that list, but that’s the best of the best as far as I can tell. I also think it’s important to point out that probably only about half of those names are actually potential candidates. Remember, Zenger said earlier this week that he had a list of 6-to-10 candidates. You gotta figure Mike Leach was one of them, so that’s now more like 5-to-9.
Anyway, since none of us know who those 5-to-9 are, we might as well throw out all the guys that could be on there and see where that takes us.
OK, with the list out of the way, let’s ltake a closer look at a man who could be shooting his way up KU’s list. Sources have said there is real interest between KU and Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, the son of former Texas Tech coaching great Spike Dykes.
La. Tech working on contract extension for Dykes: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20111202/SPORTS0203/112020329/La-Tech-working-extension-Dykes?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs
In case you missed this from Tom Keegan, here’s a look Dykes' roots:
Video from Dykes’ days as a coordinator at Arizona under Mike Stoops:
Dykes after this year’s spring game:
ESPN radio interview with Dykes after 2011 spring game:
And this from Dykes’ bio at La. Tech:
Sonny Dykes was introduced as the 32nd head coach in Louisiana Tech history on Jan. 20, 2010 in front of an overflowing Jarrell Room filled with Bulldog fans at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center.
In his first season Dykes put his high octane offense into effect, resulting in him being one of only four of the nation's 22 new head coaches to improve a team's conference record from the year before. Dykes' exciting brand of offense improved in several areas of the NCAA statistical ranks including passing offense (91st in 2009 to 62nd in 2010) and total offense (66th to 52nd) while the team's average offensive national rank improved from 65th in 2009 to 54th in 2010.
Dykes, son of Texas Tech coaching legend Spike Dykes, has coached in the PAC-10, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 during his 16 years in the college football profession while also serving under some very successful head coaches including Mike Leach and Mike Stoops.
He won the 2006 Mike Campbell Top Assistant Award, presented by the All-American Football Foundation, and was a nominee for the 2009 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
Dykes comes to Louisiana Tech after completing his third season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona, leading the Wildcats to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. That Holiday Bowl appearance marked Dykes' 10th bowl appearance as a coach with all 10 appearances coming within the last 11 years.
A spread-offense specialist, Dykes' offensive attack set at least five single-season records at Arizona while also racking up a pile of single-game marks in the UA record book. Former Wildcat quarterback Willie Tuitama, a disciple of Dykes, notched career numbers that are among Arizona's best.
Rivals.com cited Dykes as one of the countries brightest offensive minds and top ten college recruiters in the country.
Dykes' Arizona team went 6-3 in the Pac-10 Conference during the 2009 campaign, finished tied for second in the league with Oregon State and Stanford.
Fond of the passing attack, Dykes Arizona offense in 2008 ranked 16th in scoring and 33rd in total offense while developing and outstanding run-pass balance.
Dykes orchestrated an Arizona offense that was ranked 10th nationally in passing yards per game in 2007 as he coached then-junior Tuitama to honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors that year. That same season, he helped develop the offensive scheme that pushed receiver Mike Thomas to first-team all-league status as a junior and senior ('08).
Prior to his tenure at Arizona, Dykes was co-offensive coordinator working with then-head coach Mike Leach and inside receivers coach Dana Holgorsen running Texas Tech's wide-open passing attach in 2005-06 after having been Texas Tech's wide receivers coach since 2000. The Red Raiders were among the national top six in total offense and passing during the span.
Texas Tech was No. 3 in passing and No. 6 in total offense in 2006 under his co-direction, throwing for 370 yards and accumulating nearly 450 overall. He directed an offense that scored 32 points per game in 2006 with two receivers ranked top three in the nation and a third in the top 20 in receptions per game.
While in Lubbock, Dykes helped develop Joel Filani into a two-time first team All-Big 12 honoree and a sixth-round NFL draft selection by the Tennessee Titans in 2007. Receiver Jarrett Hicks also signed a free-agent deal with the San Diego Chargers that year.
Dykes also worked with quarterback Graham Harrell who completed 412 passes for 4,555 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2006, ranking Texas Tech third nationally in total offense that season.
Prior to his five seasons at Texas Tech, Dykes spent two non-consecutive seasons at Kentucky, first coaching tight ends as a graduate assistant in 1997 and then coaching special teams and wide receivers in 1999 under the "Air Raid" attack of former UK coach Hal Mumme. Dykes coached Kentucky's James Whalen to AP All-America honors after his Division I-A record for receptions by a tight end.
Coaching Search 2011: Day 4, 6:07 p.m. - Sherman out at A&M?; chat transcript; 2 very different lists; plus more on Fedora and Ole Miss
6:07 p.m. Update:
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman just recently threw out a Tweet that said Texas A&M has decided to get rid of head coach Mike Sherman. Nothing official yet, but, if true, the move would open the door for Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora to head to A&M.
Fedora is a native of College Station, Texas, and would seem — SEEM — to be very interested in that job, which would then throw another wrinkle in KU's plans.
We'll see how this develops.
4:24 p.m. Update:
Just wrapped up the live chat we did and I want to say thanks to all who stopped by to check it out. It went very well and we'll do another one sometime soon.
Here's the link for those who missed it and might want to catch up. Warning: It's long!
Fortunately, while we were chatting, not a whole lot happened in the coaching search world... at least not above the surface.
Rumors of Kevin Sumlin to Arizona State popped up and were squashed, Houston Nutt's name came up as someone who may be showing interest in the KU job and ESPN's Scott Van Pelt — a frequent visitor to Allen Fieldhouse — called the KU job the worst of the current BCS openings.
Wonder how Van Pelt's seats will be next time he wants to take in a game.
Anyway, I'll stay on this for the rest of the night but I've gotta pound the phones for a while and make up for lost time on the chat. Thanks again for stopping by and if you didn't or haven't go check it out.
12:39 p.m. Update:
Four days is not that long when it comes to just about everything. But in the world of a coaching search, that amount of time can feel like an eternity.
We're now midway through Day 4 of KU's coaching search, and we're starting to discover that this may be a tough job to fill. There is plenty of interest out there, from all walks of life, but progressing from interest and to an actual interview can be a long road.
With that in mind, here's a look at a couple of lists that have taken shape with regard to KU's coaching vacancy. The first is a group of five candidates that KU fans would probably be OK with if one of these five guys was named KU's new football coach.
--- These lists are in no particular order ---
1. Mark Stoops - Florida State defensive coordinator with great football pedigree
2. Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach is one of the hottest names out there
3. Brent Venables - OU defensive coordinator a long shot to land the job but is interested
4. June Jones - Offensive guru with past success at Hawaii and SMU
5. Skip Holtz - S. Florida coach has good pedigree and may be looking to escape Big East
The second list is the one that KU fans don't want to see but may have to get comfortable with in the coming days. It's entirely possible that parts of both list could merge together to make one super list, but only time will tell if that's the case. Here are the names that would probably take some serious selling if KU announced one of these five guys.
1. Dave Doeren - N. Illinois coach has KU ties, is an up-and-comer but isn't super sexy
2. Dave Christensen - Wyoming coach with ties to the area has had success out west
3. Sonny Dykes - La. Tech head coach a lot like Mike Leach but without the wackiness
4. Dana Dimel - K-State assistant and former Wyoming coach with ties to Zenger
5. Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach is strict disciplinarian and has had success at AF
Still trying to track down some information and add or subtract guys from these lists.
I still believe that there's a name or two out there that may fall in between these two lists and would be a great hire and one that KU fans would embrace. Can't put my finger on who that might be, but I'm working on it.
Stay tuned... And don't forget to check out our live chat on the front of the site a little later today, at 2 p.m. (central time)
10:58 a.m. Update:
With names flying around all over the place and no clear cut leader emerging in KU's search for a head football coach, let's get away from some of the reaches and shift back to a name we know is on the list and near the top — Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora.
The Sun-Herald, in south Mississippi, revealed in this article that Fedora did not deny interest in the Ole Miss job when asked about it on Wednesday.
There's a chance they could be reading too much into his "non-denial" because Fedora has said from the beginning that his focus was on the upcoming Conference USA championship game against Houston and nothing else. Therefore, it would seem entirely logical for him to give no comment on any and all questions about any and all schools.
Still, you have to believe Fedora would have at least some interest in Ole Miss if they're interested in targeting him as reports have indicated.
Here's are a couple of quick updates on where Ole Miss is at in its search. This first article is really interesting. It says that Ole Miss' search committee met with the team to share information on the candidates and field questions about the search from the players. The meeting was closed and no details were divulged, but that's very interesting.
Don't expect to see that at Kansas — or most other places for that matter. It's, quite frankly, a pretty wild way of running a search considering how tough that makes it to keep news quiet. Can you imagine how quickly word could spread if 100 KU football players had some information. Props to Ole Miss for doing right by their players, but wow. Wow!
Also, I heard somewhere recently that Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com reported via Twitter this morning that Texas A&M was likely keeping Mike Sherman. Brown covers Texas and not Texas A&M, but he's pretty plugged in. I'll do some more digging.
If A&M's job is not open, that boosts KU's chances of landing Fedora.
Here's a recap from the Houston Chronicle about Sherman's fate hanging in the balance.
Much more to come. Stay tuned...
9:24 a.m. Update:
Starting to hear a few grumblings that Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald may be in the mix for the Kansas job.
Fitzgerald, who turns 37 tomorrow, who has been at Northwestern since 2001, the head coach since 2006, has put together a 40-35 overall record at Northwestern and has led the Wildcats to three bowl appearances during that time.
Fitzgerald was a fairly hot candidate for the KU job when the Jayhawks hired Turner Gill in 2009 but it was believed then — as it may still be today — that it would be tough to pull him away from his alma mater.
Fitzgerald currently makes $1.1 million at Northwestern.
We'll see what happens, but keep an eye on Fitzgerald and Evanston, Ill.
Also heard from someone who listened to the show that Gary Barnett was on 810 sports radio in Kansas City this morning and said he would definitely be interested in the KU job.
Coincidentally, Fitzgerald played at Northwestern for Barnett, who has a great track record of success at both NU and Colorado.
Barnett, 65, last coached in 2005 and won several coach of the year awards in 1995. He also was named the Big 12 coach of the year in 2001 and 2004 and Big Ten coach of the year in 1995 and 1996.
Back to the phones to see what more I can find out.
1:31 a.m. Update:
First, before we get too far into this thing, I’ll be doing a live chat at 2 p.m. (central time) today on KUSports.com.
Log on now or any time to submit your questions and then swing by around 2:00 to see what kind of answers I can come up with.
OK, back to the search...
It’s Day 4 of the Kansas University football coaching search, and I’m sure for many of you, it feels more like day 40.
As the days go by and candidates come and go, rise and fall, it becomes clear that crossing names off the list is easier to do than adding names to it or highlighting names on it.
This much we know: Mike Leach is not coming. The former Texas Tech coach agreed Wednesday, to become the next head coach at Washington State, spurning all other suitors for five years, $2.4 million per, and the great Northwest. Like I said, cross him off the list.
Strong cases continue to be made to strike Jim Leavitt, Jim Tressel, Kevin Sumlin and Mike Stoops from the list, so, from the looks of things, it appears we may be getting somewhere.
We’re not. KU may be. But we’re certainly not.
Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and, to some extent, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables all appear to be in good shape to at least get an interview with KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.
On the B List, Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech), June Jones (SMU) and a few others may draw some interest.
And then you have all kinds of other names that have been kicked around, some with at least a little merit and others with absolutely none: Fulmer, Fitzgerald, Barnett, Christensen, Mason, Smart, Shannon, Calhoun, Davis, Jones, Jones, Dimel.... The list goes on and on...
Some of those are worth checking into and others are worth adding to the scrap pile. After that, we’re stretching quite a bit, but that, too, has been done before. And at places far more impressive than Kansas.
Take Auburn, for example. After forcing Tommy Tuberville out of town at the end of 2008, the Tigers replaced him with a man named Gene Chizik, who, in two years at Iowa State, had racked up an unimpressive 5-19 mark. Lo and behold, two years later, Chizik and the Tigers won the national championship.
I’m not saying that’s going to happen at Kansas — I repeat, I'm NOT saying it's going to happen — but, remember, Zenger is looking for the guy he deems to be the best fit for KU. That might not be the most impressive name or even one you’ve ever heard of. In case it’s not, and in case that’s the route he goes, here are four names that fit the bill.
• Jeff Monken - 44 - Georgia Southern head coach who is 19-7 during his two seasons in charge. Key player in helping Paul Johnson develop a prolific rushing offense at Georgia Tech. Once interviewed with Zenger for the Illinois State job.
Pregame speech during first season at Georgia Southern:
• Justin Fuente - 35 - Co-offensive coordinator at TCU, now in his 5th season with the Horned Frogs. Before TCU, Fuente spent six seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Illinois State, the final two of which came while Zenger was the school’s athletic director.
Interview during week leading up to the Rose Bowl:
• Paul Chryst - 46 - Offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, now in his sixth consecutive season with the Badgers, is developing into a darkhorse candidate for some jobs out there. Has NFL experience as a tight ends coach and also worked at Oregon State. Told the Chicago Tribune this week that things had been quiet on his end regarding any coaching inquiries. Currently is prepping to take on Michigan State in this year's Big Ten championship game.
Local TV feature on Chryst and his offense:
• Todd Monken - 45 - First-year Oklahoma State offensive coordinator who has experience in the Midwest, the NFL (Jacksonville) and at a big-time school like LSU has drawn some interest at a few schools during the early days of the searching. Withdrew his name from Tulane’s search and his ties to Jeff Monken (brother) could make him familiar with Zenger.
Interview after OSU’s 2011 spring game:
One more note of interest to kick off the day, reports late Wednesday night suggested that Texas A&M was inching toward getting rid of Mike Sherman. Some reports indicated that all that stood in the Aggies’ way was coming up with the cash to get rid of him.
If that’s the case, and if they find the money, Kansas fans — and everyone else for that matter — can say goodbye to their chances of landing Fedora.
Fedora grew up in College Station, Texas, was a successful high school coach in the state and now, with Leach off the board, is one of the hotter names out there.