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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

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Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora looks at a play against Prairie View in Hattiesburg, Miss., in this 2010 file photo.

Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora looks at a play against Prairie View in Hattiesburg, Miss., in this 2010 file photo.

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.

http://arizonastate.scout.com/2/1135649.html

This report indicates that both ASU and A&M are scheduled to interview Fedora on Tuesday.

http://arizonastate.scout.com/2/1135984.html

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.

Stay tuned...

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Coaches and athletic directors have been traveling today to various bowl receptions and postseason award banquets and things have stalled.
  3. 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.

  1. Larry Fedora 25%
  2. Unmentioned name 25%
  3. Sonny Dykes 12%
  4. Houston Nutt 10%
  5. Gus Malzahn 9%
  6. Dirk Koetter 9%
  7. Mark Stoops 6%
  8. Other 4%

See why doing one of these is so tough this time around? That doesn't tell you much at all, does it!?!?!

Stay tuned...

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.

Stay tuned...

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.

http://www.scout.com/2/1135760.html

Stay tuned...

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.

http://tinyurl.com/d6fafnu

Stay tuned...

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.

Stay tuned...

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.

Stay tuned...

LARRY FEDORA
Favorite: None
Still Alive: Texas A&M, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona State
Call Me Crazy: Southern Miss

KEVIN SUMLIN
Favorite: Houston
Still Alive: Texas A&M
Call Me Crazy: Arizona State

DAVE CHRISTENSEN
Favorite: Wyoming
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Illinois

GUS MALZAHN
Favorite: Auburn
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: North Carolina

SONNY DYKES
Favorite: Louisiana Tech
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Louisville if Charlie Strong goes to Texas A&M

DAVE DOEREN
Favorite: Northern Illinois
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Illinois

MARK STOOPS
Favorite: Florida State
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: Goes w/ Mike Stoops to a school not yet mentioned

CHRIS PETERSEN
Favorite: Boise State
Still Alive: North Carolina
Call Me Crazy: Kansas

JUNE JONES
Favorite: Arizona State/SMU
Still Alive: SMU/Arizona State
Call Me Crazy: North Carolina

TROY CALHOUN
Favorite: Air Force
Still Alive: Kansas, North Carolina
Call Me Crazy: UCLA

DIRK KOETTER
Favorite: NFL
Still Alive: Kansas
Call Me Crazy: UCLA as OC under Jack Del Rio

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