Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett told the media this week that he’s been blown away by the interest in the job.
The names on the Texas coaching search board appear to be dropping quickly.
If recent reports are to be believed, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is off the table. Now Baylor’s Art Briles and UCLA’s Jim Mora have both stated publicly that they are not interested in the job and are not candidates.
Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio signed an extension. The news was announced Wednesday night just before Sparty’s Rose Bowl win over Stanford.
The school reportedly plans to make Dantonio one of the three highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten, and his assistants will become one of three highest-paid staffs in the conference.
If those names are gone, where does Texas athletic director Steve Patterson turn?
Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are the other names most prominently linked to the job.
According to an Orangebloods.com report, Patterson has already interviewed both Strong and Franklin.
Despite the recent announcement of Fisher’s contract extension, sources continue to tell us that Fisher is not out of the mix at Texas. In fact HookEm247 believes that Fisher is likely the favorite to land the job.
Speaking of Fisher’s new deal, the Tallahassee Democrat reports that FSU built in an overall salary increase of 17 percent for the Seminoles’ nine assistant coaches. It’s up to Fisher to decide which assistants receive raises and how much.
The Gazette reports former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple will interview for the UMass job next week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. UMass fired Charley Molnar on Dec. 26.
Penn State AD Dave Joyner says the school could have a new head coach “in a matter of days rather than weeks.”
Longtime Nittany Lions defensive line coach Larry Johnson has been named the interim head coach. PennLive reports wide receivers coach Stan Hixon set to join Bill O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans.
Lions247 reports five names have risen to the top of the early list of potential interviewees: Miami head coach Al Golden, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano and Johnson.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Caldwell interviewed for the Redskins head coaching vacancy Wednesday, and is also expected to interview for the Lions head job.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean reports that Titans coach Mike Munchak is still in limbo. No decision has been made on his future as coach. Munchak is thought to be a candidate for the Penn State job.
The Cleveland Browns are focusing largely – but not entirely – on college coaches. Jason La Canfora reports they are very interested in interviewing Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s Franklin for their head coaching vacancy.
Sources close to Malzahn indicate that, while he might have an interested in moving to the NFL at some point in the future, he’d be likley pass on Cleveland now.
Tony Softli reports that Oklahoma head coach and Ohio native Bob Stoops may have the inside track on the Cleveland Browns opening.
ESPN reports that an NFL source insists Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is open to coaching a select professional team or two.
A source close to Sumlin tells us otherwise.
“That’s 100 percent not true, and it has no chance of happening. Zero.”
Sumlin has passed on several inquiries and job opportunities from NFL and high-profile collegiate jobs, including USC, sources said.
Sumlin is committed to coaching Texas A&M until the school finishes its $450 million renovation of Kyle Field. The renovation, which also has been labeled a redevelopment, is being done in three phases, with the grand opening set for August 2015.
Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford will be offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay.
Sources indicate that FSU quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders could be a candidate to replace Kurt Roper as offensive coordinator at Duke. Sanders and Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe have a long history dating back to Tennessee.
Sources also indicate Blue Devils offensive line coach John Latina could be in play to be the offensive line coach at Florida.
DuckTerritory reports that Randy Shannon and Clancy Pendergast are among the possibilities for the defensive coordinator job at Oregon.
Secondary coach John Neal was believed to be a serious candidate, but it now appears head coach Mark Helfrich is intent on bringing someone in from the outside.
Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville has fired defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and defensive tackles coach Fred Tate, according to reports.
Steve Spurrier went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl in his third season at Florida. The HBC won 9 and 10 his first years.
Ron Zook went 7-4 and was fired in the middle of his third season. However, it was obvious that he had recruited great players and it’d only be a matter of time before they’d compete for championships. (Zook recruited 22 of 24 starters on Urban Meyer’s 2006 National Championship team.) Zook’s tenure ended as the Gators beat FSU in Tallahassee, something even Steve Spurrier never did.
Urban Meyer went 9-4 in his third season. That’s after winning 9 in his first and the national championship in his second.
Will Muschamp went 7-6 in his first season, 11-2 in his second and is currently 4-3 in the middle of his third. The Gators gave one away at Miami, didn’t play well at LSU and were blown out at Mizzou. With Georgia, Vandy, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and FSU remaining, it’s not out of the question that Florida could have it’s first losing season since 1979.
Sources inside the program tell us there’s a lot of division on the team and teammates beginning to point fingers. Florida AD Jeremy Foley gave Muschamp a vote of confidence earlier this week, saying his coach is “not going anywhere.” For what it’s worth, he told Ron Zook he was “in the circle” and on “on the same team” the Friday before he fired him. So, his public support for Muschamp should be taken with a grain of salt.
We talked with a number of coaches this week and they all told us the same thing. They don’t see a lot of “energy” on the sideline and they don’t see the kinds of playmakers Florida has had in the past.
Muschamp deserves another year to get it fixed — but expect staff changes if he does. The head coach gave offensive coordinator Brent Pease a half-hearted vote of confidence this week, saying “This is the same staff that came a game away from playing for national championship, OK.” Well, Greg Davis was fired at Texas four seasons after winning the national championship and one season after winning 13 games and playing for another.
Assuming Muschamp is around after this season, Foley will insist on staff changes and you can take that to the bank. Sources close to Foley tell us he has had thoughts that maybe he pulled the plug too soon on Zook — and that he seems determined to give Muschamp a longer leash.
However, if the Gators implode down the stretch, don’t be shocked to see Foley do what Foley does best: protect himself. Just ask Ron Zook.
There has been chatter around Central Florida coach George O’Leary for some time. He had a player die on his watch and the Knights landed on NCAA probation. That’s not to mention his prickly personality — he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy. But fast forward to the present and UCF could land in a BCS Bowl as winners of the new AAC.
Duke has never been to back to back bowls, but David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils one win away from being bowl-eligible for the second consecutive year. Things may look better now with Hugh Freeze at the helm, but maybe firing him at Ole Miss one season removed from winning ten games wasn’t such a smart move after all.
After a one-year respite, there are rumblings again at Georgia. If the Bulldogs lose to Florida, watch out. One prominent coach told us today that the coach that loses that game could lose his job. Cocktails, anyone?
Photo credit: Dave Martin, AP
Malzahn adds two more off-the-field staffers
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has added two respected high school coaches to his off-the-field staff, according to AuburnSports.com. Dell McGee of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga. and Brent Dearmon of B.C. Rain High near Mobile will join the Tigers’ staff in administrative roles.
McGee is a Columbus native that defensive back at Auburn from 1992-95 and was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals following his senior season. McGee led Carver for eight seasons compiled an 88-19 record and a Class AAA state championship in 2007. Carver has turned out a number of top players during McGee’s career, including Jarvis Jones who many project as a top-six pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Dearmon was head coach at B.C. Rain the past two seasons. He spent three years as Vigor’s offensive coordinator which included a Class 5A state championship and 15-0 record in 2008. His father, Roger, is a longtime high school head coach in Mobile.
NMSU’s Martin hires Zane Vance as linebackers coach
New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin has hired Zane Vance as linebackers coach. Vance was the linebackers coach under coach Martin while as Kent State. Most recently, Vance was the head coach for The Master’s Academy in Oviedo, Fla. In 2011, He was an assistant coach at Cuyohoga Valley Christian Academy in Stow, Ohio, coaching the linebacker and serving as special teams coordinator.
Jason Brooks hired as FIU’s secondary coach; staff complete
Ron Turner has completed the Florida International coaching staff with the hiring of Jason Brooks as the Panthers’ secondary coach. Brooks spentthe last four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as an assistant to the offense, offensive quality control and offensive assistant. Prior to the Ravens, Brooks was wide receivers coach at Norwich (Vt.) University. Brooks also served the Miami Dolphins in parts of 2007-08 as a scouting assistant, and also during the 2007 season, Brooks worked at UMass as an assistant defensive backs coach.
Re’quan Boyette promoted to Duke running backs coach
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe has promoted graduate assistant Re’quan Boyette to running backs coach. The Wilson, N.C. played for the Blue Devils from 2005-09.
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]uke head coach David Cutcliffe creatively used Twitter to officially introduce new wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery.
On Sunday, Cutcliffe (@DavidCutcliffe) teased the announcement Sunday evening with the following tweet and photo:
Dinner w an old/new friend!!! Go Duke!!! twitter.com/DavidCutcliffe…
— David Cutcliffe (@DavidCutcliffe) February 11, 2013
The Duke Football Twitter account (@Duke_FB) made the announcement official this morning, even answering questions related to Montgomery’s title and the staff roles from a Duke blogger.
#Duke alum Scottie Montgomery will return to his alma mater as Assoc. Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator/Passing Game while coaching the WRs
— Duke Football (@Duke_FB) February 11, 2013
Montgomery spent the last 3 seasons coaching WRs with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers & was previously on the #Duke staff from 2006-09.
— Duke Football (@Duke_FB) February 11, 2013
@dukehoopblog No. Kurt Roper remains OC & play-caller on game day.
— Duke Football (@Duke_FB) February 11, 2013
@dukehoopblog Same concept as we had with Matt Luke, who was OC/Running Game prior to his departure to Ole Miss after the 2011 season.
— Duke Football (@Duke_FB) February 11, 2013
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Steelers wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery will become the offensive coordinator at Duke.
Montgomery played wide receiver at Duke from 1996–99 and later in the NFL for the Panthers, Broncos and Raiders.
Following his playing career, Montgomery returned to Duke to coach the Blue Devils’ wide receivers coach for four seasons (2006–2009). He was hired by the Steelers in 2010.
David Cutcliffe lost two staff members in recent weeks, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick, who joined Mark Helfrich’s staff at Oregon, and tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Ron Middleton, who left for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ongtime Duke assistant Ron Middleton is headed to the NFL.
Middleton, who was Duke’s associate head coach, tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, has accepted a position with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Middleton has spent the better part of the past 13 seasons alongside David Cutcliffe. He was on Cutcliffe’s staff at Ole Miss from 1999-2003. From 2004-06, he was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as tight ends coach where he met new Jags coach Gus Bradley. After one year at Alabama, he rejoined Cutcliffe at Duke.
“I will forever be grateful to Coach Cutcliffe for giving me the opportunity to work at Duke University,” Middleton said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished as a staff over the last five years both on and off the field, and I know the young men in the program will continue to prosper in everything they do.
“The decision to leave Duke was extremely difficult because of the quality young men in the football program and the leadership of the institution, and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of something much bigger than myself.”
Middleton is the second recent departure from Cutcliffe’s staff.
On Jan. 28, Duke wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick was hired by Mark Helfrich at Oregon as as passing-game coordinator. Lubick’s replacement has not been announced.
The Blue Devils are coming off their most successful season in 18 years. Duke went 6-7 and played in a bowl game for the first time since 1994, losing 48-34 to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.