Nick Saban

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 17

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin was asked about Texas head coaching job on Monday. Naturally, Franklin didn’t exactly deny interest.

Could Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin become a candidate for the Texas job? (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)“Really excited about the program-development period that we’re in right now and working with these young guys,” Franklin told the Tennessean. “Really excited about playing Houston. We’ve watched them on film. I think they’re really talented. I think it’s going to be a challenge for us. That’s what our focus is.

“Any of those other things, you know, we don’t talk about that are outside of our area of control or focus or concern. We’re focused on getting better as an organization and then getting ready for Houston.”

In other words, he’d love to have the job, but realizes he’s not in the top tier, but hopes to get a shot to convince the Longhorns he should be.

Brian Davis reports Arizona State coach Todd Graham is not a candidate at Texas.

Arizona State confirmed a written agreement between ASU president Michael Crow and former Sun Devils and current Texas AD Steve Patterson that he can’t hire any ASU coach.

The Detroit Free Press calls Michigan State coach and Lone Star State native Mark Dantonio a “dark horse” candidate for the Texas job.

USA Today reports that the six-year, $30 million contract Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin signed last week contains buyout provisions that would result in Sumlin being paid all of the money remaining on his contract if he is fired without cause at any point during the deal.

However, it requires him to pay only a $5 million buyout if he terminates the deal without cause before the Aggies’ last game of the 2016 season, including any bowl game.

Stanford coach David Shaw says that he’s not interested in leaving for the NFL.

Speaking of Stanford, sources tell us that Cardinal assistant Mike Sanford could be in line for the offensive coordinator job at Boise State.

Sources indicate that North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson’s interview for the Arkansas State head job went very well.

Anderson fits the profile the Red Wolves are looking for: young, energetic and an offensive mind.

We are also told Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper could become a serious candidate for the ASU job.

Other names linked to the job: Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron, Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

Should Anderson land the Arkansas State job, expect ULL offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and Texas co-offensive coordinator Darrell Wyatt to get serious consideration at UNC.

Sources indicate that Nebraska’s Tim Beck is still likely in the running to become Florida’s new offensive coordinator, as is UNC’s Anderson. There’s no guarantee Anderson would accept the job – even if he doesn’t land Arkansas State.

We’re now told UCLA’s Noel Mazzone and Arizona State’s Norvell are unlikely to make a move to Gainesville. Both are quite stable at their current positions.

Jason LaConfora reports that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien was close to taking the Eagles job a year ago and is now ready to return to the NFL.

ESPN reports that former USC coach Lane Kiffin is visiting Alabama this week to evaluate the Tide’s offense and “to share ideas and exchange ideas and [for] professional development.”

In other words, Saban feels sorry for him.

We’re told that Sam Houston State coach Wille Fritz is a serious candidate for the Bowling Green job and is scheduled to interview.

We are also told LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is a in the mix. Studrawa is a graduate of Bowling Green and spent six seasons there as an assistant.

We continue to hear that Bo Pelini’s status remains quite shaky at Nebraska, and a recent report seems to support that notion.

Kirk Bohls reports that Mack Brown’s attorney, Joe Jamail, got a call from someone saying that he represented Nebraska and was seeking Mack’s interest.

“He’s not going to Nebraska,” Jamail said.

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst sent a one-word text message response to the Omaha World-Herald about the matter:

“Deny!”

Bohls also reports that Brown has TV offers on the table and “one of biggest California talent agencies” wanted to set up Mack meeting soon.

There are more changes for the TCU offensive staff.

Last week, Gary Patterson added Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham to his staff. This week it’s Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator and outside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie coming aboard.

Cumbie will share the co-offenisve coordinator title with Meacham. The former Texas Tech signal caller will also coach quarterbacks.

Many Red Raiders fans are scratching their heads at what appears to be a lateral move away from his alma mater, but Cumbie will no doubt get a much bigger hand in TCU’s offense than he did at Tech, where Kliff Kingsbury is the chief offensive architect.

FCS powerhouse North Dakota State wasted no time in replacing head coach Craig Bohl, who last week became head coach at Wyoming.

The Bison elevated defensive coordinator Chris Klieman to their head coaching position on Sunday. The 47-year-old Klieman, who turned down a chance to join Bohl at Wyoming, has spent three seasons at NDSU, the last two as defensive coordinator.

His units have been at the top of the FCS statistically and are allowing just 11 points per game this season.

Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP

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Nick Saban says he 'never considered' going to Texas

Friday evening Nick Saban agreed to a long-term extension and raise at Alabama.

Nick and Terry Saban (Photo: Vasha Hunt, AL.com)An hour or so after that news was announced, word leaked that Mack Brown would remain head coach at Texas.

The timing of the two events led to speculation that Saban’s decision had something to do with the decision to keep Brown in place, but Saban says that becoming coach of the Longhorns is something he “never considered.”

“The way this sort of got spun, it was a little bit more like, ‘OK, he got a new contract at Alabama, so he’s going to stay at Alabama instead of going to Texas,’” Saban told ESPN.com’s Chris Low on Saturday. “I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.

“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career.”

Details of the new deal have not yet been released, but the contract is expected to pay Saban upwards of $7 million per season.

According to Saban, his agent Jimmy Sexton has been working on the extension with Alabama “all the way back into the season,” and the timing of the deal being completed just after the end of the regular season made for a sticky situation.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mack Brown,” he said. “Mack Brown is the coach at Texas. He deserves the right, based on his body of work, to be able to leave the program the way he wants to leave the program. It wasn’t fair to him or to me to be speculating about this job, which I haven’t talked to anybody there about.

“Really, the whole thing from my perspective stunk, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do about it.”

Saban hopes this will be the last time he has to deal with speculation of him considering other jobs.

“Maybe this will be what the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay thing was to the NFL the last couple of years. That kind of ended the pro speculation,” Saban said.

“Maybe this will end the college speculation. This is where I’m going to finish my coaching career.”

Photo: Vasha Hunt, AL.com

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Status quo: Mack Brown still Texas coach; Saban agrees to deal at Bama

It looks like the rumors of the end of Mack Brown’s era as Texas coach were greatly exaggerated.

Mack Brown (Photo: AP)Brown’s Friday evening meeting with school president Bill Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson came and went and, according to all reports, Brown will coach the Longhorns in 2014.

The news came roughly an hour after Alabama officials announced that Nick Saban has agreed to terms for a long-term extension.

Coincidence? Probably.

Regardless, even if Brown’s status changes in coming days or weeks, it looks like Texas’ top choice as his replacement is off the board.

This probably isn’t the end to the Texas soap opera, but it looks like the status quo will hold … at least for now.

Photo: AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Dec. 12

Yesterday reporters asked 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about the Texas job, and Harbaugh wasn’t amused.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh responded to reporters' questions about the Texas head coaching job. (Photo: Bill Kostroun, AP)“Are you trying to be funny?” he asked.

Harbaugh, who reiterated that he doesn’t talk about jobs other than one he has, turned down USC flat a few weeks ago.

As great a job as Texas is, the Longhorns are almost certain to be met with the same cold shoulder.

The idea of Harbaugh leaving the 49ers — a team he led to to the Super Bowl last year and, at 9-4 this season, has positioned for a third-straight NFC playoff appearance — to return to college is, to borrow Harbaugh’s phrase, almost laughable.

Still, you can’t blame the UT brass for trying.

Meanwhile, Mack Brown remains the Texas head coach … for now.

School president Bill Powers, a staunch Brown supporter, met with the UT Board of Regents on Thursday where it was announced he’ll remain university president.

There were reports that Powers, Brown and athletic director Steve Patterson would meet Thursday evening, but the Dallas Morning News says that won’t happen.

Powerful Texas booster Red McCombs, a public supporter of Brown, said Thursday that Brown deserves to stay — or leave — on his own terms.

“I think that Mack has earned the right to choose whatever he wants to do, whether he wants to stay or he wants to go,” McCombs said, following Brown’s appearance at an Alamo Bowl press conference Thursday in San Antonio.

If Brown decides to leave, McCombs says that money won’t be an issue in finding his replacement.

“All the money that is not up at the Vatican is at UT,” McCombs said.

Joe Jamail, Brown’s friend and attorney weighed in again this afternoon telling the Austin American-Statesman,  “If (Mack Brown) has made a decision, he hasn’t told me, and I think he would.”

Houston Sports Radio 610 cites a source as stating that Brown will resign on Friday, and that Nick Saban will become the Longhorns coach — perhaps on the same day.

According to the source, Texas is expected to offer Saban “a contract that will pay him at least $6 million annually with performances incentives believed to be worth and extra $2 million a season.”

In addition to the salary, “Texas alums are trying to ‘pass the hat’ to collect $10-$20 million extra to give Saban as a bonus for coming to the school.”

We don’t really believe  the report. Sources confirm Saban is likely to get at least $7 million per year if he stays in Tuscaloosa. A Texas offer is likely to be much larger. Sources also tell us a deal is in place at Alabama, but Saban has yet to act on it.

While Texas remains an option, we certainly don’t believe there is an agreement in place. At least not yet. Most of our sources still believe Saban will stay at Bama, but no one seems to know for sure.

UConn officially announced Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco as the Huskies’ new head coach.

Diaco’s contract starts at $1.5 million per year, consisting of a $400,000 base salary and $1.1 million in additional compensation. He’ll receive increases of $50,000 per year over the five-year deal.

Incentives include one month’s base salary for making a bowl game, and up to $400,000 for winning the national championship. If Diaco remains head coach on December 31, 2018, he’ll get a $500,000 retention bonus.

You can read UConn’s full offer letter HERE.

TCU has formally announced the addition of Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham.

Though details of Meacham’s deal were not made public, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that he will be paid $350,000 a year.

Meacham was making $300,000 in his one season as offensive coordinator at Houston. His contract included a $90,000 buyout if he left before February 2014.

Prior to Houston, Meacham spent eight seasons as tight ends and receivers coach at his alma mater Oklahoma State. He served as OSU’s passing game coordinator from 2008-09.

“Our goal is to remain a physical football team,” Patterson said in a release. “Coach Meacham was part of an Oklahoma State system that was highly successful throwing the football, and he continued that in his one year at Houston.

“I’m real excited about the kind of person coach Meacham is and how well he fits our staff. We haven’t talked to anybody who doesn’t think the world of him as a person and coach.”

According to the Star-Telegram, TCU’s former co-offensive coordinators Rusty Burns and Jarrett Anderson have been offered other staff positions, but it could take more than a month for the entire makeup of the staff to be finalized.

Wide receivers coach Curtis Luper has interviewed for the head job at his alma mater Stephen F. Austin. If Luper gets that job, Burns could return to coaching receivers.

Anderson, who has been part of TCU staff since 1998 when he was a graduate assistant, also coached receivers (2001-08) before he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator with Justin Fuente in 2009.

Fuente became the head coach at Memphis following the 2011 season.

Informed sources tell us Ohio State assistant Stan Drayton has emerged as a frontrunner at FAU.

Candidates for the Arkansas State job are expected to include Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

Texas A&M regents have unanimously approved a new contract for head coach Kevin Sumlin. Sumlin’s name has been tied to the Houston Texans vacancy.

Photo: Bill Kostroun, AP 

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Mack Brown Saga

The situation at Texas is nothing short of a soap opera.

Texas head football coach Mack Brown (Photo: AP)Chip Brown at Orangebloods reported Tuesday that Mack Brown would step down as head coach. On Wednesday, he tweeted:

“My sources at the highest level of Texas have re-confirmed my report. I hope we can start talking about Mack Brown’s legacy at Texas soon.”

After the Orangebloods’ report, Mack responded by telling Horns247, “I’m in Florida recruiting. If I had decided to step down I sure wouldn’t be killing myself down here. I have not decided to step down.”

The Dallas Morning News says that the Texas coach and new athletic director Steve Patterson talked for about three hours Sunday and that nothing was decided.

The DMN also reports that Texas President Bill Powers’ infighting with Gov. Rick Perry over education policy and vision has led to a tenuous job status. Powers’ name and employment status are on the agenda for the Texas Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

Multiple sources tell us that Mack Brown’s firewall is Powers. Powers doesn’t like to be pushed around and apparently has no real desire fire Brown. Sources tell us that recruiting is progressing as usual and Texas coaches are still on the road. Brown was spotted at Miami Central High School last night with assistant Larry Porter.

Meanwhile in Tuscaloosa… NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reported that Nick Saban is in contract negotiations with Alabama for a salary around $7 million a year. According to our sources, ‘Bama thought the terms of an extension were pretty well all agreed to, but are now somewhat flummoxed that the situation hasn’t been resolved.

Athletic director Bill Battle was asked about Saban contract extension on Wednesday and replied, “We’re focused on recruiting and playing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.”

Okay. Whatever that means.

Stefan Stevenson, the TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reported that a “source close to Texas executive council of regents says Nick Saban will be next Longhorns coach.”

We don’t have any reason to believe that’s accurate, certainly not at this point.

Our sources tell us they believe Saban will remain at Alabama, but nobody really knows for sure what’s next.

On the Texas front, our sources are split down the middle.

Some believe that the longer Brown staying in place, the better his chances for survival. The Longhorns are scheduled host a recruiting weekend beginning Friday with several JUCO prospects on campus. They feel that there’s no way Brown hosts the weekend unless he’s returning.

Meanwhile, others seem to think Brown is staying in place until and unless Texas has a replacement lined up.

Sources Tuesday morning told us Texas didn’t want to make a move on Brown until the ‘Horns had a replacement in tow. Then, the Chip Brown story broke.

It’s seems pretty clear that Texas has no deal in place with anyone at the moment, and school officials are still trying to figure out how to deal with Brown, who refuses to resign.

In addition, Texas has a president who may not survive past Thursday coupled with a new athletic director who inherited a huge mess and leaks coming from every corner of the university from people with varying agendas.

The latest comes from Mack Brown’s longtime friend and attorney, Joe Jamail.  He spoke with reporters late Wednesday and reiterated Brown has not made a decision as to his future. “He has not tendered his resignation and has not made a decision yet,” Jamail said. “He’ll make that decision sometime soon. “He has not decided yet. He’ll decide that on his own and all these reports are wrong.”

Our best guess as to what ultimately happens? Powers stays and they figure out a way to get Brown out the door with some sort of golden parachute. Jamail’s statement sounds as if this thing is moving toward a conclusion. However, everything could implode as well. Others think Brown won’t back down – no matter what.

Who would replace Brown? We continue to hear that Texas wants Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh or Jimbo Fisher.

However, we’re told Texas wants a coach in place quickly. If the Longhorns swing and miss on Saban, Harbaugh and Fisher won’t be available until January.

One thing is certain, something has to give.

Photo: AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Nov. 27

We’ve heard rumblings over the past several days that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood could be in trouble, and we added him to this week’s Hot Seat list.

Could Rutgers coach Kyle Flood be in trouble? (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Could Rutgers coach Kyle Flood be in trouble? (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Now, the Asbury Park Press reports the situation for Flood might be even worse than we thought. Athletics director Julie Hermann is already under investigation and most agree if she goes, so does Flood.

Flood would be owed $850,000 if he is fired before Feb. 1, 2014. Keep an eye on this one.

With Rutgers headed to the B1G, the Scarlet Knights may want to start with a clean slate… or an old one. Greg Schiano anyone?

Mack Brown is only a few wins away from passing Darrell Royal on Texas‘ all-time Texas wins list. In fact, he probably hits the mark next season – if he returns.

Even though UT megabooseter Joe Jamail says that Brown will decide when he retires, sources continue to tell us this is likely his last season in Austin.

If Brown goes, who takes his place? As you’ve no doubt heard numerous times, Alabama coach Nick Saban tops the Longhorns’ wish list. Earlier this week, Saban’s wife Terry told the Wall Street Journal that the couple intends to retire in Tuscaloosa, but the Sabans certainly aren’t above changing their minds.

If Saban does stay put, we continue to hear that Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong, Jon Gruden and Art Briles could all be in play.

Briles stated last week, that he “cannot envision” talking with other schools at season’s end, but sources indicate he’d still likely listen to Texas.

Another name that has surfaced is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin last coached in college at Cincinnati in 1999-2000, where he was on staff with Jimbo Fisher. Ian Rappaport reported a couple of weeks ago that Tomlin’s job in Pittsburgh is safe for 2014.

Sources indicate Tomlin may be ready to move on – and that he’d have a keen interest in Texas.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s name is also making the rounds, both publicly and privately. Many believe he could emerge as a prime candidate at Texas.

At Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Will Muschamp will return as coach in 2014, but that there will be “significant changes” on the staff. Sources tell us the two most likely sacrifices are offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.

Pease said today he believes he deserves to return.

You may remember Davis from his off-season spat with his former boss, Nick Saban.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that FAU coach Carl Pelini was fired for not reporting conduct of staff and not for using illegal drugs. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that interim president Dennis J. Crudele sent to Pelini:

“FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs. Accordingly to clarify these significant points … your resignation is withdrawn and your separation is converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.”

We continue to hear that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is a serious candidate. FAU AD Pat Chun said he would like to name the Owls’ next football coach by Dec. 8.

Stephen F. Austin has fired  coach J.C. Harper.

James Madison fired head coach Mickey Mathews.

According to the Daily News-Record, “JMU might be interested in as its new coach are Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Arizona co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith and Virginia Tech tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring.”

Elon has fired coach Jason Swepson. Swepson went 10-24 in three seasons.

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Agent: Saban would only consider leaving Alabama for Texas

If the reports of house hunting in Austin were smoke from the Nick Saban-to-Texas fire, a report Tuesday afternoon has poured gasoline on it.

Nick Saban's agent told two Texas regents that Saban would only consider leaving Alabama for Texas. (Photo: AP file)On the same day when UT announced the hiring of Steve Patterson to replace A.D. DeLoss Dodds, the AP reported that Saban’s agent told two Texas regents that the Alabama coach would only consider leaving Tuscaloosa for Austin, and that Saban’s success with the Crimson Tide had put him under “special pressure.”

Jimmy Sexton, Saban’s agent, reportedly made the comments during a 45-minute call with former Texas Regent Tom Hicks and current Regent Wallace Hall. Hicks sent details of the call in a Sept. 24 email that was obtained by The Associated Press via open-records request.

“Sexton confirmed that UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for, and that his success there created special pressure for him,” the email read.

The email didn’t elaborate on the pressure.

Two days after the call with Sexton, Hicks approached Mack Brown about the possibility of retiring. Brown, who is under contract until 2020, said he wanted to stay.

Saban, who was not available for comment following Tuesday’s practice, has maintained that he is content at Alabama since the Texas reports first surfaced in September.

As he approached his 62nd birthday last month, Saban once again said he was “too damn old to go someplace else.”

Photo: AP file

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