Nick Saban

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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…’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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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 31

Pressure has eased on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after the Kentucky win, but there is still tons of chatter. As we’ve mentioned previously, if they make a move, expect ULL’s Mark Hudspeth to get first call.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen (Photo: Kerry Smith, AP)Mack Brown’s future at Texas could hinge on the Baylor game. A bad loss could spell the end – even if the Horns finish 9-3.

It’s no secret that their top target is Nick Saban. Other early names to watch include Art Briles, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden.

Speaking of Gruden… This year could finally be the year he returns to coaching. However, the most likely landing spot may be his old stomping ground. There’s lots of chatter Gruden could return to the Raiders with full control over the front office.

Early names at Florida Atlantic include two first-year offensive coordinators with strong south Florida ties — Miami’s James Coley and Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. Gran was a serious candidate when Carl Pelini was hired.

Expect staff changes at Appalachian State.

If a move is made to get rid if Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, don’t be surprised if Rich Rod is a candidate to return home. It would definitely be interesting to watch the fan base’s reaction if that took place.

The Florida International job could open after just one year under Ron Turner.

There is major pressure building to oust Bo Pelini at Nebraska. He needs to win, badly. If he goes, former Husker quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost could be a candidate, although most think he needs a little more experience.

At USC, Jack Del Rio is still very much in the mix. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter is also getting some attention as a fall back option.

Most believe Pat Haden’s early targets will be bigger names and will likely have NFL experience.

At Toledo, second-year coach Matt Campbell has signed extension through the 2017 season.

Campbell was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman took the job at Illinois. The Rockets are 14-7 under his watch, including a 5-3 record and 3-1 in the MAC this year.

There are lots of rumors that Boise State’s Chris Petersen may finally be ready to finally make a move.

Photo credit: Kerry Smith, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Oct. 21

Sources indicate that even if the NFL comes calling, expect Charlie Strong to stay put in college.

Sources indicate that even if the NFL comes calling, expect Charlie Strong to stay put in college.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Stanford’s David Shaw have been tabbed by the NFL’s recently formed advisory panel to help to identify potential minority coaching candidates.

According to Schefter, the league “will be an upset if Strong is not a leading candidate for various NFL head coaching openings this winter.”

Not so fast.

Sources close to Strong indicate he’s inclined to stay in college — no matter what the NFL’s advisory panel suggests.

The 53-year old Strong is in his fourth season at Louisville and signed an eight-year extension worth $3.7 million per year in late January. The Cardinals are 31-15 during Strong’s tenure, including a 6-1 mark this season.

At Florida, sources in Gainesville indicate Will Muschamp is currenly not in danger of losing his job, regardless of how the Gators finish. Of course, things change quickly in college football. We do expect a staff shakeup on the offensive side.

Speaking of Florida, this was the week Ron Zook was fired in year three. Zook’s record was 20-13 overall and 14-7 in the SEC. Muschamp’s record is 22-11 overall and 13-8 in the SEC. Let that simmer for a minute…

Despite three wins in a row including a Red River Rivalry triumph over arch-rival Oklahoma, we’re told Mack Brown is still not out of the woods at Texas. An 8-4 record might not be enough, perhaps even 9-3 if that loss is a blowout to Baylor.

If the Longhorns do make a change, look for Nick Saban to get the first call. Jimbo Fisher, Art Briles and Charlie Strong are also likely to make the initial list of candidates.

Keep an eye on West Virginia, Virginia, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. They could all open.

Eastern Michigan and UNLV are in serious jeopardy.

At USC, we’re told to keep an eye on coaches with an NFL background. Also, don’t rule out Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

Photo credit: Keith Srakocic, AP

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Don James passes away

Legendary former University of Washington head coach Don James has passed away.

Former Washington head coach Don James passed away Sunday.In a press release, the school announced that James, who spent 18 seasons as the Huskies head coach (1975-1992), died Sunday morning. James had been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

He was 81 years old.

“My family and I are extremely saddened to hear of Coach James’ passing,” current UW head coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement. “His accomplishments as a football coach stand alone, but what made him truly special is the quality of man he was away from the game.

“The guidance and leadership he instilled into this program and community are still felt today, and will continue to be felt here for a long, long time.”

Born in Massillon, Ohio, James played college ball at Miami (Fla.). He was head coach at Kent State from 1971-74, leading the Golden Flashes to their only MAC championship and bowl game in 1972.

At Washington, he guided the Huskies to six conference titles and the 1991 national championship. James, a 1997 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, finished with a record of 153-58-2 at UW.

James’ influence goes beyond the immense impact he made at Washington. His coaching tree includes the likes of Dom Capers, Jim Mora, Sr. and Jr., Nick Saban, and Gary Pinkel, among others.

Saban played defensive back at Kent State from 1972-74 and has often given James credit for James sparking his interest in becoming a coach.

Photo credit: Bruce Kellman, Tacoma News Tribune

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Mike Groh leaving Bama for the NFL; FSU's Napier to the Tide

Mike Groh is leaving Nick Saban's staff for the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA Today)

Mike Groh (right) is headed to the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA Today)

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]labama wide receivers coach Mike Groh is leaving for a job on the Chicago Bears’ staff and will be replaced by FSU tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Napier.

The turn of events is ironic for Florida State, as Groh is being hired for the same position that FSU assistant Lawrence Dawsey turned down earlier this week.

Billy Napier (Photo: Bart Boatwright/Greenville News)

Billy Napier (Photo: Bart Boatwright/Greenville News)

Groh had one of the biggest recruiting hauls of the 2013 class and was named Recruiter of the Year by and

Napier just joined Jimbo Fisher’s staff in January. He was assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under former Bama offensive coordinator at Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain last season. He was an offensive quality control assistant under McElwain at Alabama in 2011.

Before that, Napier spent five seasons at Clemson. Originally hired as tight ends coach in 2006, he added the recruiting coordinator title in 2007 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2009. He held that role for two seasons.

Napier, who is considered an excellent recruiter in his own right, was set to make $275,000 at Florida State.

Groh was part of Nick Saban’s staff the past two seasons, and it was his second stint in Tuscaloosa. He was an offensive graduate assistant at Alabama in 2009.

He coached quarterbacks at Louisville in 2010, and spent eight years at Virginia (2001-08), his alma mater.


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