*Update* Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com is reporting that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Charlie Strong are the Top 2 candidates for the opening at Texas. FootballScoop.com concurred and has reported that they believe a decision will be made in 24 hours in Austin. Stay Tuned.
This is a frustrating situation. For fans being attached to the program having this level of uncertainty for an extended period of time during a very public candidate search at the University of Texas leaves a growing uneasy feeling.
Last night, rumors on my cell phone were swirling. “Sources” are everywhere. But the fact is that UofL is quiet and so is Charlie Strong. Tom Jurich has been in Colorado and other members of the school have remained in Florida. As someone with media access people come to us for answers. But there really isn’t anything to provide.
Here is what we know:
1) Art Briles has removed his name from the coaching search.
2) Jim Mora quickly shot down rumors of his interest in the job.
3) Charlie Strong interviewed (or at the very least spoke with Texas) on Tuesday, December 31st. That interview was said to have gone ‘very well’ and one reporter even said that Strong reached out to members of the previous UT coaching staff.
4) Word has been that James Franklin of Vanderbilt, Jimbo Fisher of Florida State, and Mark Dantonio of Michigan State, will also be (or already have) interviewed. Dantonio’s Michigan State team won the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day and quickly signed a new deal with the Spartans. Jimbo Fisher plays in Monday Night’s BCS National Championship Game, and Franklin plays Houston tomorrow in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. Fisher recently signed a contract extension and could return to FSU with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston.
5) Nick Saban was the original target, lost in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night, and is unlikely to leave Alabama.
There are a lot of names being thrown around. Not all are listed here. But I think it is clear that the only person NOT taking their name out of consideration is Charlie Strong. Whether it is a matter of principle for Charlie to not address every rumor, attempt to leverage a raise for him and his staff, or if he really does want to be the next head coach for the Longhorns is not clear. What is clear is that Charlie Strong is NOT Texas’ number 1 choice.
Longhorn AD Steve Patterson was toxic with the Portland Trailblazers and is proving to be equally toxic to college football. For Longhorn fans this coaching search is already botched and has been embarrassing for the school. At some point someone will take the job. If that’s Charlie Strong I think he will find himself in for a wild ride unlike anything he has experienced here at UofL, but I certainly hope that Strong coaches the Cards in 2014 & beyond.
*UPDATE*: This Afternoon it was reported that Miami Head Coach Al Golden (Penn State alumnus) has interviewed for the job at Penn State and some outlets are reporting that he would most certainly accept the position. Golden earned $2.1M last year with the Hurricanes. Many have speculated that Strong could also be a candidate at UM, but TCZ (me) does not see that as a viable option.
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