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Monday, December 5, 2011

Victory gives Larry Fedora boost

Southern Miss coach hot commodity after win over UH

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.

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It turns out Southern Miss’ victory against Houston in the Conference USA championship game Saturday might have been a major development in the coaching search at three universities, perhaps more.

At kickoff of Saturday’s game in Houston, it looked all but certain that Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin had emerged as the clear-cut favorite at Texas A&M, which fired coach Mike Sherman abruptly late last week.

Then the game began, and USM torched Sumlin’s previously unbeaten Houston team, 49-28, making Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora a much more popular man with athletic directors across the country.

Fedora, now in his fourth season in Hattiesburg, Miss., had emerged as one of the top candidates at Kansas. Deemed by many to be a serious candidate for the Jayhawks both in 2009 and this time around, Fedora’s Texas ties and Big 12 roots seemed to make him an solid candidate to replace Turner Gill at Kansas.

But now Fedora’s name is being floated for just about every BCS opening, including A&M’s, and KU’s chances at snagging him appear to be up in the air. Mississippi, another school interested in Fedora heading into Saturday’s game, had all but closed the book on hiring Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze by Sunday night.

Kansas officials have been quiet throughout the first seven days of the coaching search and figure to stay that way until it’s over.

Although Fedora remains in the mix for Kansas, his mass appeal elsewhere has to mean that other candidates are still alive for the KU job. Most popular among them are: Dave Christensen (Wyoming), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech), Mark Stoops (Florida State defensive coordinator) and Dirk Koetter (Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator).

Other names that have surfaced in connection with Kansas during the past couple of days include Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. SMU head coach June Jones, a man some have said would be a good pick for KU, appears to be the favorite at Arizona State.

Elsewhere on the coaching landscape, NFL guys Jim Mora Jr. and Herman Edwards recently have pushed their names for college jobs.

On a recent Seattle sports talk radio show, Mora said he’d be interested in openings at both Arizona State and UCLA. Mora has 24 years of NFL experience, including head-coaching stops in Atlanta (2004-06) and Seattle (2009).

Edwards, also a former NFL head coach (New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs), is rumored to be interested in a number of openings.

Recruiting rolls along

Although the identity of the next leader of the KU football program remains a mystery, interim head coach Reggie Mitchell is doing his best to keep the train on the tracks while the Jayhawks attempt to fill their coaching vacancy.

This weekend, KU welcomed to town five members of the Class of 2012 for official visits that were set up before Gill was fired. Included among the visitors were a couple of junior-college defensive linemen, along with two of the top prospects in Texas, Wilmer-Hutchins High (Dallas) teammates, Damien Lawry, a 6-foot, 175-pound athlete, and safety LaDarrell McNeil, 6-1, 190. Wide receivers coach David Beaty is the lead recruiter for both.

Mitchell, who served as KU’s recruiting coordinator the past two seasons, said many of the recruits he had contacted since Gill’s firing said they understood that college football was a business.

“When you go to a school, you try to pick it because that’s where you want to be, not because of who’s coaching there,” Mitchell said. “Right now, the big thing is to calm them down and say, ‘Listen, there’s gonna be a head coach hired (soon), give him an opportunity to come into your home and sell himself and sell his vision for Kansas.’”

While coming up with the pitch was easy, Mitchell said being convincing was a little more difficult.

“You’re selling them something they can’t see,” he said. “So you just have to talk to them and calm them down and let them know that we’re gonna find a guy who’s going to take the program in the direction we all want it to go to.”

Comments

jayhawkintexas 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe SZ should consider someone who has not even been mentioned yet. A guy with a solid football program, learned the game under a winning coach, and has ties to KU. That person is.........Sheahon Zenger. By naming himself head football coach he could save KUAC millions and be guaranteed that the head football coach and AD would get along. Hire some good assistant coaches and there you go. If I remember right, Vince Dooley was head football coach and AD at Georgia so it can be done. Probably couldn't do any worse than Turner Gill.

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Gregor Southard 2 years, 4 months ago

Herm Edwards in the mix possibly? I thought I couldn't get anymore depressed about KU football.

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arizonahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I've lived in Arizona for the last six years so I've seen Dirk Koetter and I really don't want him to represent KU. Koetter was the head coach at ASU before Ericson and while he had some success, he had issues with compliance and managing his star players.

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KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

If we hire Herm Edwards I'll shoot myself. Everything out of that guy's mouth sounds like a sermon. Not that he's overly religious, but it's those dramatic pauses, loud hand gesturing and unnecessary over-expressiveness. (insert Michael Irvin or Deon Sanders here) He could be making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and it would sound like he's trying to teach you about life.

"Okay now... what time is it?... That's right... It's time to but the peanut butter on the bread!!... Uh huh... Now you don't just throw it on there now do you?... Nosir... you gotta spreeeeaad it around like that... spreeeaaad it around you see?... spreeeaad it around like that... You just throw it on there and whatcha got!?...Lumpy bread... No sir, you gotta spreeeaad it on there... That's right... See now you have a sandwich!... Now you have a PB and J!!!... (sticking his chin out) and that's all that really matters!!...(hand slamming down on the table) That's All That Matters!!!"

Somehow just by talking like that, he knows more about life than you? I hate that!

Personally I think he uses this tactic to cover up his lack of football intelligence and I don't like the idea of having our coach in some kid's living room trying to fool his parents into thinking he has some divine aptitude for winning, or success in general. If anybody here thinks Gill was all talk, wait till you see Herm's personal football-drain-circling technique. He jazzes it up with dramatic speech, which many might prefer to Gill's monotonous mission statements, but the results would be the same. Probably worse.

By the way I think Herm would probably do well in those living rooms. I worked with a kid whose dad coached with Herm in New York. Special teams coach I think. He was the special teams coach in Indy when they won the SB. Anyway this kid's mom was... In... Love... with Herm, and not in a football way. So I could see him wooing some moms, but that was where it would stop, and those kids would probably be confused and tired of his coaching sermons by the end of spring workouts.

I'll take Turner's more simple "Believe" over Herm's false football/life acumen.

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Kansashawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Interesting thought RockChalk26, for that matter what about Mike Sherman. Either way, I know HN has expressed interest just as he did 2 1/2 years ago.

On another note, what's with all the haters on here? It's one thing to express a different opinion. It's another to be downright rude. Aren't we all wanting the same thing

Finally, I heard on one of the KC radio shows that Leavitt has been asked if he would be interested. The jist of the source said he is but doesn't want to do the whole dog and pony show. So, what was the story with him and USF; he got canned because he punched/hit a player at halftime or something like that. All I know is remember seeing an ESPN special on him and how he was busting hump getting USF going. Curious on any thoughts?

thx

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squawky 2 years, 4 months ago

anyway KU bring back Gill if no one wants the job?

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RockChalk26 2 years, 4 months ago

What's the deal with Huston Nutt? I thought his name would be tossed around more then it has. I would take a guy, like Nutt, who has coached in the SEC over a coach from the Mountain West or the Mid-American conference.

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 4 months ago

Lowery and McNeil would be game changers for KU. My wife is the Asst Principal at their school, they have soft verbals at the moment to Tenn. and Notre Dame respectfully

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boomer1110 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope the new HC keeps Reggie Mitchell on as RB coach and recruiting coordinator. It probable the new coach will want his own guy, but I sure hope he'll take the time to listen to Coach Mitchell.

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55jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

The way I see this going so far I think we may blow this coaching position and end up with a "wanna be". There are too many coaching positions opening up this year and our track record is not our friend other than we will pay pretty good money. If we don't like them, we will pay off their contract and tap the alumni again with the need for another 6-8 million dollars because we screwed up again. I think Doeren is a good pick that if successfull will stay at KU, Fedora will help the program but will move on to bigger times, & Stoops may or may not be ok but is not his brother.....look how hard his brother has had it at OK and considered to be a good recruiter, good coaching staff, & money to back the program. I'm glad I don't have to pick the coach this time because our A.D. has his hands full now and I wish him the best! I wish there was a way for the new coach to keep Mitchell and Reggie because they are good recruiters and would fit in very well with the new coach whoever it might be.

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shelleysue 2 years, 4 months ago

Please tell me why we should be happy with Doeren?? I don't think I could get on board with that.

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Joe Baker 2 years, 4 months ago

Why do I see SZ calling some of these coaches only to get the "run around" with leaving messages and failed return calls from prospective coaches? I just don't see coaches eager to jump their current positions to KU. I bet SZ is getting patronized big time by these coaches.

I think our options are now Doeren or Mark Stoops in no particular order.

It appears the options are dwindling fast. I just don't see too many jumping to a program with so much baggage. The leadership has really fumbled this whole situation.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Why is everyone so set on hiring a coach that is winning a Conferance USA championship? Big deal. Do you forget that Turner won the MAC? Big Deal.

Let's get someone with some real experience in here to get our program to where it needs to be to hire a real coach. Fulmer would be an excellent choice and his name is not even being mentioned.

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squawkhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Fedora won't come to KU. He'll use his new popularity to re-negotiate a bigger contract at USM which is where he'd rather be anyway.

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DocBean 2 years, 4 months ago

I've been hoping for Fedora or Leach. Leach isn't an option, and now I'm afraid Fedora might not be either.

Still keeping my fingers crossed.

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squawky 2 years, 4 months ago

rumor has it Fedora would rather stay at Southern Miss unless KU can put up some serious cash.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

I am still waiting for anyone...and I mean anyone ....to answer the one question I have been asking since the minute Gill was fired.

Why would any decent coach come to Kansas if they had other options? Why?

.......crickets......

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sheahoRn 2 years, 4 months ago

Well fell Kansas folks it appears I've been had. When I left town a few days ago I stated I would not return until I had hired the new football coach. Well apparently Ahperse saw this as his opportunity to get rid of me and has called every football coach in America. Seriously, I spent all day yesterday calling volunteer pop Warner coaches and Ahperse had already told them about me. Not to be out done I will be traveling to South America interviewing futbol (get it?) coaches so I can return to my post as athletic director of this university we love so much.

EMAW sheahoRn

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Mark Lindrud 2 years, 4 months ago

I have to say I was on the fence on how much I wanted Fedora, but after all the background information on him and watching the USM vs Houston game I am impressed. He has a solid program built, with a good offense and an aggressive defense. He is very popular right now but hope we can be aggressive in going after him. This will be a big week for us I just know it.

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shelleysue 2 years, 4 months ago

Well there are a few names On that list that I would be pretty disappointed with so I hope its one of the others. Looking forward to the announcement ands getting on with KU football. I would also like to see us take a big step and pay what it takes to get a great DC at KU.

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shelleysue 2 years, 4 months ago

Well there are a few names On that list that I would be pretty disappointed with so I hope its one of the others. Looking forward to the announcement ands getting on with KU football. I would also like to see us take a big step and pay what it takes to get a great DC at KU.

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 4 months ago

Fedora is really the focus now....has to be. his season is over (i mean, he does have the bowl game, but not a game this week) so he can be interviewed and asked about extensively.

if Fedora takes the aTm gig, (and that it would appear his only other option unless he really opens it up nationally) then I would still be very comfortable with a Dave Doeren, or a Mark Stoops. I really don't want a former Mizzou coach to be our head coach.

i think it will happen by Wednesday....Thursday at the latest. It would be nice to have someone talk to the crowd at the Ohio St. basketball game on Saturday. Go Jayhawks!

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 4 months ago

Fedora's our man. Come on SZ---meet him in a diner, find a booth and give him a contract he can't refuse. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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Brandon Pope 2 years, 4 months ago

Herm Edwards would always be good at the press conference, but 56-78-0 career record? When he inherited the Jets they were veteran and somewhat loaded so he had a couple winning seasons but then it was all down hill from there. Same at KC. Inherited the team, one mediocre year, and then all down hill to a 2-14 year in '08.

2-14 sounds way to familiar to me.

No college coaching experience and less than mediocre head coaching performance at the next level? No thanks.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 4 months ago

As Stupidmichael would put it best---- "I am getting really scared now!"

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johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 4 months ago

What about Bobby Boucher, bourbon bowl?

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manginorh00lz 2 years, 4 months ago

Coaches get way too much credit for wins and losses.

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gardenjay 2 years, 4 months ago

Let's see .... so now KU is paying off Perkins, Mangino, Gill and.....omg.....we don't have any money left.

OK, just remember my great idea of having the KU engineering department deal with making a programmable 'coach'. It could win some games and be a real crowd-pleaser, and a favorite for ESPN interviews.

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Dillon Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry but I will not be behind the hiring of a Wyoming or La Tech coach and neither will a lot of fans and alums. It needs to be right and it needs to make a bit of splash. Fedora, Malzahn, and Stoops would all do that.

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 4 months ago

“When you go to a school, you try to pick it because that’s where you want to be, not because of who’s coaching there,” Mitchell said.

False.

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Billy Derringer 2 years, 4 months ago

Hurry or not, just make the right choice, well any choice is going to be a upgrade so im at ease!!

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