KU AD Jeff Long follows interesting coaching names on Twitter
All athletic directors constantly update lists of names of coaching candidates in case they happen to be in the market for a new one. Obviously, KU athletic director Jeff Long isn't going to share his list, so I thought I would check out his Twitter account to see what college football coaches he follows.
It proved a worthwhile exercise. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but if you were a month or so away from hiring a new head football coach, wouldn't you be curious as to how candidates use social media?
It's an interesting list, including one terrific prospect I had not considered, another up-and-comer, and then others I already have examined here.
Head coaches Long follows: Wake Forest's Dave Clawson, North Carolina State's Dave Doeren, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin, Seth Littrell of North Texas. Doeren, of course, was the best recruiter at Kansas under Mark Mangino and is a proven head coach, having won at Northern Illinois and in his current job, where he is 5-1, even though the team lost seven players, including four defensive linemen, in the most recent NFL draft. Doeren is from Johnson County and in the past aggressively pursued the job. He has a $4.5 million buyout and there is no guarantee he would leave a place where he has it rolling.
UNT's Littrell worked as a graduate assistant under Mangino, but is believed to be more interested in making a jump to a school that has a better recruiting footprint and a more successful football history.
The potential candidate followed by Long on Twitter I had not thought of has a terrific history for upgrading football programs in distress: Jeff Tedford of Fresno State.
The Bulldogs went 1-11 the year before Tedford, 56, became head coach. He is midway through his second season and is 16-5 with a bowl victory. Incredible turnaround. Not impressed because Fresno State isn't a Power Five school? OK, let's look at how California did before, during and after Tedford.
Cal was 82-57 overall and 50-45 in conference play in 11 seasons under Tedford. In the 11 previous seasons, the Golden Bears went 52-73 overall and 29-59 in Pac-10 play. In the five-and-a-half seasons since Tedford was fired, Cal is 28-40 with a 13-36 conference mark. Clearly, Tedford knows how to kill losing cultures and kill them quickly.
Long also follows the Twitter accounts of two assistant coaches of note: Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, whose name often surfaces in discussions about a successor to Bill Snyder, provided Snyder ever leaves the post. Leavitt started the USF program from scratch and won big.
Also, Long follows Chip Long, 35. He is in his second season as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame after one year at Memphis. His name soon will become a hot one on lists of assistant coaches ready to take over programs. Chip Long was a graduate assistant at Arkansas for two years, the first two years of Jeff Long's 10-year run at Arkansas.