Coaching Search 2011: Day 5, 7:18 p.m. - Five favorites for the KU job? Plus, will Sumlin go to A&M or ASU? And a deeper look at Sonny Dykes
7:18 p.m. Update:
One more link: This SB Nation report says that Arizona State has ended talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
Again, this could make it more likely that Sumlin goes to Texas A&M, which hypothetically would give KU a better chance of landing Larry Fedora.
Interestingly, Fedora also makes the list of Arizona State's potential candidates in the link above.
5:37 p.m. Update:
Couple of quick things before nightfall (sorry East coasters)...
First, an email was sent out from KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger to all Williams Fund Members today. It was short, sweet and to the point. KU's still searching and KU has options.
Here's the email:
Dear Williams Fund Donor,
Just a quick note to tell you we appreciate your support as we navigate through the important issues at Kansas Athletics.
Dealing first with conference alignment and now a change in out football program, it is certainly never a slow time in athletics.
As a Jayhawk, I am incredibly excited about the opportunities before us. I look forward to introducing the Jayhawk nation to the new leader of our football program very soon. I ask for your continued support as we move through this process.
We are fortunate to have such a strong fan base that reminds us, “Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk.”
Director of Athletics
University of Kansas
One other note... As the weekend approaches and Zenger continues to try to trim his list and hone in on his finalists, we believe the top-tier guys are starting to take shape.
As of this minute on this day, here's a look at the likely Top 5:
1. Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach - may be the favorite
2. Mark Stoops - Florida State defensive coordinator - hanging around
3. Sonny Dykes - Louisiana Tech head coach - solid option
4. Dirk Koetter - Jacksonville OC (it's pronounced "Cutter" by the way) - rising fast
5. Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois head coach - not likely but not eliminated
I know that's not quite a percentage wheel, but it's close. And I think I may be feeling one coming on in the near future.
3:16 p.m. Update:
Boise State coach Chris Petersen, one of the big fish in the small pond of this year's coaching candidates, evidently will not be an option for UCLA.
Sources told ESPN.com that Petersen's name will not surface at UCLA, which is looking for a coach to replace Rick Neuheisel and restore some sort of luster to the Bruins program.
2:56 p.m. Update:
Not a whole lot of new information in this, but John Henderson of The Denver Post, compiled a short and sweet look at all of the jobs out there right now. It's worth a look for a little perspective.
Trying to find out more on Fedora, Doeren and the Sumlin situation at the moment.
1:51 p.m. Update:
My bad on the Sumlin-ASU link. That was from Thursday and was refuted. I thought it was new... The link's still below in case you want to check it out, but, evidently, nothing is new there as of yet.
1:34 p.m. Update:
The Arizona Republic reported Thursday that Kevin Sumlin has been offered the job at Arizona State. Sumlin later refuted the report so who knows exactly where it came from.
Here's the link. Certainly would create a shift in terms of Larry Fedora and would leave A&M on the board as a top-tier job.
1:07 p.m. Update:
First of all... WE'RE BACK up and running!!! Thanks for hanging in there. You guys are awesome! Time to make up for this morning's debacle. Got a lot planned for this afternoon, so check back often.
Here's the latest:
Seeing reports of Texas A&M making a serious play for Houston’s Kevin Sumlin... Makes perfect sense and may be a perfect fit.
I’d love to get in to Sumlin’s people and find out if the prospect of going from Conference USA to the SE-freaking-C would turn him off. If that’s the case, he, like Leach, could probably draw a similar payday (if not more) out west from UCLA or Arizona State.
I’m sure KU would even pay well for Sumlin, but it seems that he has no interest in Kansas. Surprises me a little since his recruiting ties and familiarity are basically in the heart of Big 12 country anyway. But to each his own.
The Sumlin news still has a potential impact on KU in terms of how it affects Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. Fedora’s not talking until after the Eagles take on Sumlin’s Cougars in this weekend’s Conference USA championship game. If then.
In other news... Starting to hear about Sonny Dykes working on a contract extension with the folks at Louisiana Tech. Can't find anything concrete on this, but I'll keep looking.
I still don't think Dykes was a top-tier guy for the KU job, but it's interesting nonetheless.
More to come. Stay tuned...
11:33 a.m. Update:
Well, we've had some pretty major site issues today that's kept our traffic and discussion from being what it normally would.
All apologies for that. The issues is with Knology, our Internet service provider, and we've been told they're doing everything they can to fix the problem and get us back up and running.
Drag, I know. But look at it this way, at least this didn't happen on the day the new coach was hired... [me knocking on wood]...
I'll keep the updates limited until I know we're up and running again, but a couple of things to remember for those who can access the site right now.
• Just because a guy says he's interested doesn't mean KU's going to jump all over him. As I mentioned in a Tweet I sent while the site was down, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger hit the road with a list and I'm guessing he's not going to deviate much from that list. Now, if Pete Carroll called and said he'd like to be considered for the job, I'm guessing Zenger would add him to the list. But not every Tom, Dick and Harry out there is going to get that kind of treatment, regardless of past experience. Zenger came up with the list he has with good reason and he's the kind of guy who's going to stick to his game plan.
• Another thing about coaches names coming up out of left field... A lot of times people will push a coach's name just so it's out there. Maybe a coach wants a job somewhere else but hasn't had contact with that school yet. So he says he's interested at another school to get his name on the radar and have people start talking about him and then that spreads like wildfire. It happens all the time in these deals and probably has already happened here with the KU job opening. No harm, no foul. Just the way it goes.
• One more thing that I'm starting to gather from talking to people in all corners of this thing, there seems to be serious sentiment that the program is in the best hands and in the best shape when Kansas guys are involved at least a little bit... Makes sense, really: The more people from around here that are on the staff, the deeper they're going to care about what happens to the program. I'm not saying that will be a deciding factor here by any means, but in addition to looking at the head coaching candidates with ties to KU and Zenger, it's important to think about the head coaching candidates who can bring in the most guys with ties to KU for their staff.
More to come. And once the site's back up for everyone, we'll try to make up for lost time.
8:57 a.m. Update:
It’s Day 5 and the list of candidates for Kansas University’s vacant head football coaching job seems to be getting clearer by the day.
One problem.... It also seems to be getting longer.
After riding the wave of the ups and downs that come with any coaching search for the first few days of the week, some real pitches for the job have started to surface.
Before we dive too deeply into the candidates, new and old, who have thrown their name into the hat, let’s take a moment to simply list the guys that seem to be in the running.
We’ll go with no particular order here — because, quite frankly, it’s still a little too difficult to tell who the favorites are — but assume that the guys near the top of the list have a better shot than the guys near the bottom.... for now. I’ll put breaks between what I perceive to be the different tiers.
Here goes nothing:
1. Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach one of the hotter names available
2. Mark Stoops - Florida State DC staying quiet and hanging around
3. Skip Holtz - South Florida head coach eyeing Big East to Big 12 move?
4. Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois head coach and former KU assistant
5. Sonny Dykes - La. Tech head coach known as offensive guru and solid recruiter
6. Brent Venables - OU DC is interested in KU job and primed for chance to run own program
7. June Jones - Offensive-minded veteran with past success at Hawaii and now SMU
8. Dave Christensen - Wyoming head coach and former Mizzou offensive coordinator
9. Dirk Koetter - Jacksonville asst. w/ 9 years of college experience at Arizona State & Boise State
10. Troy Calhoun - Air Force coach may be intrigued by challenge of Big 12
11. Houston Nutt - Can you hire a guy who just got fired even if it was from Ole Miss?
12. Phillip Fulmer - Former Tennessee coach ready to get back into coaching?
13. Gary Barnett - Former Colorado and Northwestern coach expressed interest in KU
14. Glen Mason - Former KU coach interested in getting back into coaching and KU
OK, I’m sure there are a few more names that could be on that list, but that’s the best of the best as far as I can tell. I also think it’s important to point out that probably only about half of those names are actually potential candidates. Remember, Zenger said earlier this week that he had a list of 6-to-10 candidates. You gotta figure Mike Leach was one of them, so that’s now more like 5-to-9.
Anyway, since none of us know who those 5-to-9 are, we might as well throw out all the guys that could be on there and see where that takes us.
OK, with the list out of the way, let’s ltake a closer look at a man who could be shooting his way up KU’s list. Sources have said there is real interest between KU and Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, the son of former Texas Tech coaching great Spike Dykes.
La. Tech working on contract extension for Dykes: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20111202/SPORTS0203/112020329/La-Tech-working-extension-Dykes?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs
In case you missed this from Tom Keegan, here’s a look Dykes' roots:
Video from Dykes’ days as a coordinator at Arizona under Mike Stoops: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPOfsFppstg
Dykes after this year’s spring game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7H-Xtyy3no
ESPN radio interview with Dykes after 2011 spring game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_GBB9GtzhY
And this from Dykes’ bio at La. Tech:
Sonny Dykes was introduced as the 32nd head coach in Louisiana Tech history on Jan. 20, 2010 in front of an overflowing Jarrell Room filled with Bulldog fans at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center.
In his first season Dykes put his high octane offense into effect, resulting in him being one of only four of the nation's 22 new head coaches to improve a team's conference record from the year before. Dykes' exciting brand of offense improved in several areas of the NCAA statistical ranks including passing offense (91st in 2009 to 62nd in 2010) and total offense (66th to 52nd) while the team's average offensive national rank improved from 65th in 2009 to 54th in 2010.
Dykes, son of Texas Tech coaching legend Spike Dykes, has coached in the PAC-10, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 during his 16 years in the college football profession while also serving under some very successful head coaches including Mike Leach and Mike Stoops.
He won the 2006 Mike Campbell Top Assistant Award, presented by the All-American Football Foundation, and was a nominee for the 2009 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
Dykes comes to Louisiana Tech after completing his third season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona, leading the Wildcats to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. That Holiday Bowl appearance marked Dykes' 10th bowl appearance as a coach with all 10 appearances coming within the last 11 years.
A spread-offense specialist, Dykes' offensive attack set at least five single-season records at Arizona while also racking up a pile of single-game marks in the UA record book. Former Wildcat quarterback Willie Tuitama, a disciple of Dykes, notched career numbers that are among Arizona's best.
Rivals.com cited Dykes as one of the countries brightest offensive minds and top ten college recruiters in the country.
Dykes' Arizona team went 6-3 in the Pac-10 Conference during the 2009 campaign, finished tied for second in the league with Oregon State and Stanford.
Fond of the passing attack, Dykes Arizona offense in 2008 ranked 16th in scoring and 33rd in total offense while developing and outstanding run-pass balance.
Dykes orchestrated an Arizona offense that was ranked 10th nationally in passing yards per game in 2007 as he coached then-junior Tuitama to honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors that year. That same season, he helped develop the offensive scheme that pushed receiver Mike Thomas to first-team all-league status as a junior and senior ('08).
Prior to his tenure at Arizona, Dykes was co-offensive coordinator working with then-head coach Mike Leach and inside receivers coach Dana Holgorsen running Texas Tech's wide-open passing attach in 2005-06 after having been Texas Tech's wide receivers coach since 2000. The Red Raiders were among the national top six in total offense and passing during the span.
Texas Tech was No. 3 in passing and No. 6 in total offense in 2006 under his co-direction, throwing for 370 yards and accumulating nearly 450 overall. He directed an offense that scored 32 points per game in 2006 with two receivers ranked top three in the nation and a third in the top 20 in receptions per game.
While in Lubbock, Dykes helped develop Joel Filani into a two-time first team All-Big 12 honoree and a sixth-round NFL draft selection by the Tennessee Titans in 2007. Receiver Jarrett Hicks also signed a free-agent deal with the San Diego Chargers that year.
Dykes also worked with quarterback Graham Harrell who completed 412 passes for 4,555 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2006, ranking Texas Tech third nationally in total offense that season.
Prior to his five seasons at Texas Tech, Dykes spent two non-consecutive seasons at Kentucky, first coaching tight ends as a graduate assistant in 1997 and then coaching special teams and wide receivers in 1999 under the "Air Raid" attack of former UK coach Hal Mumme. Dykes coached Kentucky's James Whalen to AP All-America honors after his Division I-A record for receptions by a tight end.