Coaching Search 2011: Day 6, 9:09 p.m. - Can KU still snag Fedora? Plus more on Sumlin, Fedora's similarities to Bill Self and other interesting nuggets
9:09 p.m. Update:
Just got done with the men's basketball game and figured I'd update you with a quick recap of where we're at heading into Sunday.
• For starters, even though Houston lost to Southern Miss in Saturday's Conference-USA title game, there still seems to be a strong belief that Sumlin is Texas A&M bound.
• In addition, USM's huge victory and the impressive way in which it came, seemed to make Larry Fedora a much more popular man than he was when he woke up. This quick blurb from CBS Sports indicates that Fedora will interview at North Carolina. It also shows who else might be on the Tar Heels' wish list.
Having said all that, don't think for a second that Fedora to Kansas is out of the question. With Ole Miss out of the picture, it seems to come down to three or four schools in the mix for Fedora, unless someone else pops up late. Those schools are: UNC, KU, Arizona State and Illinois, with Texas A&M possibly still in the picture.
Sources indicated earlier this week that Fedora, who is from Texas and has strong ties throughout the Big 12, may favor the Kansas job over Illinois and Arizona State. UNC seems to be a new player here and probably got involved because of what Fedora's team did today. I don't know where he would rank the Carolina job.
Bottom line is this: If Fedora believes he can win at Kansas and if Kansas pays in the same neighborhood as all of those others, I think Kansas still has a great shot. His Texas ties will serve him better at KU than at any other school we've mentioned.
I felt pretty good about Fedora to KU as of Friday night. I've softened a little, but still think there's a great shot that he ends up in Lawrence. Let's see what A&M does and roll from there.
More to come. I'll keep an eye on things the rest of the night but unless something big happens, I'll be back at it in the morning. Tomorrow could be a big day for a lot of coaches and a lot of schools.
5:38 p.m. Update:
Just came across a link from 24/7's Ole Miss site that has the following headline: "Fedora Out at Ole Miss."
It's a pay site and I'm not a member, but that headline has to be promising for KU fans who want Fedora to be their next coach.
I'll make some calls and see what more I can find out.
2:41 p.m. Update:
Here's my quick take on this Southern Miss upset of Houston in the Conference USA championship game... I'm not saying it changes everything, but it could make things a little more difficult for KU to land Fedora - if he was, in fact, a target.
Heard Fedora gave a rousing pregame speech. I'm gonna keep an eye out for that to see if I can find it to post it here.
As for the ramifications, if Texas A&M wanted Sumlin, I think they still want him. Obviously, someone wanted him and he had something lined up enough for ASU to just completely drop out of the running for him. There's no way a school would do that if they thought they still had a shot at him. Furthermore, there's no way Sumlin's people would tell ASU he's not going there unless he absolutely, positively had something lined up somewhere else.
Why would he give up the leverage of their offer?
My guess is that A&M is still going to go after Sumlin, but if there's a school out there that could let the emotional swing of one football game completely throw them off course, it's probably A&M, which has shown just how crazy and unstable in can be in the way it handled the move to the SEC and the firing of Mike Sherman.
More to come on this in a while. And I'll be keeping my eyes and ears peeled for news from Sumlin or Fedora's camp now that their big game has ended.
12:21 p.m. Update:
Just doing a little more digging into Fedora and I found this link... Sound familiar?
Very similar to what Bill Self does here for the women who are fans of KU basketball — or just Bill Self the man, ha! — and there are many people close to the program who have long believed that the blueprint for what KU needs in its next football coach is a guy with Self's demeanor, charisma and personality.
That's probably why Harbaugh was such a solid candidate in 2009. Not saying Fedora's exactly the same kind of guy, but, clearly, there are some similarities.
11:56 a.m. Update:
Just a couple of quick notes about the past before moving on to the future again.
Just saw a statement from Arkansas that confirmed that UAB has hired Arkansas assistant Garrick McGee. Former KU coach Turner Gill was reported to be a finalist for that job.
Also, for those who care, here's a good look at how the Mike Leach hiring at Washington State went down.
10:16 a.m. Update:
Not a lot of new news to report as of this morning, but I can assure you that the search is going to be rolling along today and tomorrow.
Before I dive into a deeper look at the Kevin Sumlin situation, let me hit you with a couple of quick nuggets that I've learned in the past 12 hours.
• Hearing that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger has visited Laramie, Wyo., which makes it likely that he has at least talked to Wyoming coach Dave Christensen about the job. I don't think I'd put Christensen in the top tier just yet, but this means he's definitely on the list of Zenger's 6-to-10 candidates.
• Also hearing that Dave Doeren continues to be a long shot because of his limited experience. I do believe that Doeren has been contacted, but it sounds like the hire will go elsewhere before it gets to Doeren. Now... if things fall apart with a couple of names above his, Doeren could jump right back into play in a hurry. He's not dead in this. But I'm hearing he's not likely.
For those who missed it elsewhere on the site, here's our updated list with a new favorite (Fedora), three strong candidates, a bunch of forget-me-not guys and three deep reaches.
OK, moving on, let's look at the Kevin Sumlin situation a little more since that could have a major impact on what happens at KU.
As you probably know by now, Sumlin is out of the Arizona State race. ASU revealed yesterday evening that they were no longer pursuing Sumlin.
Logical thinking seems to indicate that that makes Sumlin to Texas A&M a shoe-in, but things aren't always logical in these coaching searches. I'm sure A&M will go after Sumlin like crazy, but I'm told he's not the two-handed, break-away slam dunk we all think.
Here's a interesting read about why it's too early to put Sumlin in A&M gear.
And here's this examination of why A&M wants Sumlin from Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News.
For those not following, or who have been out of the loop these last few days, the reason the Sumlin to A&M news is worth tracking is because if Sumlin elects NOT to go to A&M, that bumps Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora up a notch or two in the Aggies' search.
Carlton originally listed three candidates ahead of Fedora when the news of A&M's opening broke: Sumlin, Charlie Strong, of Louisville, and Kirby Smart, the Alabama DC.
Ironically, Sumlin and Fedora will face off against each other at 11 today in the Conference USA championship game. Houston is undefeated and ranked No. 6. Fedora's Golden Eagles are 10-2 and ranked 24th.
Here's a preview: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/preview?gameId=313370248
The good news about the game is it's early. The sooner Sumlin and Fedora can get their seasons behind them, the sooner A&M, Kansas and possibly others can move on in their pursuit of both men.
Like I said already, Saturday and Sunday are gonna be wild.