Stoops not the coach...yet!

Reports have surfaced that Mike Stoops is the new head football coach at the University of Arizona. Several media outlets, including KVOA in Tucson have said that the Oklahoma Co-Defensive Coordinator has accepted the position, but according to our sources, as well as the University, no offer has been made.

"I've had TV stations calling asking if the announcement [Thursday] can be pushed back to earlier in the afternoon," Jim Livengood told ESPN. "The job is open. Nobody has been hired. Nobody has been offered. Dec. 1 is still the target date."

That does not mean that Stoops isn't the leader. Stoops has been reported as the leader for over a week and that appears to be the case. However, at least three other candidates remain for the position.

Friends of Stoops have indicated that Stoops has made it clear that he would likely accept the position if offered. Stoops has spoken at length with University of Arizona officials, but our sources state that as of Wednesday afternoon no official offer has been made.

"No, Mike has not been officially offered the job,'' Bob Stoops told the Daily Oklahoman. "No, Mike has not agreed to the job at Arizona."

Stoops may indeed be the favorite, in fact most of the facts point to that. There is a very good chance that Stoops could be named as head coach as early as next week, but as of now the Wildcats are continuing the interview process.

At least three other coaches are under consideration and it appears as if all three will get interviews over the next few days. Norm Chow, Johnnie Lynn and Ricky Hunley will get interviews with Jim Livengood and members of the search committee. UA school President Peter Likens will be also be involved in at least a few of the interviews.

Sources close to Hunley have indicated that as of now the former Wildcat All-American will meet with UA officials in Phoenix on Sunday following the Cincinnati Bengals game in San Diego. The same sources say that Livengood and Likins will be among those involved. Officially the University is not confirming the interview. The New York Times has reported that Arizona officials will interview Lynn sometime before Sunday. Lynn, a former Wildcat assistant, is the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. According to the Times Lynn will interview sometime before Sunday, when the Giants leave for their Monday night showdown in Tampa Bay.

The Orange County Register is reporting that the Wildcats will interview Norm Chow on Sunday. Chow, the USC offensive coordinator is preparing for the Trojans' game against UCLA on Saturday. Following the game he is expected to fly to Tucson for an in-depth interview.

Sources indicate that Chow met with the UA officials in some manner last weekend while in Tucson for USC's game against the Wildcats. No one from Arizona has confirmed that meeting or this weekend's meeting, but USC head coach Pete Carroll confirmed Chow's interest.

"I think it's a particularly good opportunity," Carroll told the Register "Everything sets up exactly right. Norm knows that I'm OK with him doing what he has to do. We've talked about it already."

One advantage for Stoops is his availability. Stoops has been quoted as saying that if he gets a head coaching job he would skip the Sooners' post season bowl game, even if the Sooners are vying for the National Championship.

It is believed that Chow would coach through the Trojans' bowl game, while Lynn and Hunley would likely remain with their NFL teams. The Bengals are currently tied for first place in the AFC North.

It is not known if any other coaches are still in the running.

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