More Names Surface In AU Coaching Search

A pair of coaches who reached their league's championship game are considered candidates for Auburn's football coaching job.

Auburn, Ala.--The Buffalo News reported on Saturday evening that Auburn has requested permission to discuss its football head coaching vacancy with University of Buffalo head coach Turner Gill.

The former University of Nebraska star led the Bulls to an upset win over previously unbeaten Ball State in the MAC championship game on Friday night.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs and other officials will be in New York City for this week's National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame ceremonies so Gill won't have a long trip from Buffalo if the parties meet there where coaches from around the country gather annually for the foundation events. Even former AU coach Tommy Tuberville is attending the meetings.

On Sunday, the losing head coach in Mid-American Conference championship game, Brady Hoke, was also reported to be in line for an interview with the Tigers. ESPN reported that Hoke, head coach of the Cardinals since 2003, would get an interview with Auburn.

Brady Hoke

Ball State made its first ever appearance in the Top 25 this year and set a school record for victories in a season with 12. Hoke's record at Ball State is 34-38, but his record has improved for four consecutive seasons.

Buffalo's 42-24 victory in Detroit over Ball State was the first-ever for the Bulls over a team ranked in the Top 25. Buffalo improved to 8-5 with the victory. After the win, the Bulls accepted a bid to what will be the first bowl game in school history, the Jan. 3rd International Bowl in Toronto, Canada to play a yet to be named opponent.

Gill, who is also considered a candidate for the vacant head coaching job at Syracuse, was named the 2007 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after his team won five games, the most in its Division I history, after winning a total of just 10 games in the first seven years as a Division I-A program.

He took over a team that won just one game in 2005. His 2006 team posted a 2-10 record. The Bulls improved to 5-7 last year and 8-5 going into the bowl game.

His 2007 team shared the MAC East Division title with a 4-2 mark in the division and a 5-3 overall league mark. The Bulls had won just eight total MAC games in eight seasons prior to 2007.

Turner Gill

In his first season as a head coach at Buffalo, Gill brought his team to Jordan-Hare Stadium for a game won 38-7 by Auburn.

The 46-year-old coach has worked as an assistant on three national championship teams at Nebraska, where he coached from 1992-2004. He also worked with the NFL's Green Bay Packers before taking over at Buffalo in December of 2005.

Gill, who is originally from Fort Worth, Tex., was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1983, finishing fourth in the voting. He was named to the All-Decade Big Eight team (1980-89) as the quarterback and won the Johnny Unitas Award as college football's top QB.

He posted a 28-2 record as the starting QB for the Cornhuskers and was 20-0 in league play. He also played minor league pro baseball for three summers for the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.

After leaving Nebraska he played two seasons for the Montreal Concordes of the Canadian Football League, helping his team to the playoffs both years. Gill received his bachelor's degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 1990 and began coaching the next year working with receivers at SMU before returning to Nebraska where he was a three-time all-conference pick.

He coached QBs at Nebraska from 1992-2002. In the 2003 he was named assistant head coach and in 2004 coached receivers before going to the NFL.

With Gill as his coach, Eric Crouch won the 2001 Heisman Trophy and he also coached record-setting QBs Tommie Frazier and Jamaal Lord. Those three QBs finished their careers in the top three in Nebraska history for total offense.

(More to come.)

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