The Coaching Search: Days 4 & 5

There have been two days of articles and message board postings on the Internet about the coaching search Ron Guenther is undertaking to replace Ron Turner as Illinois' Head Football Coach. IlliniBoard.com scoured the web to find you the tiniest piece of information on the coaching change, then cleaned ourselves off and created this article about what we found in the <b><i>Fourth and Fifth Day of the Coaching Search</i></b>.

RUMORS
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Jeff Christensen may be a member of Tim Brewster's staff if he were to become Illinois' next head coach.
A report has been circulating around this area that former NFL quarterback Jeff Christensen, father of Lockport All-America quarterback Jake Christensen, would become the Illini's recruiting coordinator if Tim Brewster is hired to replace Ron Turner as coach at Illinois.

According to sources, Brewster, assistant head coach for the San Diego Chargers, and Jeff Christensen have talked about just such a scenario as a solution to the Illini's recruiting woes. Christensen also would work behind the scenes with Illinois' quarterbacks.

Christensen and Brewster, a former Illini tight end, were roommates in the 1985 season with the Philadelphia Eagles and have been close friends since. Christensen, who designed the Lockport offense that resulted in his son's passing for 2,924 yards and 36 touchdowns, is looking for a college coaching position.

Sources indicated that Jeff Christensen would not ask Iowa to release Jake from his oral commitment to the Hawkeyes so he could follow his father to Illinois if Brewster landed the job.

South Florida's Jim Leavitt has state he "love[s] outh Florida and I'm excited about going into the Big East and building an extremely powerful program" when the possibility of him taking over for Ron Turner at Illinois was mentioned.
USF AD Doug Woolard said Saturday he has not been contacted by Illinois for permission to speak with Leavitt.

According to OU Insider (a fellow site on Scout.com) Mike Leach and Frank Solich have already been targeted by Illinois.
And at Illinois OU Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long is rumored to be on a short list, although Long told us this week that he has not been contacted by anybody at the University of Illinois and that he is totally committed to the University of Oklahoma as the Offensive Coordinator.

Long did say that while he does have goals to be a head coach, he pointed out that his children love it in Norman and so does his wife Lisa. Coach Long says he loves working at OU, which has always been a dream of his and that OU is the perfect spot for a head coach. (When Long says he 'likes Norman' it's not just a passing remark. Chuck's parents are OU grads and grew up in Norman, and his grandfather even served a term as Mayor).

But it may not matter, as our sources say that key Illinois boosters already have Mike Leach and former Nebraska coach Frank Solich targeted as the favorites for the job. And right now the Illini program looks to be almost as strong as the Husker train wreck in Lincoln.

NEWS STORIES
From the Salt Lake Tribune ...
With a buyout, Davis would get most of the $10 million he is still owed by the Browns, plus he would be free to pursue the Florida job. Like Meyer, Davis' name has also been mentioned with coaching vacancies at Illinois and Washington.

From Bucknuts.com ...
Illinois pulled the trigger on Ron Turner after last week's season-ending loss to Northwestern. That was to be expected.

The initial word I heard was that Pittsburgh's Walt Harris, not exactly the favorite guy in the Iron City, would be next at Champaign. But some things have happened since then. Harris and the Panthers stunned West Virginia Thursday night and now, after Syracuse's upset of Boston College, Pitt may be headed to its first-ever BCS bowl. Harris may be "stuck" at Pittsburgh after all of this sudden success. The guy won a Big East title, after all.

Some names making the rounds are former Iowa quarterback and current Oklahoma assistant Chuck Long (an Illinois native) and former Illinois tight end Tim Brewster, now a San Diego Chargers assistant.


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