Kragthorpe tops Louisville's list

Tom Jurich promised Sunday night after Bobby Petrino left for Atlanta that he'd move quickly to find his replacement. Monday morning, the Louisville AD reaffirmed that desire. InsideTheVille.com has the latest.

Tom Jurich promised Sunday night after Bobby Petrino left for Atlanta that he'd move quickly to find his replacement. Monday morning, the Louisville AD reaffirmed that desire.

Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe is the clear frontrunner and CBSsportsline's Dennis Dodd reported Monday morning that he's expected to be named the Cardinals next coach.

That announcement, according to Jurich, "will come quickly." Jurich didn't talk specifically about candidates for the job, but confirmed that his list of potential candidates is "pretty short."

Coming off a 12-1 season that included the schools first-ever Big East championship and an Orange Bowl win over Wake Forest last week, Jurich knows exactly wants he wants in Louisville's next head coach to keep the program moving forward on the national level.

"This job has evolved into a special job," Jurich said. "I truly believe it's a destination job and I want someone who wants to be here for the long haul. I want someone that sees this place like I do. I want somebody with a proven track record who can take this program to the next level."

There's no question Kragthorpe has proven his mettle. He took over a Tulsa program four years ago that had won just four games in the two seasons prior to his arrival. Since taking over at Tulsa in 2003, Kragthorpe has taken the Golden Hurricanes to three bowl appearances in four seasons and led Tulsa to the 2005 Conference USA title and a win in Liberty Bowl.


Jurich said an announcement
could be made Monday night.

"Big names don't mean a lot to me," Jurich said. "I look at the individual and who is the best fit. I want to be comfortable with (new coach) and I want someone that I know how they will react under adversity."

Jurich is also looking to find someone who will keep Louisville's offense among the best in the nation. Tulsa scored 30 or more points in 30 of 51 games under Kragthorpe's direction.

"I want someone that understands offense," Jurich said. "I want someone that understands both the running game and the passing game. I also want someone that's a natural recruiter and a leader. I want consistency and stability and someone with a ton of credibility and integrity."

How quickly could Jurich name Louisville's next coach? One reporter asked if it were possible the media would return to the U of L campus Tuesday for an announcement.

"You could be back here tonight," Jurich said.

There are several reasons why Jurich wants to move quickly, primarily for recruiting purposes. The Cardinals are expected to host several talented prospects this weekend and having a new coach in place will be vital to the program's chances for recruiting success.

Jurich also has two other prime reasons to act quickly – quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush. Both players are evaluating their NFL stock and have until next Monday to decide whether to declare for the NFL Draft or return to Louisville next season. Jurich said he's has talked with both players since Petrino's departure Sunday night.

"They need a chance to meet and talk to the new coach before they make their decisions," Jurich said.

Jurich said he will meet with the team Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.


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