Coaching Search: Latest Developments

InsideTheVille.com updates the latest developments in Louisville's search for a new football coach, including the latest on Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, and former Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer.

Kevin Sumlin, who has led Houston to a 10-2 record and Top 20 national ranking this season, is a hot commodity. He's believed to be one of the Louisville's top candidates, but Houston AD Mack Rhoades is going to do everything possible to keep him with the Cougars.

Rhodes told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday that he plans to meet with Sumlin after Saturday's C-USA championship game against East Carolina to discuss a long-term extension to Sumlin's current contract. Sumlin made $700,000 this season and signed a five-year deal with Houston last year. Sumlin could also be a candidate at Kansas if Mark Mangino is fired.

"Kevin and I have had several positive, detailed preliminary discussions regarding his future here at the University of Houston," Rhoades told the Houston Chronicle. "Currently, we're focused on finishing the season strong. We'll resume discussions immediately following the championship game."

"It's just a mutual agreement that we'll have more serious discussions next week after the game," Sumlin said. "But we've certainly had good discussions about the direction, the future, where we're headed. I feel good about it. (But) right now is not really the time to talk about it."

Butch Jones has been mentioned as candidate at Louisville, Virginia and Marshall after leading Central Michigan to a 10-2 record this season. Jones' team will play Ohio Friday for the Mid-American Conference championship and Jones was asked about his name being mentioned for several jobs, including the Louisville job, on Tuesday.

"It is absolutely no distraction at all," Jones said of the coaching rumors. "I think it is a compliment to our football program, to our players, and to our coaches. It's been absolutely no distraction. I don't read the internet. I don't read the papers so (the reporters) probably know more than I do, and no, I have not spoken to any other schools. My focus has been Central Michigan University, these players, and our football program."

Translation: Jones certainly isn't denying that he's looking to capitalize on a fantastic season at Central Michigan and move up in the coaching ranks.


UofL fans will pay close attention to Charlie Strong this Saturday when Florida plays Alabama in the SEC championship.
There was early speculation, including a report by ESPN's Joe Schad, that Louisville was interested in TCU's Gary Patterson. But it appears Patterson is off the board as a possibility for the Cardinals, or any other school, after he and TCU agreed to a long-term contract extension this week. TCU will announce the new deal with Patterson during a press conference Wednesday.

Former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer has been angling for the Louisville job all season and SportsIllustrated.com's Stewart Mandel wrote Monday that Fulmer would jump at an offer from Louisville. But is Fulmer one of Louisville's top targets? Footballcoachscoop.com reported that Louisville has narrowed the list of finalists to Fulmer, Charlie Strong and Butch Jones and that Fulmer has already met with Louisville to discuss the position. Take that for what it's worth.

Charlie Strong continues to appear the frontrunner at Louisville. Florida coach Urban Meyer publicly endorsed Strong for the job earlier this week and multiple sources, including former Louisville quarterback Chris Redman, indicate that Strong is in line to coach the Cardinals. (Redman later told the Louisville Courier-Journal he was 'joking' when he said Strong would be Louisville's next coach). Florida will play Alabama on Saturday for the SEC Championship. Tom Jurich said he wouldn't interrupt any schools regular-season, meaning nothing formal with Strong would be expected until after Saturday's game.


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