Sarkisian rumored to be new Husky head coach

Did Washington come to a decision on their new head coach? According to ESPN current USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will be named the Husky head coach very soon...

Steve Sarkisian
Current Position:
Offensive coordinator at USC
Age:
34
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Is in his fourth stop at USC as an assistant coach or athlete, returned to the Trojan staff in February of 2005 as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach. He added the offensive coordinator role in 2007. Combined, he is in his seventh year at USC; Sarkisian spent the 2004 season as the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders. His quarterbacks passed for more than 4,000 yards in 2004 as Oakland ranked eighth in passing in the NFL; Sarkisian starred at the quarterback position at the prep, collegiate and pro levels. He was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League for 3 seasons (1997-99). He started in 1999 and threw 16 touchdowns.
Positives:
Solid recruiter and coordinator in the Pac 10; young and hungry; hard-worker; A true Quarterbacks coach, who played the position at three different levels.
Negatives:
Has never been a head coach at any level; very young for such a high-profile position.

Updated (12/4): Thursday evening ESPN reported that USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is set to be announced as the new head coach at the University of Washington.

Dawgman.com was able to track down Washington AD Scott Woodward at Washington's game against Oklahoma State at Bank of America Arena and the first-year AD wouldn't comment on the report.


Updated (12/4): Dawgman.com learned Wednesday night that Steve Sarkisian did meet with UW officials on Thanksgiving Day and was back at USC the following day. When asked about the open Washington position, neither Sarkisian nor USC Head Coach Pete Carroll would comment.

Mike Leach
Current Position:
Head coach at Texas Tech
Age:
47
Overall record:
74-37 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.75 million
Buyout:
$500,000
Notable:
Widely considered one of the top offensive minds in the country; has developed several top quarterbacks including former Kentucky QB Tim Couch as the offensive coordinator with the Wildcats; Leach's offenses consistently rank in the top 10 in yardage and points scored every season.
Positives:
Considering he's had to recruit against Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, Leach has held his own on the recruiting front; Is an offensive genius; Has developed quite a few prolific passers as well as the number one overall draft choice in the NFL (Couch) in 1999; In all eight years as Tech's head coach, Leach has led the Red Raiders to a bowl game.
Negatives:
Can be "testy" with the media; while successful offensively, has struggled to win big games against teams with top talent; 3-13 combined vs. Oklahoma and Texas; Not a dynamic personality to rejuvenate the fanbase; Defenses are regularly suspect.

Updated (12/4): At the end of the day Wednesday, Mike Leach appeared to be on the radar of two other universities while Texas Tech officials were preparing their pitch to keep their football coach. This news came from the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal.

Tech Chancellor Kent Hance on Wednesday said the university will do what it can to retain Leach, but remained consistent with earlier statements from athletic director Gerald Myers about having to watch spending.

"My comment is, we want to keep Mike,'' Hance said. "We like him. We're a good fit for him, and he's a good fit for us. We're going to do what we can to keep him. Anytime somebody wants you, you've got to listen to them, I think. I don't blame him for listening, but I don't want him going.''

Auburn joined the University of Washington as a possible suitor for Leach. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville stepped down on Wednesday, and the Birmingham News called Leach "a strong candidate" to replace Tuberville. The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported unofficial Auburn representatives had contacted those close to Leach to gauge his interest before the announcement of Tuberville's departure.

A source told The Avalanche-Journal that Leach was in Seattle late Monday and into Tuesday to visit with Washington officials about their soon-vacant head-coaching job. Multiple Seattle sources are claiming that Leach will be back in Seattle very soon for a second interview, thus adding credence to the idea that he has become the Huskies' main coaching target.

After this season, Leach has two years left on a contract that pays $10 million over five years. Hance said he wanted to take up discussions by Wednesday or today.


Updated (12/3): According to ESPN blogger Tim Griffin Wednesday, Texas Tech AD Gerald Myers will try everything he can to keep Mike Leach at Texas Tech. Griffin said that Tech's hands may be tied somewhat, due to the fact that they have some retired coaches still on the TT payroll, and ESPN's Joe Schad added that Tech and Leach have not spoken in some time about his contract or about negotiating an extension.


Updated (12/2): Texas Tech coach Mike Leach , wearing a baseball hat, T-shirt, and tennis shoes, flew to Seattle yesterday afternoon from Las Vegas on Alaska Flight 601, according to a fellow passenger. This is coming from Bob Condotta's UW Football Blog in the Seattle Times.

"I'm positive it was him,'' said Dave Christophersen, who said he immediately recognized Leach and had it reinforced when Leach's wife, Sharon, was called to the counter to upgrade to first class. Flight 601 is scheduled to leave each day at 11:20 a.m. and arrive in Seattle at 2:03 p.m.

So the obvious assumption is that Leach flew to Seattle to interview for the UW head coaching job.

That couldn't be immediately confirmed.


Updated (11/30): Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reported in his blog Saturday night that Mike Leach's name continues to pop up and that UW recently tried to contact Leach about the head coaching job at Washington. It's widely known that Leach is not interested in talking about moving onto another job from Texas Tech until after their season is over. That happened Saturday when they came from behind to beat Baylor.


Updated (11/11): ESPN's Joe Schad updated the Tennessee coaching search today and said he's hearing that the Volunteers are serious about their interest in Texas Tech's Mike Leach.

Leach continues to deny any interest in leaving Lubbock for a different head coaching position, but rumors continue to swirl that he is on the top of several head coaching wish lists.


Updated (11/10): The AP's Betsy Laney reports that Leach isn't interested in talking about other jobs...

Mike Leach's success this year at unbeaten No. 2 Texas Tech will probably bring offers from bigtime programs on the lookout for new coaches.

Leach said Monday he isn't paying "any attention" to his name being tossed around midseason for jobs like Washington or Tennessee.

"Playing OU is enough of a handful without worrying about any of that," the coach said about the Red Raiders' showdown with No. 5 Oklahoma for the Big 12 South title Nov. 22.

Texas Tech, which hasn't beaten Texas and Oklahoma in the same season under Leach, remained at No. 2 in the rankings for a second week and the Red Raiders are one of five unbeaten teams in the country.

The ranking is the highest ever for the program. The Red Raiders winning streak is 12 straight, best in the nation and in school history. Texas Tech is 10-0 for the first time since 1938.

Leach has two years remaining on a five-year contract and is making $1.75 million this season.

His boss, athletic director Gerald Myers, declined to comment Monday about Leach's contract other than to say discussions about an extension will wait until after the season.

If Texas Tech plays its way into the national championship game those discussions would be in January

Most coaches don't go below four or five years remaining on their contracts before they get an extension.

Next season Leach will receive $1.85 million with a $800,000 bonus if he finishes the 2009 season; the contract's final year ups his pay to $2.15 million with a $200,000 bonus if he completes the 2010 season.

If he stays at Texas Tech, that is.

Leach's name has surfaced for openings in recent years at places like Arkansas and UCLA but he stayed put. Now, officials at Tennessee and Washington could come calling Leach's name.

Phillip Fulmer is being forced out after 17 years as Tennessee's coach, a run that included a national championship and a 150-51 record with the Vols. Tyrone Willingham, who was fired late last month after the Huskies lost their ninth consecutive game, was ousted because he failed to restore Washington to national prominence.

Leach's pass-happy offense has proved effective in the years since he came to Tech in 2000. The coach with a law degree and a penchant for all things pirate related has taken the Red Raiders to bowl games every year.

Now, with back-to-back wins — 39-33 over then-No. 1 Texas and 56-20 over then-eighth Oklahoma State, the fervor for Leach and the Red Raiders seems at an all-time high.

His quirky ways — and now his unbeaten season — have endeared him and his team to a loyal following in West Texas.

But Leach's wall-in approach to player availability to media is about as restrictive as any in the country and might not fly at bigger programs. Even standout players can be insulated from reporters for weeks at a time.

Leach claims the policy minimizes distractions and players stay better focused. He picks players he thinks can handle the media exposure.

"We're tighter than some places and we're more generous than some places," Leach said last week. "Then we have to make decisions and so that's what we do. We're diligent about calling media back the best we can and other places don't do that."

How, though, would his media policy play in, say, Knoxville, a bigtime Southeastern Conference program where Tennessee fans are accustomed to hearing from players regularly?

"That'd be very interesting," said quarterback Graham Harrell, a contender for the Heisman Trophy along with favorite receiver Michael Crabtree. "He'd keep his players limited in their availability. I think he feels that winning football games is going to make you a lot more popular than having his players" available for interviews. "I feel that's his philosophy ... and that's what he's going to stick with."


Updated (11/5): In the wake of reaching the highest ranking in school history, Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said Tuesday he plans to renegotiate coach Mike Leach's current contract at the end of the season. This news comes from Tim Griffin of ESPN.com.

The No. 2 Red Raiders' 11-game winning streak is the longest among all FBS schools. After beating No. 1 Texas last week, Tech is in first place in the Big 12's South Division and is in position to contend for the national championship and the first Big 12 title in school history.

Those factors are leading Myers to consider renegotiating Leach's contract after the Red Raiders' regular season ends -- but not before it.

"We're going to get that contract extended after the season," Myers said. "This isn't the time to do it. It would be a distraction if we did it now."

Leach's agent, Gary O'Hagan of IMG, declined comment on the contract offer when contacted at his offices in Minnetonka, Minn. He said he had not been contacted by Myers about the offer.

Leach is in the third year of a current five-year deal with Texas Tech and can buy his way out of his contract for $500,000, Bloomberg reported. His name has popped up on the list of potential replacements for vacancies at both Washington and Tennessee.


Updated (11/3): During Texas Tech's historic win over Texas on Saturday night, Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit both discussed the possibilities of Leach moving to a school like Washington and said that Leach's name had already been mentioned as a possibility for the Huskies' soon-to-be vacant head coach position.

It appears that Washington isn't the only school interested in Leach's services either, as schools like Tennessee and Clemson have both been rumored to be interested as well.

On thing is for sure, Leach is going to be a hot commodity in the coming weeks as his Red Raiders have achieved their highest ranking ever (2nd in the AP and BCS rankings polls, 3rd in the USA Today/Coaches poll).

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Pat Hill
Current Position:
Head coach at Fresno State
Age:
57
Overall record:
90-58 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.25 million
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has been the head coach at Fresno State since 1997; In 11 years he has had only two losing seasons (1998 and 2006); Has pro (Cleveland, Baltimore, Calgary) experience; Has increased the GPA of the Bulldogs football program from 2.21 when he arrived in 1997 to 2.87 in 2007; Since he took over, Fresno State has had 99 Academic All-WAC selections, the most in the conference during that time.
Positives:
"Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime" is the mantra of the Bulldogs and has brought national respect to the program; Tough, hard-nosed play by his players; Has won at every level he has coached; Has developed many NFL players; Has recruited on the west coast; Has been to eight bowl games in 11 seasons as head coach; Hungry for success and wants a BCS job.
Negatives:
Age – At 57, Hill is the oldest of the realistic choices Washington has a shot with; Hasn't recruited against the "Big Boys" (Pac 10) very often; Only won one conference title in 11 seasons.

Updated (12/4): Pat Hill on Wednesday evening told his prized recruit that he is staying at Fresno State. This news was reported Wednesday night by Daniel Lyght of the Frenso (Calif.) Bee

Roger Carr, the father of Fresno State quarterback recruit Derek Carr and former Fresno State star David Carr, said Hill visited Derek after practice Wednesday and told the Bakersfield Christian senior that he still will be the Fresno State coach next season.

"That made Derek's day," Roger Carr said.

Hill interviewed for the University of Washington head coaching position Saturday, a day after saying he was not interested in the job.

Roger Carr said Hill didn't say whether he had pulled his name from consideration at Washington, or if he had been turned down for the job.

"I don't really know how," Roger Carr said. "He just said he was here. He said, 'I'm here.' He said he's staying in Fresno."

Hill did not reply to requests seeking comment.


Updated (12/3): According to sources close to the Fresno State program, UW officials have told Pat Hill that they will let him know by the end of the day Wednesday whether he'll be offered the head football coaching position at Washington.

Early indications from sources around the search in Seattle is that Hill will not be offered the job.


Updated (11/30): Hill was thought to be an early candidate for the UW coaching position, but talk died away when other coaches came to the fore. Now talks have heated up again.

The Fresno Bee reported Saturday morning that Hill was seen at the Fresno Airport, leaving for a flight to Seattle. Dawgman.com was able to confirm that Hill was in town to interview for the UW job and he characterized the interview as one that 'went well'. From the same source we were able to gather that Hill left Seattle later Saturday without a job offer in hand.


Updated (11/13): Here's a question for Fresno State football fans calling for Coach Pat Hill's head: Who'll write the $1.7 million check to buy out the last two seasons of his contract? This question is being asked by Bill McEwen of the Fresno Bee.

The school can't afford to do it. I don't know any boosters willing to do it. And I'm pretty sure that Rep. George Radanovich won't lobby to make a Hill buyout part of the the nation's $700 billion economic rescue program.

Even if the school could afford to fire Hill, it shouldn't -- because he's a good coach.


Updated (11/6): It's been pretty well known that Pat Hill has coveted the Washington coaching job for quite some time. The hard-nosed head coach actually campaigned to get an interview the last time the Husky job was open, a mere four years ago, but didn't get one and he had expressed interest again through back channels.

The problem is, it appears that Washington athletic director Scott Woodward isn't as interested in Hill as Hill is in the Huskies and he may not be in the running as a candidate to fill the soon-to-be vacant spot that Tyrone Willingham currently occupies.

Hill's contract is very manageable and could easily be topped by a school with the reasources at Washington's disposal, but it appears he has not made what is turning into the final list of candidates that Woodward and Washington President Mark Emmert are compiling.


Updated (10/30): Fresno State football coach Pat Hill said the job opening at Washington is not on his mind and that he's focused on getting his team ready for Louisiana Tech. This comes via Daniel Lyght of the Fresno Bee on his Sports Buzz blog.

"During the football season my only focus is football," Hill said.

Asked if he would think about leaving Fresno after the season, Hill said: "No. I love Fresno. I've always loved Fresno."

Washington coach Tyrone Willingham (0-7 this season) was forced to resign Monday, effective at the end of the season.

Vague speculation has appeared on the Internet in both Washington and Fresno about Hill's possible candidacy as the Huskie head coach.

"I wouldn't put very much credibility in fan boards," Hill said.

Hill also said that former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin (a former Fresno State graduate assistant) would be a good choice for a head coaching job, but said he wasn't certain for which job he'd be a good fit.

"He'd be a good coach. Lane will get a job," he said.


Updated (10/28): When the Washington job was open back in 2004, Hill expressed a lot of interest but wasn't taken seriously before Tyrone Willingham was hired.

Now with the job open again and his friend Nick Saban among others close to Scott Woodward and Mark Emmert pushing Hill's name, he has to be considered squarely near the top of the list of candidates.

Hill hasn't made a formal statement on whether or not he would like to be considered, but rumors have been flying that back-channel contact has been made since it became apparent that Willingham was on the way out.

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Brent Venables
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at Oklahoma
Age:
37 (will turn 38 on December 18th)
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
$260,000
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has been the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma since he was brought in by Bob Stoops in 1999; Helped lead the Sooners to a national championship in 2000; Has been affiliated with some of the best defenses in the country at both Oklahoma and Kansas State during his time as an assistant.
Positives:
Is known as one of the top recruiters on the Oklahoma staff; Excellent talent evaluator; Runs an aggressive scheme that his players love to play in; Rumors are that he has expressed interest in the Husky job.
Negatives:
Very young and still relatively inexperienced; Has never been a head coach; his pool of assistants isn't as big as you'd like it to be; has never recruited the west coast, so it would take him some time to form connections with local and California high school head coaches.

(Updated 12/4): Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times is claiming at least one source has said the Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables has interviewed for the open UW job, another has told the Times it's 'likely' he has interviewed.


(Updated 11/12): Several reports have confirmed that Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables interviewed with Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips in Oklahoma City within the past 48 hours.

Venables is widely considered one of the top coordinators in the country and he could be a candidate to take over at Kansas State, his alma mater, or one of the other major head coaching positions available including Washington -- a job he has expressed interest in very recently.

Venables is believed to be on the short list of coaches for the Clemson job, but he is not believed to be their top choice. That designation belongs to current Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.


(Updated 11/5): Expect Brent Venables' name to come up in the discussions as a possible replacement to departing KSU head coach Ron Prince.

Venables played for and coached under former Wildcate head coach Bill Snyder and he would come a lot cheaper than Gary Patterson is expected to command on the open market.

Venables is widely considered a top-notch recruiter and he's got plenty of connections with the Texas high school talent that would allow him to bring in some talented players to fill in the gaps of KSU's roster.

Another thing to consider is that Venables has expressed interest in the Washington job as well, but with his ties to Kansas State and the midwest, it's likely he'd head to Manhattan to be the head coach before he'd head to the Great Northwest.

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Jim Mora
Current Position:
Secondary/Assistant head coach with Seattle Seahawks
Age:
46 (will turn 47 on November 19th)
Overall record:
26-22
Salary:
4 years, $17.5 million starting in 2009
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Played at Washington from 1980-1983; Led Atlanta to the NFL Championship Game in 2004; has been a successful assistant and head coach at the NFL level.
Positives:
Players love playing for Mora; He knows about Washington's tradition and loves the area; Washington is his "dream job"; Energetic and used as Seattle's "recruiter" when free agents have been brought in; Has been a successful position coach, coordinator and head coach at the NFL level; Rumored small buyout to get out of Seahawks contract; Native of the Puget Sound area; Large base of assistants to pull from when building his staff.
Negatives:
Lost job with Atlanta because of his interview on KJR; records at Atlanta went down – 11-5, 8-8, 7-9 – every year he was there; no collegiate head coaching experience; his Seahawks salary may be tough to turn down; His teams were inconsistent on offense.

Updated (12/3): Per Dave 'Softy' Mahler of KJR-950 in Seattle, citing Hugh Millen as his source, has reported that Jim Mora will not be the head coach at Washington. Further information revealed after this news indicates that Mora was not able to get out of his existing agreement with the Seattle Seahawks, thus shutting down any attempts to leave the 'Hawks and pursue an opportunity with his alma mater.


Updated (11/24): For a while last week, according to several sources, it appeared that the University of Washington and current Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora were close to an agreement on him taking over the reigns of the Husky football program.

However, over the weekend it appears some things fell apart and now there is heavy doubt on Mora's Washington head coaching wishes coming to fruition.

Several sources have said an announcement by the Huskies could come this week, but that is unlikely as the Seahawks have their second game in four days on Thanksgiving day.

More than likely, if Mora is to be named the new Husky head coach, it will most likely come after the weekend.

Either way, it appears things are finally coming to a head in Washington's search for their next head coach.


Updated (11/20): Husky fans hoping for Jim Mora to be the next Washington head coach panicked yesterday when word came from President Mark Emmert that a special "Advisory Committee" had been formed to help aid in the coaching search.

They also have had trouble wrapping their brains around the notion of Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Hayward being the first official interview for the soon-to-be vacant head coaching position.

To aleviate some of this angst comes this story from Chuck Stark of the Kitsap Sun...

The scuttlebutt machine is kicking into overdrive concerning the possibility of Jim Mora Jr. becoming the next head football coach of the Washington Huskies.

This morning I logged on to my computer, checked my e-mail and there was a simple message from a friend: "Jim Mora Jr. will be the next head coach at UW."

I open another e-mail, this one from the university's sports information department, and it says athletic director Scott Woodward has formed an advisory committee to assist in the search for a new coach.

The press release said the committee is expected to provide its input to the search process by the first week of December. That would lead one to believe the new coach won't be announced until mid-December at the earliest, which makes sense if the new guy is going to be named Mora. It would give the Seahawks and Mora time to re-do the contract he reportedly agreed to in February to become Mike Holmgren's successor at the end of this season, and give the Hawks more time to come up with a Plan B for their new coach.

Of course, Seahawks owner Paul Allen, a major UW donor, would have to sign off on all of this. And if Mora would rather be walking the sidelines at Husky Stadium instead of Qwest Field, why wouldn't he?

Since it was announced on Oct. 28 that Ty Willingham would not be retained as head coach, there's been some speculation about potential candidates, but for the most part, it's been pretty quiet. Too quiet, in fact. One could deduce that the Huskies have already found their man.

And that man, according to some of the Husky faithful, is Mora.

This is a guy who showed his true colors in an interview with KJR 950 two years ago when the then-Atlanta Falcons head coach called Washington his "dream job." He later backed off those comments, which, as you might imagine, didn't go over too well in Atlanta. You don't need to be an Einstein to know that Mora was simply speaking from his heart.

And, now, there's boatloads of Husky fans who hope he'll follow his heart.

Yes, Mora tried to quell any rumors that would link him to the Husky job when he issued this statement through the Seahawks on Oct. 31:

"I am not a candidate for the University of Washington coaching vacancy. I wish the university well with their search and the program nothing but sustained success in the future."

Once again, you don't need to be an Einstein to realize you shouldn't put a lot of stock in what he said. In fact, it's what he didn't say that's important. He didn't say he wasn't interested and he didn't say that he wouldn't listen if contacted.

And now, if you believe what I'm hearing, the Huskies have slapped a full-court press on Mora.

If the money is right, and you know it will be, I think the Husky job is more attractive than the Seahawks' job for a popular alum like Mora.

He'd have total control of the program, and heckuva lot more security at Washington than he would have with the Seahawks. Jeez, even the Tyroneous One was given four years. In the NFL, unless your name is Holmgren or Cowher or someone of that stature, job security isn't part of the deal.

Maybe all of this speculation is way off base. Maybe my friend's UW alumi sources are only hoping it's Mora. Maybe the guy has no intention of taking on the Washington job.

If he honors his original commitment to the Seahawks, don't dog him for it, even if his heart might be with the Dawgs.


Updated (11/17): As much as Scott Woodward wanted to keep his coaching search under wraps, things continue to circulate that he and current Seahawks DB coach Jim Mora are both enamored with each other.

What we're hearing is that Woodward has begun to center his focus on one, two or possibly three candidates with one clearly above the other two.

Who could that be?

We're hearing it's most likely Mora, however, things continue to be in lockdown around Montlake so getting a good answer to that question probably won't happen.


Updated (11/11): Things continue to percolate regarding Seahawks DB coach Jim Mora and Washington.

Today on ESPN's College Football Live, insider Joe Schad mentioned that Mora is being hotly pursued by the Huskies in the same manner that Alabama went after Nick Saban when he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Even with Mora's statement the he is "not a candidate for the Washington head coaching position", it still appears there is some fire to go with the smoke many thought there was regarding his possible hiring.


Updated (11/7): It's been a week since Jim Mora made a public statement to the local and national media that he was "not a candidate" for the open head coach position at his alma mater, the University of Washington, but there are still rumblings that he's still on the short list of candidates the Huskies are considering.

Also of note, there appear to be some rumblings in several circles that the team he will take over from Mike Holmgren once the year is over, the Seattle Seahawks, would have been better served to go through the entire interview process to make sure they had the man to lead them into the new era of Seahawks football.

There has been no indication that Mora is even thinking about anything other than coaching Seattle in 2009, but behind-the-scenes things continue to percolate that he is still a candidate and high up on Washington's wish list.

It's tough to say if this is merely speculation or whether it has some legs, but at this point it's an interesting turn in what has become a crazy merry-go-round in the search for Tyrone Willingham's replacement.


Updated (11/1): Forget Jim Mora and the Washington Huskies. This comes from the Associated Press.

The Seahawks' head coach in waiting said he is not interested in the coaching position at Washington, ending both his silence and rampant speculation.

"I am not a candidate for the University of Washington coaching vacancy," Mora told reporters in a written statement handed out by a Seahawks spokesman on Friday afternoon. "I wish the university well with their search and the program nothing but sustained success in the future."


Updated (10/31): It has been confirmed by several sources including Mora's close friend Hugh Millen that Mora is not going to be a candidate for the head coaching job with Washington.

It is expected that either Mora or the Seahawks will make a formal announcement at some point in the near future.


Updated (10/30): Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Jim Mora insists he has just one focus right now, even though many Seattle football fans are wondering whether Mora is taking a serious interest in what's happening a few miles away on the University of Washington campus. This is according to an AP report by Tim Booth.

Three days after Washington fired head coach Tyrone Willingham, effective at the end of the season, Mora spoke briefly Thursday, although he did not address the raging speculation about his possible interest in the Huskies' job.

Mora was allowed to talk on condition he only discussed the Seahawks' secondary. When asked why he wouldn't take questions about the Washington job, Mora, who has a contract believed to be worth almost $5 million annually to become the Seahawks head coach next season, held firm.

"I'm interested in preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles," Mora said of the Seahawks' opponent this Sunday, reiterating what he recited before the game with the New York Giants last month. "That's what I'm interested in."


Updated (10/30): During Thursday morning's Seahawks Roundtable on KJR-950 radio in Seattle, Hugh Millen said "If I was a Husky fan, I wouldn't get my hopes up." when talking about the chances Jim Mora takes over as Head Coach of the Huskies.

Millen was Mora's roommate at the University of Washington.


Updated (10/29): The many in Seattle who are desperate to see the University of Washington football program turn around are wondering whether the contract Jim Mora has to succeed Mike Holmgren as the Seahawks' coach in 2009 is ironclad. This comes from an AP story written Wednesday by Gregg Bell.

The Seahawks aren't nearly as desperate to clear that up. They are letting the signed contract speak for itself.

Both Mora and team president Tim Ruskell walked off the practice field without stopping to answer questions and both were not made available to talk about the issue on Wednesday, two days after Washington fired coach Tyrone Willingham, effective at the end of this season.

Mora, Seattle's defensive backs coach, grew up in the Seattle area and played linebacker for the Huskies under Don James from 1981-83. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the UW in 1984. A few years ago the former coach of the Atlanta Falcons made an offhand, joking comment to a Seattle radio host and friend that being Washington's head coach would be his dream job. Ever since, Huskies fans have clamored to make that "dream" a reality.

Washington officials haven't exactly debunked the idea of Mora coming to Montlake.

Athletic director Scott Woodward said on the morning he fired Willingham he would consult with Mora on the situation because he was a key member of the Husky family. Later Monday, when asked specifically about Mora, university president Mark Emmert did not say Mora was off-limits because he was under contract with the Seahawks. Emmert only said he would not discuss possible candidates or respond to speculation.

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Brian Kelly
Current Position:
Head coach at Cincinnati
Age:
47
Overall record:
149-55-2 (118-35-2 D-2; 29-19 D-1) (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.2 million
Buyout:
$2 million
Notable:
Won two D-2 national titles at Grand Valley State (2002-2003); Named Big East coach of the year in 2007 after leading his team to a 10-3 record including their PapaJohns.com Bowl win over Southern Mississippi; Cut his teeth on the defensive side of the ball as an assistant, but his teams have always been able to outscore anyone, setting the all-time D-2 scoring record by averaging 28.4 points per game; Won MAC championship in his second season at Central Michigan.
Positives:
Teams always play hard and he is an excellent evaluator of talent; Has won, and won big, at every school he's been a head coach; Well-respected in the coaching ranks; young and very energetic.
Negatives:
Has never recruited on the west coast; has only faced BCS talent on a weekly basis for two years; has yet to win with his own players at the D-1 level; Buyout may be too much to pay out.

Updated (12/2): Brian Kelly said today that he plans to stay at the University of Cincinnati as the head football coach, and along with athletic director Mike Thomas announced plans for a massive renovation of Nippert Stadium. This news comes via Bill Koch of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Kelly has become one of the hottest coaches in the country after leading UC to the Big East championship in just his second season as head coach, and he told the Enquirer Monday night that he had been contacted by several schools, including the University of Washington.

Today, he moved toward putting to rest speculation that he might leave.

"There's been a lot of interest in my services, but I want to be here at the University of Cincinnati for the right reasons," he said. "My family loves it here. I've got good people to work with. It's a really good situation, and it's only going to get better."


Updated (11/30): At least a couple of different sources, including ones that have spoken to Dawgman.com, have indicated that Brian Kelly is another coach to have spoken to UW officials about the opening. Sources close to the search have told Dawgman.com that Kelly has talked to UW twice about the head coaching job.

With Cincinnati's 30-10 win over Syracuse guaranteeing the Bearcats their first ever BCS bowl game, Kelly's star is really on the rise. Add to that the fact that current UW Offensive Line Coach Mike Denbrock coached with Kelly from 1992 to 1998 at Grand Valley State in Michigan, and you have an intriguing connection between the two programs.

It has also been rumored that Kelly is high on the list for the Syracuse job, as well as the Notre Dame if it were to come open after this season.


Updated (11/20): It appears that Kelly has become the top target on Tennessee's target list to replace Phil Fulmer as the head coach of the Volunteers.

This missive comes from the GoVolsXtra blog's Mik Griffith...

Cincinnati's Brian Kelly has become the leading candidate for the Vols' head coaching job, according to a source inside the Tennessee football program.

But UT athletic director Mike Hamilton is still researching and considering other candidates.

South Florida coach Jim Leavitt can be added to the list of those candidates, according to the source.

Leavitt, 51, was a candidate for the Alabama head coaching vacancy in 2003 and again in 2006, but family issues kept him in Tampa.

As for Kelly, it's worth noting Michigan took a long look at Kelly before passing. Wonder why? Kelly's resume appears sterling.

The past couple of weeks, I had kept hearing Lane Kiffin's name as a top candidate.

But at some point you ask yourself, if Kiffin was The Man, why wouldn't Hamilton hire him now to prevent all these recruits from dropping off?

I'm still not counting out Kiffin - he makes too much sense not to get serious consideration.

Mike Leach still has his name thrown around, but I don't see it. No one is going to come into the SEC and win with Xs and Os - it takes talent, not gadgets.

And, I just don't see Leach (47) being able to handle the level of scrutiny that comes with the UT head football coach job. It's a regal position - hardly a post for someone with erratic and eccentric personality traits.

As for Butch Davis, who really knows? Yeah, he's a proven winner. But he's also a proven manipulator - indicating to Miami Hurricanes' media he was going to stay there before taking the Cleveland Browns head coaching job.

The fact that Jimmy Sexton is his agent makes Davis impossible to figure. Sexton has so many high-profile coaches as his clients, he's as much of a puppeteer in the college football world as anyone.

Sexton has attained power broker status, no doubt. He even appears to have a degree of control over some of the national media - it's not a coincidence most any news involving Sexton's clients oozes through the ESPN machine first. Seems to be a nice arrangement for all involved.

Kelly, as many Internet posters have pointed out, fits the Hamilton mold: He's a middle-aged (47) up-and-comer who has had success at all levels.

But, please, let's stop the Bruce Pearl (48) comparisons before they start. (And let's not even bring Todd Raleigh's name into the equation at this point of his Vols' coaching career.)

Kelly, like Pearl, is a Massachusetts native with some public relations skills (his father was a Boston politician).

But there's not going to be another Pearl, and the quicker UT figures that out, the better.

It was embarrassing to see the Vols' marketing team prop Phillip Fulmer up before a crowd at a sponsored event earlier this year in a pep rally format.

That kind of rah rah works for Pearl, but it has never been Fulmer's forte, and it might not work for the new football coach, either.

In all fairness, it might have been the UT administration's attempt to muster support for Fulmer at a time when it was clearly slipping. Surely if there were any intentions, they were good..

But we're talking about Tennessee Football - not basketball - and fans shouldn't need to be recruited.

Speaking of which, maybe Pearl's work as a promoter isn't done.

The Baller Vols have all but one game televised this season, and the fact that their second game of the season didn't draw 20,000 at home is somewhat surprising, school night or not.

Maybe it's the economic market, or maybe its just football fan burnout, but Tennessee basketball just doesn't seem as hot in the general public forum as it has been.

I hosted the Sports Page radio show on Tuesday, the day the Vols played host to UT-Martin.

I had two basketball calls in two hours: one was Bruce Pearl, and another was a random lady (Mary) calling to say she supported the basketball team after I wondered aloud why others hadn't.

Could the Vols' basketball fans be getting spoiled, too?

We already know the football fans are.

I find it amusing when I read message boards and football fans point out that Tennessee hasn't "been to a BCS bowl since the 1999 season.''

True, but the Vols qualified plenty of times. The reason they didn't get the invite was because UT football fans - as a whole -- pretty much quit traveling to bowl games after the national title game. One year, the Vols were ranked sixth in the nation after the regular season and had to settle for the Peach Bowl because the Florida bowls knew UT fans wouldn't travel like other SEC schools.

Hamilton knows better than anyone that other SEC programs have been viewed as much more attractive come the bowl season than Tennessee.

It will be up to the next Vols' football coach to change that trend - by recruiting dynamic talent and winning - not with pep rallies, and not with politics.

UT, by the way, has done a masterful job cloaking its coach-search process. That's good for Hamilton, and more than likely, the process itself.

But it makes waiting harder on the fans and the recruits, and it opens the door for controlled leaks that manipulate fans, media and other schools negotiating with their current coach.


Updated (11/13): Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly is said to be among those expected to interview with Tennessee as Athletics Director Mike Hamilton continues his search to replace Fulmer, according to Bryan Mullen of the Tennessean. But Kelly would come at a high price. Kelly's current buyout is $2 million until Jan. 15, 2009, which is well after the time UT wants to make a hire.

Kelly's buyout decreases to $1 million after Jan. 15, until Jan. 15, 2010. It continues to decrease each year until it reaches a low of $250,000 if he leaves on or after Jan. 15, 2012.


Updated (11/10): The AP speculates that current Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly is most likely gone after the season.

Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is putting together another surprising run at the Big East championship with the Bearcats.

Enjoy it while it lasts UC fans. Kelly likely will be on the short list for almost every school with a coaching vacancy.

After successful stints at Division II Grand Valley and Central Michigan, Cincinnati brought in Kelly to replace Mark Dantoni last season.

Kelly's spread offense produced a school-record 472 points and a 10-3 record in 2007. This season, with only 12 returning starters, the Bearcats were expected to take a step back.

After beating West Virginia 26-23 in overtime Saturday, Cincinnati is 7-2, tied for first in the Big East and No. 22 in the nation. All of that while juggling quarterbacks because of injuries.

Kelly's also a charismatic salesman. He called out the local press corps last year for not covering the Big East media days.

The school gave him a five-year deal last December that pays him about $1.3 million per year. Cincinnati probably can go higher, but it's doubtful the school could match wallets with the likes of Tennessee, Clemson and Washington.

If Kelly stays at Cincinnati beyond this season, he's either extremely loyal or not thrilled with the choices available.


Updated (11/5): Immediately after news broke that Phil Fulmer was out after this season at Tennessee, University of Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly's name has surfaced as a possible successor. This news comes from C. Trent Rosecrans of 700 WLW in Cincinnati.

Kelly said Tuesday that he's not surprised and would rather be in his shoes than in Fulmer's.

"As long as I'm hearing it for other jobs and not because I'm getting fired, I'm OK with that," Kelly said. "There's only one way to hear it. You hear it for jobs that are opening, you hear it for jobs you are being fired for, that's the life of a coach. You're on one of the fences, I'd rather be on that fence than the other."

Since he was hired, it's been speculated by many that he's here for the short-term.

"I've heard that everywhere I've been, it comes with the territory," Kelly said. "We just move on to the next task. I'm used to all these questions, I respect the fact you have to ask these questions. I'm focused on West Virginia."

I then pointed out the irony of the statement that he's heard it all the places he's been, knowing that he's moved on from them.

"Well, there is an irony, but it doesn't mean anything is going to transpire," Kelly said. "It's that I'm used to hearing those kind of comments. … I spent too much time during the week to focus on anything else but West Virginia."

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Kyle Whittingham
Current Position:
Head coach at Utah
Age:
48 (will turn 49 on November 21st)
Overall record:
27-14 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$700,000
Buyout:
$550,000 or $250,000
Notable:
BYU graduate; played linebacker at BYU and was first-team All-WAC and the WAC defensive player of the year in 1981; Has been a very successful defensive coordinator, helping lead Utah to the number four overall ranking in 2005; Has sent 20 players to the NFL that are currently on rosters; In 2007, while playing in the pass-happy Mountain West, Utah led the nation in pass efficiency defense and finished fifth nationally in scoring defense and led the conference in pass defense.
Positives:
Has sent plenty of players to the NFL; 6-3 vs. BCS programs in three-plus seasons; 3-0 in bowl games; Recruits the west relatively well; Teams always finish strong; Defensive-minded coach.
Negatives:
May leave to coach at alma mater (BYU) if that job ever opens up; hasn't won many recruiting battles against BCS schools; has lost two-straight to arch-rival BYU.

Updated (11/30): Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports in his blog that he's hearing Kyle Whittingham's name in connection with the UW coaching search, but also said that the 'general thought on him is that he would be hard to pry away right now'.


Updated (11/13): In a radio interview with Ian Furness of KJR-950 in Seattle Wednesday, Whittingham was asked about the vacant head coaching positions popping up.

"I'm just interested in getting the next win here against San Diego State," Whittingham said. He's been at Utah 15 years, and his entire focus is on finishing the season the right way and going from there. "I'm not looking for that next job," he added. "I'm happy where I'm at. I'm not out networking and trying to figure out where my next move is."

Furness asked Whittingham whether or not he'd pick up the phone if UW or another school called. "I think you have to listen to anybody," he said. "At a school like Washington, that has had the success they had in the past when coach James was there and then later on coach Lambright, those guys were at the pinnacle of Division-1 football Certainly anybody would listen to a phone call from the University of Washington."


Updated (11/6): Whittingham's team's game on Saturday against TCU is a doozy. Win that game and all the Utes need to do is hold serve in their rivalry with BYU and Utah could be headed to the BCS for the second time in four years.

The problem is, there are quite a few BCS schools who, by reputation, are thought to be more worthy than the Mountain West conference leaders.

If Utah is spurned by the BCS selection committee is there a chance that Whittingham could be fet up with the non-BCS stigma and opt to move on to bigger and better things in a BCS conference?

It's tough to say, but Whittingham's resume is getting to the point where he might not be able to do much more in Salt Lake City.

Apparently, Whittingham is prepared to campaign to get the Utes into a BCS game, but money and viewers talk and a one-loss BCS team like Texas, Florida or USC, along with a resurgent Notre Dame could easily get the nod over Utah.


Updated (11/3): Another update on Whittingham's buyout.

It is generally believed that his buyout is $550,000 no matter which school he signs with should he choose to leave Utah, but that isn't the case.

Whittingham's buyout is only $550,000 should he choose to leave the Utes for another Mountain West program. If he goes to a school in another conference, it's only a $250,000 buyout.

It appears that the extra $300,000 is meant to deter BYU from persuing Whittingham who played for the Cougars back in the 80's.


Updated (11/3): Doesn't look like either Wittingham or Mendenhall will be candidates for any open coaching jobs this season. That's the opinion of Mike Sorensen of the Desert News (Salt Lake City, UT)...

It's no surprise with their teams entrenched in the Top 25 this year and their glossy records over four years of coaching, BYU's Bronco Mendenhall and Utah's Kyle Whittingham find their names being tossed around as possible candidates for open coaching positions.

It happened a couple of weeks ago when Tyrone Willingham was let go, effective the end of the season, by the University of Washington. And it's likely to happen again in the coming weeks.

It's not because either Whittingham or Mendenhall has ever shown any interest in Washington or in leaving their respective schools.

However because they are highly successful coaches — Mendenhall is 36-11, Whittingham 33-14 in four years — they will be the logical candidates for any open positions at BCS-level schools.

Besides Whittingham and Mendenhall, other coaches who might be coveted by other programs are Boise State's Chris Peterson and TCU's Gary Patterson. Each has a team ranked in the top 17 in the nation and the combined record of these coaches this year is a remarkable 33-2.

So are local fans about to lose Whittingham and/or Mendenhall, just four years after both got their first head coaching opportunities?

I don't think so.

I do think each coach will have the opportunity to get a job at a school from a higher-profile conference for a much higher salary.

A lot of folks believe they'll leave because of money. Why not? Wouldn't any smart person leave for a salary perhaps as much as three or four times what they're making?

Of course, the Nick Sabans and Urban Meyers of the world would.

Over a dozen-year span, Saban jumped from Michigan State to LSU to the Miami Dolphins to Alabama, where he is now the highest-paid college football coach with an 8-year $32 million contract.

Local fans know how Meyer came from Bowling Green to Utah and then to Florida, with his salary going from a couple of hundred thousand to more than a couple of million dollars per year in just four years.

But I think Whittingham and Mendenhall are different. I don't see money as motivating factors in their lives.

Recently Mendenhall was quoted as saying he didn't see himself as a long-term coach and doubting he would be interested in another job.

When I asked Whittingham last week about being the subject of other coaching jobs, he offered the proverbial "no comment" and said he was only focused on this year's football team.

But I remember when he was first hired at Utah, Whittingham called himself "the lowest maintenance guy on the planet" and said "anybody that knows me, knows that money is not even in the equation." And recently he reiterated to me that his attitude toward money hasn't changed.

Whittingham's overall salary is in the $750,000 to $1 million range, including incentives, and Mendenhall's is reportedly in the same ballpark. Those salaries are better than 99 percent of the population and plenty big for comfortable lifestyles. Certainly both coaches will receive raises or be offered extensions by their respective schools after this season.

Another reason for sticking around is family.

Both coaches grew up in Utah and have spent the majority of their lives here. Both have extended families that live in the area. Mendenhall has three elementary school age children and Whittingham has one in high school and one in elementary school. Why pull up roots and leave when you have a good thing going?

Then there's the big-fish-in-a-smaller-pond issue.

Because of the programs they've each built, Whittingham and Mendenhall should always be among the leaders of the MWC for some time to come. Both have solid rosters stocked with talented young players and as good as each team is this year, they could both be even better in 2009.

Going to a school like Washington, you'd start at the bottom and you'd always have solid programs such as USC and Oregon standing in your way every year.

And they could end up like Dan Hawkins.

After compiling a 53-11 mark at Boise State and shunning various offers, Hawkins made the jump in 2006 to the University of Colorado. So far he is 12-22 overall and on his way to his third straight losing season in Boulder.

He might eventually get things turned around, but going up against the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri every year isn't easy. Sometimes you're better off getting a steady diet of Louisiana Tech, Utah State and New Mexico State. Or San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming.

Who knows, perhaps Whittingham or Mendenhall will surprise us and receive an offer they can't refuse, pack their bags and leave the Beehive State.

But I just don't see it happening.


Updated (10/30): This comes from the blog of columnist Brad Rock of the Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). With Tyrone Willingham out as coach of the Washington Huskies, one of the early names to come up as a possible successor is Ute coach Kyle Whittingham.

I know, it could be confusing going from Coach Will to Coach Whit.

But with the Utes undefeated, Whittingham is one of the hottest non-BCS coaches in the country. He and coaches like Boise State's Chris Peterson will continue to come up in connection with BCS jobs as long as their teams are potential big-bowl contenders.

Would Whittingham take the Washington job?

If tripling his salary means anything, the answer is yes. He makes approximately $700,000 a year at Utah; Willingham made $1.6 million before being fired by the Huskies, and the new coach is sure to make more.

Although Whittngham's Utah contract runs through 2010, he would have to consider an offer if it came. He or Washington could buy out his contract for $550,000.

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Dennis Franchione
Current Position:
Out of coaching
Age:
57
Overall record:
187-101
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Took New Mexico to their first bowl in 36 years when he led the Lobos to a 9-4 record and a bid in the Insight.com Bowl; Recruited and developed current Chicago Bears All Pro LB Brian Urlacher; Won the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year award in 1989 and 1990 and won WAC titles with both New Mexico (1997) and TCU (1999 and 2000)
Positives:
Developed some top running offenses while at TCU -- with LaDanian Tomlinson -- as well as at Alabama and Texas A&M; Teams always played tough, hard-nosed football; Has been successful at turning around three D-1 programs.
Negatives:
Charged $1,200 for program info he refused to release to the public to boosters of Texas A&M; Struggled to recruit against top schools like Texas and Oklahoma; Lost all support within the program the longer he was in College Station; Abandoned Alabama after some initial success to coach at Texas A&M, because of sanctions brought by the previous head coaching staff.

Updated (11/24): Is former Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione really a candidate for the Washington head coaching position?

If you believe FootballScoop.com, he is.

Apparently the tie in with Washington is that while he was searching for a head coach at LSU, former LSU chancellor and current Washington president Mark Emmert interviewed Franchione for the vacant Tigers head coaching position.

Emmert eventually hired Nick Saban instead and the rest is history.

It's hard to imagine Washington going after a coach with Franchione's negatives -- especially the booster e-mail -- as well as his age, but it appears Franchione is open to leaving ESPN as a color-analyst and becoming a head coach yet again.

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Will Muschamp
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at Texas
Age:
37
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
$425,000
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Is one of the top defensive coordinators in the country and is widely considered the hottest assistant coaches as far as head coaching positions are concerned; Nick Saban protégé who was an assistant head coach at Miami.
Positives:
Leader of some of the most aggressive defenses in the country; has a relationship with Scott Woodward and Mark Emmert when he was a defensive coordinator with LSU; One of the top recruiters in the country.
Negatives:
Has been rumored to be a candidate for the open head coaching position at Clemson and possibly Auburn where he has ties; Has never really recruited the west coast; Huskies will have to be in a bidding war against some top programs that will have openings at the end of the season; He will likely not be available until early January since Texas is likely play in a BCS bowl game or possibly the National Championship game.

Updated (11/24): Rumors swirled on Sunday when the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta mentioned in his blog he had received confirmation out of Texas that current Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was offered the Washington coaching job, but turned it down to be the "coach in waiting" who would eventually take over for Mack Brown.

For staying on in Austin, Muchamp's salary was increased to $900,000 per year starting January 1, 2009 and the plan was "enthusiastically agreed to by Mack Brown, President Powers and the Board of Regents," Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds said. "With the landscape in college football and all of the changes around the country, I've been looking at this for the last couple of years. When it's not working, you have to go outside and make changes. Things are going well here, it's working, so it's best to be prepared to build from inside and that's what we're doing."

Condotta also mentioned his source said that the reason for the "coach in waiting" designation was a direct result of the Washington head coaching offer.


Updated (11/18): For those hoping that Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is under consideration for the soon-to-be vacant Husky head coaching position, bad news came out of Austin today, courtesy of the University of Texas official website.

The University of Texas has struck an agreement with Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp that will keep him in Austin and eventually lead him to the head coaching position for the Longhorns, Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds said on Tuesday. Details of the contract are still being finalized but it will start with Muschamp's salary being raised to $900,000 on January 1, 2009.

"This is a plan that has been enthusiastically agreed to by Mack Brown, President Powers and the Board of Regents," Dodds said. "With the landscape in college football and all of the changes around the country, I've been looking at this for the last couple of years. When it's not working, you have to go outside and make changes. Things are going well here, it's working, so it's best to be prepared to build from inside and that's what we're doing.

"Mack has provided outstanding leadership and continues to elevate our football program to a level as high as anyone in the country. We hope he stays a long time and he will be our coach as long as he wants, but this assures us that when the time comes, we have the right guy to step up into that position and continue to build on the great things we're accomplishing."

Muschamp joined the Longhorns this season after highly successful stints at Auburn, LSU and in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. As defensive coordinator, he helped LSU claim a National Championship in 2004. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award (nation's top assistant coach) in 2007.


Updated (11/12): Probably the hottest name in the entire country as far as coordinators are concerned is Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

But the fiery Longhorns DC told reporters earlier this week, he wasn't talking about other jobs.

Muschamp is believed to be at or near the top of every coaching search already underway, especially at schools like Tennessee, Clemson, Kansas State and Washington, but it appears, at this point at least, that he won't be discussing anything with the media until after Texas has finished their season.


Updated (10/29): This comes from Dave Matter of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. He opines about the future of Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel, as well as OC Dave Christensen, who both have ties to Washington.

Until Gary Pinkel goes on the record saying he's not interested in the Washington job, we're going to follow the Huskies' coaching search. Here's what I'm hearing from Seattle — and I'm not talking about Pearl Jam:

Washington's No. 1 target could very well be Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, the 37-year-old Nick Saban disciple who spent four years working for Saban at LSU, including a national championship season in 2003. (You remember the madman whose defense splattered Tiger blood all over Royal Stadium two weeks ago, right?)

During Muschamp's time in Baton Rouge, La., LSU's chancellor was a man named Mark Emmert. His administration included Scott Woodward, the school's director of external affairs.

Today, Emmert is president of his alma mater, University of Washington. His athletic director is Woodward, who was promoted to the position full time in September after serving as UW's interim AD for seven months.

Connect the dots and it's easy to see why UW would like to inject some much needed sizzle into its program with a fiery coach like Muscahmp, a candidate with whom the UW heads of state have already formed a connection. Muschamp has zero head-coaching experience and pulls in the Big 12's heftiest salary among coordinators. But his profile is on the rise — enough to where Washington might be his third- or fourth-best job offer. Other suitors could include Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee, that is if jobs open at the latter two schools.

Still, I'm told that Emmert and Woodward could put together a lucrative offer for Pinkel, hoping to satisfy a hungry fan base that's enamored with anything and anyone related to the Don James era of Husky football. Also, there's some feeling in Seattle that UW craves a younger head coach to jumpstart its recruiting, maybe even someone younger than Pinkel, who turned 56 in April.

This isn't the first time Pinkel's been mentioned for the Huskies' job. After the 1998 season, Pinkel interviewed for the head-coaching position that eventually went to Rick Neuhesiel, who after four seasons at UW was fired in 2003 for his infamous participation in an NCAA basketball tournament gambling pool. Some Husky fans were upset when UW went for the flashier candidate rather than Pinkel, a James pupil who was part of 12 straight winning UW teams that played in three Rose Bowls.

As for Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, I'm told he's thought to be on the short list but further down than some of the other more high-profile candidates. Christensen played at UW as a walk-on under James from 1980-82 and returned to Seattle in 1989 to coach the Huskies' offensive linemen for two seasons. He's never been a head coach but last December was a finalist for the head-coaching position at UW's archrival, Washington State. He's also previously interviewed for the top jobs at Akron and Central Michigan.

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Gary Pinkel
Current Position:
Head coach at Missouri
Age:
56
Overall record:
132-76-3 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.875 million
Buyout:
$750,000 (2008)
Notable:
Has had only three losing season in 17 years as a head coach; Achieved first number one ranking at Missouri since 1960; In 2003, Missouri led the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 237.46 yards per game and ranked sixth nationally; coached at Washington, under Don James, from 1979 – 1990.
Positives:
Understands the culture of Washington football; Winner everywhere he's coached; a very astute talent evaluator; has developed solid quarterbacks (Brad Smith and Chase Daniel) while at Missouri; Even though he's an offensive coach, Pinkel's defenses have consistently been solid as well; Understands how to build a program from the ground up; Buyout is relatively cheap.
Negatives:
Has not recruited on the west coast in 17 years; Not a dynamic head coach, but is solid X's and O's coach; Builds slowly.

Updated (11/24): Because of his ties to Washington, Gary Pinkel's name was one of the first mentioned as being a viable option to take over for Tyrone Willingham at the end of the season, however all doubt about Pinkel's thoughts were quelled on Friday as ESPN reported that Missouri and its head coach of eight years had tentatively agreed on a contract extension and a hefty raise.

Then word came out on Saturday through the St. Louis Post Dispatch that those reports were premature and that Pinkel and the school are close to an agreement.

Either way it appears Pinkel's candidacy never got out of the starting blocks with Washington and he began to turn back to the school where he's had the most success in his 15 year head coaching career.


Updated (11/6): Pinkel's name continues to pop up with regards to the Washington job and the former Washington offensive coordinator who is currently leading the Missouri Tigers hasn't made any statements disavowing his interest in the Husky head coaching position.

Sources close to the situation continue to note that Pinkel has a good going in Columbia, Mo., but in the Big 12 schools take a back seat to the "Big 2" of Oklahoma and Texas and with schools like Texas Tech and Kansas also on the national scene, Pinkel might be looking to head west where the spot behind USC is there for the taking.

Others have asked a very valid question regarding Pinkel's current situation at Missouri..."Why would he leave to rebuild Washington when he's already done that with Missouri and he's got things going well there?"

The answer to that is, Heisman-trophy candidate Chase Daniel leaves after this season and the thought of coaching Jake Locker with the chance of being able to nail down a commitment from Skyline (Sammamish, Wa.) QB Jake Heaps, likely to be the top signal-caller available in the 2010 class, it could be a very appealing move for Pinkel.

Also throw in the fact that current Tigers OC Dave Christiansen is a former Husky player and coach who hails from this area and you could look at a deadly combination guiding the Husky attack.


Updated (10/29): Yet another blog posting from Dave Matter of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Matter notes -- Earlier this week, I talked with a former Washington Huskies player, someone who keeps in touch with Gary Pinkel, lives in Washington and generally has a finger on the pulse of the UW program. He asked not to be identified discussing the UW coaching search but figures Pinkel will be near the top of wish list.

He hadn't talked to Pinkel since the offseason but sensed Pinkel was happy at Missouri and not interested in undertaking a major rebuilding project somewhere else — like the one Washington's program will require. (I've talked to several sources and observers who said UW's facilities are in shambles. One referred to Husky Stadium as "a third-world relic.")

I asked if Pinkel's mentor, former UW Coach Don James, still carries significant influence in Seattle, enough to where his opinion will matter in the coaching search. "He has a fair amount of pull," the source said. "When he talks, people listen."

But, the source was certain James would absolutely not ask Pinkel to leave Missouri and take over the Huskies' program. "No way" he said. "He would not do that."

Others I've talked to around town who know Pinkel well would be surprised if he'd give the UW job much consideration. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean he'll come out publicly and dismiss any interest in the job. It's not Pinkel's style to play this out with the press. If anything, he could leverage UW's interest into another contract negotiation with Missouri. He's not a coach always chasing the next big paycheck, but don't think for a minute he enjoys trailing Kansas' Mark Mangino on the Big 12 pay scale. (Back in July, Mangino's salary jumped to $2.3 million, putting him one spot ahead of Pinkel's $1.85 million salary among Big 12 coaches.)

"Money and power and those things, none of them drive me," Pinkel told me last December. "My whole thing about salary is you just want to get what your value is. Even though the numbers are pretty staggering, it's still what your value is. You have to learn what your value is. Going back to when I coached for Don James, I only wanted to get paid what was fair. I don't care what the quarterback coach at UCLA is making. If I'm getting paid fairly for what I'm doing, I don't have a problem with it."


Updated (10/29): This comes from Dave Matter of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. He opines about the future of Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel, as well as OC Dave Christensen, who both have ties to Washington.

Until Gary Pinkel goes on the record saying he's not interested in the Washington job, we're going to follow the Huskies' coaching search. Here's what I'm hearing from Seattle — and I'm not talking about Pearl Jam:

Washington's No. 1 target could very well be Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, the 37-year-old Nick Saban disciple who spent four years working for Saban at LSU, including a national championship season in 2003. (You remember the madman whose defense splattered Tiger blood all over Royal Stadium two weeks ago, right?)

During Muschamp's time in Baton Rouge, La., LSU's chancellor was a man named Mark Emmert. His administration included Scott Woodward, the school's director of external affairs.

Today, Emmert is president of his alma mater, University of Washington. His athletic director is Woodward, who was promoted to the position full time in September after serving as UW's interim AD for seven months.

Connect the dots and it's easy to see why UW would like to inject some much needed sizzle into its program with a fiery coach like Muscahmp, a candidate with whom the UW heads of state have already formed a connection. Muschamp has zero head-coaching experience and pulls in the Big 12's heftiest salary among coordinators. But his profile is on the rise — enough to where Washington might be his third- or fourth-best job offer. Other suitors could include Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee, that is if jobs open at the latter two schools.

Still, I'm told that Emmert and Woodward could put together a lucrative offer for Pinkel, hoping to satisfy a hungry fan base that's enamored with anything and anyone related to the Don James era of Husky football. Also, there's some feeling in Seattle that UW craves a younger head coach to jumpstart its recruiting, maybe even someone younger than Pinkel, who turned 56 in April.

This isn't the first time Pinkel's been mentioned for the Huskies' job. After the 1998 season, Pinkel interviewed for the head-coaching position that eventually went to Rick Neuhesiel, who after four seasons at UW was fired in 2003 for his infamous participation in an NCAA basketball tournament gambling pool. Some Husky fans were upset when UW went for the flashier candidate rather than Pinkel, a James pupil who was part of 12 straight winning UW teams that played in three Rose Bowls.

As for Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, I'm told he's thought to be on the short list but further down than some of the other more high-profile candidates. Christensen played at UW as a walk-on under James from 1980-82 and returned to Seattle in 1989 to coach the Huskies' offensive linemen for two seasons. He's never been a head coach but last December was a finalist for the head-coaching position at UW's archrival, Washington State. He's also previously interviewed for the top jobs at Akron and Central Michigan.


Updated (10/28): Pinkel also declined to comment about the soon-to-be vacant coaching job at the University of Washington, where he was once an assistant coach under Don James. This news was reported by Dan Angell of the Missourian.

"I'm not doing that," Pinkel said. "To me, that's a distraction. I'm focused on this football game, and that's all I'm going to do."

Washington announced Monday that Tyrone Willingham will be forced to step down as the Huskies' coach at the end of the season, and it is speculated that Pinkel and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, who also has ties to Washington, will be candidates for the job if they are interested.


Updated (10/27): Now that the University of Washington has made it official that Tyrone Willingham will not be returning as head football coach, the speculation will begin if MU head coach Gary Pinkel or his assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Dave Christensen are interested in the position. This news comes from Reid Laymance of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Both are proteges of long-time Washington coach Don James.

Earlier this month, James told the Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian that he didn't expect Pinkel to show an interest in the Washington job despite his ties: "I don't know why he'd even want to consider coming out here, with the facilities he's got and the way he's got it going. I wouldn't know why anybody would want to leave Missouri now."

Although James, who coached Pinkel at Kent State and hired him as an assistant there and at Washington, did say "we'd take him in a heartbeat" if he were interested.

Christensen grew up in Washington state and coached the offensive line at Washington for two seasons under James and played there as well.

Pinkel and Christensen are scheduled to address the media in Columbia today and we'll be back with further details.

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Chris Petersen
Current Position:
Head coach at Boise State
Age:
44
Overall record:
31-3 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$900,000
Buyout:
$750,000
Notable:
In first season as head coach at Boise State (2006), Peterson led the Broncos to a 13-0 record and an impressive victory over no. 11 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl; Has developed numerous quarterbacks as QB coach at Pittsburgh (Alex Van Pelt) as well as the offensive coordinator at Boise State (Ryan Dinwiddie and Jared Zabransky); Went 15-1 in WAC in 2006 and 2007; Boise State has been a fixture at the top of the national offensive rankings since Peterson has been with the program.
Positives:
Young, energetic coach who has been successful everywhere he has been; Has won some recruiting battles with Pac 10 schools; Recruits the west coast well; Dynamic offensive coach; Players love to play for Peterson; took Boise State to their first BCS bowl game (Fiesta); Is 3-1 vs. BCS schools; Develops quarterbacks well; Is young and could be with a program for quite some time.
Negatives:
Perception he is still winning with Dan Hawkins' players; lost to a 4-8 Washington team in 2007; Offensive minded coach, so his teams have struggle at times on defense; Has only been a head coach for two years and has never rebuilt a program; held receivers coach position at Oregon.

Update (11/24): The Idaho Statesman reported on Friday that Boise State head coach Chris Petersen has begun preliminary discussions on a pay raise and an extension with the school he's been the head coach of since 2006.

Petersen was believed to be on Washington's short list of candidates, but sources close to the situation have made it known that Petersen has not been contacted regarding the Husky head coaching position.

Should Mora and some of the other coaches who have been interviewed fall by the wayside could Petersen's name come up again? Only time will tell...


Update (11/18): Ever since Tyrone Willingham was fired by the University of Washington, rumors of a mutual interest between Petersen and the Huskies have been flying around. However, we have been able to confirm that Petersen has not been contacted about the head coaching position at Washington.

Rumors also continue to say that Petersen is at the top of the list for the Oregon head coaching position if/when current Duck head coach Mike Bellotti decides to step down.

There have been rumblings for the past few years that Bellotti was thinking about retiring, but up until this year it appeared that decision was a ways away from coming to fruition.

Now it appears that the most tenured head coach in the Pac 10 is contemplating hanging them up after this season.


Update (11/17): While Mora appears to be the number one candidate to replace outgoing Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham, Boise State's Chris Petersen appears to be favored by several close to the coaching search, however we've heard that if Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti chooses to leave, Petersen is at the top of their list and they are at the top of his.

Petersen's team again is undefeated -- 10-0 after trouncing in-state rival Idaho this past weekend -- ranked ninth in the country and they are flirting with a third BCS bowl-bid in five years.

He claims he's happy where he is, but rumors are he would jump at the chance to return to the school where he got his coaching start as the receivers coach for the Ducks.

Will Bellotti leave and will Petersen make the move? This one will probably take a while to sort itself out...


Update (11/4): Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen, in the midst of an unbeaten season, sits near the top of the short list for big time college coaching openings all over the NCAA. Petersen is in his third season, and is 31-3 in that time, including the Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma in 2006. This news is coming Tuesday from Jeremy Wayne of KMVT News.

A number of big coaching opportunities are out there, including at Washington, where Ty Willingham will not return for 2009. Amid scores of early season firings, Petersen is rumored to be the name circling at a number of places, but Pete isn't buying into it. He is comfortable in Boise, but worries about the recruiting aspect more than anything else, and keeping his guys up to date on what is happening.


Update (11/3): A coach many thought would be a logical fit for the Washington head coaching job has been Boise State's Chris Petersen.

The third year head coach is young, he has an explosive offense and he's been associated with schools in the northwest since he jumped into coaching, however, the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta reported in his blog today that it appears Petersen is not interested in leaving Boise State for what many think are better situations.

Petersen recently received a hefty pay raise from the Boise State athletic department and it appears he likes living in Idaho and doesn't wish to move at this time.


Update (10/28): Petersen's name already is in the rumor mill at Washington, which announced Monday that coach Ty Willingham will step down at the end of the season. Washington plans to begin its search immediately, ESPN.com reported.

"Like we tell our guys, if we're doing the things we want to do here, that's a good thing that our names are being thrown out," Petersen told Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman. "We love Boise State University and we've got a good thing going here. There's always going to be rumors we can't control."

He declined to answer questions about whether he would be interested in the job.

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Jim Harbaugh
Current Position:
Head coach at Stanford
Age:
44 (will turn 45 December 23rd)
Overall record:
38-18 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1 million
Buyout:
$600,000
Notable:
Has been successful at both of his head coaching stops (San Diego and Stanford); All-American quarterback at Michigan; Second-round draft choice; Pro Bowler and All-Pro quarterback in the NFL; led the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship game in 1995.
Positives:
Energetic and young coach who players love to play for; While at San Diego, helped turn Josh Johnson into a fifth-round draft choice (Tampa Bay); Beat then-undefeated USC on the road in 2007; Has done an outstanding job recruiting players to Stanford; tireless worker.
Negatives:
Arrested for DUI in 2005; Has made some controversial statements since he became a head coach; Still hasn't proven he can win at the D-1 level; May be open to leaving for an NFL job if he's successful.

Update (11/18): And another bites the dust. No sooner had Harbaugh's name come up as a viable candidate for several head coaching positions, including Washington's, than Stanford began talking about an extension for their second-year head coach.

On Monday, Harbaugh reiterated his satisfaction with working in Palo Alto and that he and the university were close to agreeing on a contract extension.

"I love my job at Stanford," Harbaugh told reporters on Monday. "I gotta a great wife, a new baby, I love my job. I love the guys I coach for. I cannot imagine coaching anywhere else but Stanford."

With a win this weekend against rival California, Stanford would become bowl eligible for the first time since 2001.


Update (11/13): Jim Harbaugh called Stanford "the ultimate destination" and added that he "can't imagine coaching anywhere else" during an appearance Wednesday on Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show, reports Darren Sabedra of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.

But that didn't stop Patrick from asking Harbaugh whether he has said he isn't interested in the Raiders job.

"I guess we have a difference in the definition of commitment," Harbaugh said. "I'm committed to Stanford."

When Patrick pressed the issue further, wondering whether Harbaugh should put out a statement saying that he isn't going anywhere, the coach said, "You asked me at the beginning (about) the hypotheticals. I've told you that I can't imagine being anywhere else than where I am here at Stanford University. I hope that suffices."

Patrick closed by saying, "Good, OK, I just wanted to make sure. Because sometimes these come out and if the coach doesn't respond or he says no comment, then all of a sudden we sort of move in for the kill. I wanted to be fair to the situation. I hope you understand where I'm coming from."

"I appreciate that," Harbaugh said.


Update (11/5): Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby has met with Coach Jim Harbaugh and his agent about a contract extension that would "keep Jim at Stanford as long as possible," Bowlsby said Tuesday. This comes from Darren Sebedra of the San Jose Mercury News.

News of a potential extension came in the aftermath of a source telling the Mercury News' Tim Kawakami that the Raiders are very interested in talking with Harbaugh about becoming their next coach.

"Jim and I have talked, and I have visited with his agent," Bowlsby wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "We will be happy to extend Jim as long as he would like to be extended. No details have been determined, but we would like to keep Jim at Stanford as long as possible."

Harbaugh is in the second year of a five-year deal he signed when Stanford hired him in December 2006 from the University of San Diego.

When asked Tuesday about the Raiders job, Harbaugh, a former assistant in Oakland, said: "I have given no thought to any other job than the one I have. I haven't talked to anybody or anything like that. I hope this doesn't get to be like the quarterback question — like who's your starting quarterback. That would get real repetitive."

Harbaugh changed the subject when asked if he and Raiders owner Al Davis had spoken recently.

"We have three games here, starting with Oregon," Harbaugh said. "Can you honestly think I would be thinking about anything other than playing against Oregon and going down this stretch?"


Update (11/3): It's tough to say how interested either Washington or Harbaugh would be in each other, but the second-year Cardinal head coach's name keeps coming up in the coaching search talk.

Harbaugh has done an outstanding job making Stanford competitive again after the mistakes of the Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris tenures.

Last year, as 43-point underdogs, the Cardinal stunned USC on their home turf to get the signature win of Harbaugh's first season and they are close to being bowl eligible after their impressive 58-0 drubbing of hapless Washington State last weekend.

Harbaugh is also a relentless recruiter who has used his ties as well as his powerful and engaging personality to win over recruits Stanford regularly missed on in the past.

This is definitely a name to keep in mind as the coaching search continues...


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Lane Kiffin
Current Position:
Recently fired head coach of the Oakland Raiders
Age:
33
Overall record:
5-15
Salary:
$2 million
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Was part of the tandem at offensive coordinator for a USC Trojan program that won two straight Pac 10 championships; Developed numerous wide receivers that were early-round draft choices in the NFL; Recruiting coordinator that oversaw some of the top recruiting classes in the country come to USC.
Positives:
Reputation as a very good recruiter; innovative offensive mind; can pull in top talent and can develop it; young and players like him.
Negatives:
Very young and still relatively inexperienced; Steve Sarkisian is generally considered the better coach.

Updated (11/18): Currently out of work, former Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin is a name that continues to pop up on many coaching search lists.

The newest school to request and interview with Kiffin is Syracuse who fired their head coach this week.


Updated (11/13): Former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin interviewed with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips last week for the Tigers' head coaching job, multiple sources told Chris Low of ESPN.com.

Kiffin is at least the second known candidate to have interviewed for the Tigers position. Several reports had Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables meeting with Phillips last Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson are two other names that have been connected to the Clemson search.


Updated (10/29): USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian turned down the chance to coach the Oakland Raiders two years ago, saying at the time that he wanted to become a college head coach.

With Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham fired, effective at the end of the season, Sarkisian said he would be interested in the Huskies' job if school representatives contacted him. This news comes from Gary Klein from the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times.

"I'd look at it and assess it," Sarkisian said. "It's obviously been one of the premier jobs not only in the Pac-10 but in the country, so you'd have to look at it."

Sarkisian said after Tuesday's practice that he had not heard from Washington. Lane Kiffin, a former USC assistant who took the Raiders job and was fired last month, also has expressed interest in the job.

Sarkisian, 34, is in his fourth season running the Trojans' offense, his second as the sole play-caller.

According to USC's most recent tax filing, he is the school's fifth-highest paid employee.

For the fiscal year ending in June 2007, Sarkisian earned slightly less than $704,500 in total compensation, trailing only football Coach Pete Carroll ($4.4 million), basketball Coach Tim Floyd ($1.1 million), Brian Henderson, the dean of the Keck School of Medicine ($889,282), and Athletic Director Mike Garrett ($803,194).

Carroll said Sarkisian and Kiffin each would be a great candidate for the Washington opening.

"They'd be lucky to get him," Carroll said of Sarkisian. "Whenever you have a chance to hire a guy that brings a major aspect of the team like the offense, that's huge because you know what you're getting."


Updated (10/28): - Ex-Raiders coach Lane Kiffin has expressed interest in the opening at the University of Washington just hours after the school announced Tyrone Willingham will not return next season.

Kiffin, fired less than a month ago during his second season with Oakland, told The Associated Press on Monday night he considered the position with the Huskies a great job in which he is sure a lot of coaches are already interested.

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Jeff Tedford
Current Position:
Head coach at California
Age:
47
Overall record:
56-28 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.85 million
Buyout:
$1.5 million
Notable:
His agent, Mike Sullivan; is a former Husky; According to insiders, there has been contact through backchannels regarding the Washington job as well as others; Rumors are he was a finalist for the Washington job the last time the Huskies were looking for a coach.
Positives:
Has helped develop a number of top rated quarterbacks including Trent Dilfer; Billy Volek, A.J. Feeley, Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith and, most recently, current Green Bay Packers' starter Aaron Rodgers; Took Cal from being one of the worst programs in the country to near the top of the Pac 10 in a very short time; competes with and wins many recruiting battles with the big boys (USC, Michigan, etc.).
Negatives:
Teams always seem to have issues showing up at some points during the season; In 2007, Cal nosedived after being ranked number two for a week to finish 7-6; has never won the Pac 10; both he and his wife are California natives and it appears neither would like to leave the Golden State.

Update (11/17): The internet was abuzz two weeks ago when it became known that Cal head coach Jeff Tedford's home was for sale, but it appears the man who almost single-handedly rejuvenated the Golden Bear football program is set to stay in Berkley for the forseeable future.

That being said, don't be surprised if Washington's top candidate (likely to be Jim Mora) decides to stay put, if Tedford's name doesn't begin to come up more and more in the coaching search.

Rumors are the Tedford isn't happy with the pace of the facilities upgrade he was promised four years ago when he re-upped with Cal and with more legal wrangling, it could be a while before Cal is able to get the work done that had been scheduled.

Tedford was intrigued by the Washington job before Tyrone Willingham was handed to keys to the Husky program so don't be surprised if his name surfaces again should things not work out with Mora.

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Gary Patterson
Current Position:
Head coach at TCU
Age:
48
Overall record:
71-26 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.3 million
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has only been a head coach with the Horned Frogs and has taken them to seven bowls in eight seasons and will take them to an eighth bowl this season as well; Defensive-minded coach; Teams are always tough.
Positives:
His teams have been successful defending the wide-open attacks that are prevalent in the Mountain West conference; Excellent talent evaluator and developer; Recruiting ties all over the state of Texas; Has recruited the west coast earlier in his career (UC Davis).
Negatives:
Hasn't recruited the west coast in over 20 years; Washington will battle several schools for his signature, including possibly Kansas State, Patterson's alma mater; turned down an offer at Minnesota for over $2 million a year to stay at TCU.

Updated (11/13): The ritual is for Gail and Keith Patterson to speak with their son Gary, the football coach at Texas Christian, on the phone after his games. This comes from Jeffrey Martin of the Kansas City (Mo.) Star.

When they spoke to him last Thursday, there was no mention of the Kansas State coaching vacancy. But sensing that he might be linked to the job, the Pattersons later took their phone off the hook.

Of course, that meant they couldn't hear from Gary, who apparently tried to call Friday, when an Internet report about Patterson becoming K-State's coach was denied by Patterson and the Wildcats.

"But he spoke to his sister, and he told her, ‘Make sure you tell Mom and Dad I'm not taking that job,' " Gail Patterson said. "I'm sure he's not taking that job."

If that's the case, it would remove one of the most attractive candidates K-State may or may not have identified to replace Ron Prince. And Wednesday, there wasn't much information filtering out of Bramlage Coliseum, where athletic director Bob Krause's office is located.

"There is nothing new to report on the football coaching search," Krause said in a statement. "The process is ongoing, and we will reserve comment until the appropriate time."

Efforts to reach Patterson were unsuccessful Wednesday.


Updated (11/9): A story on GoPowercat.com that TCU's Gary Patterson had been hired as Kansas State's football coach was debunked by Wildcats athletic director Bob Krause, a TCU spokesman and Patterson himself. This was reported by Bobbi Roquemore of the Dallas Morning News.

Interviewed by phone Friday, Krause denied the report, saying Kansas State had not talked to any candidates for its opening.

A TCU spokesman said there was "no truth" to the story. Patterson told an area radio station the same thing.

"Let me just me just put this to record," he said on ESPN 103.3. "I have not talked to Kansas State."

GoPowercat.com has since reported that Patterson's agent, George Bass, denied having contact with Kansas State.


(Updated 11/7): We mentioned earlier this week the likelihood that TCU head coach Gary Patterson was probably the top candidate to take over for current Kansas State head coach Ron Prince once the season was over and it appears he's headed to his alma mater.

According to GoPowercat.com (along with radio station KMAN in Manhattan, Ks.), Kansas State and Patterson have agreed on a five-year, $10 million dollar contract for him to take over a team that has struggled to be competitive in the Big 12 since legendary Wildcat coach Bill Snyder stepped down following the 2005 season.

Patterson was never thought to be a serious candidate for the Washington job, but with him filling one of the three four known BCS jobs that were open, that can certainly help Washington's chances with other coaching candidates.


(Updated 11/5): There was some credence given to the candidacy of TCU Gary Patterson for any of the open head coaching positions -- Washington among them.

However, anyone hoping for Patterson to come to their school shouldn't hold their breath.

Why?

Because it's being reported by several media sources that Kansas State, Patterson's alma mater, head coach Ron Prince has decided to step down as the head coach of the Wildcats.

It has been well-known for a while that Patterson wants to coach at Kansas State, but the last time around the AD in Manhattan, Ks. lowballed the talented head coach.

This time around, no one should expect that to happen and an announcement could come quickly after the conclusion of TCU's regular season on November 22nd.

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Butch Davis
Current Position:
Head coach at North Carolina
Age:
56 (will be 57 on November 17th)
Overall record:
61-30 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$2.1 million
Buyout:
$2 million
Notable:
His name is being pushed by several prominent Washington insiders and former players; Defensive-minded coach who's teams always seem to play hard; Has resurrected the North Carolina football program; Rebuilt the Miami football program after sanctions and took them to four bowl games including the Gator and Sugar Bowls in 1999 and 2000.
Positives:
Built the Miami team that eventually won the national championship in 2001; Can recruit with anyone in the country; excellent talent evaluator; Teams play a tough, hard-nosed brand of football; North Carolina football will always take a back seat to the Tar Heel basketball team.
Negatives:
Has never really recruited the west coast; Wants to eventually move back to the NFL; Even with top talent year after year, has struggled to get over the hump and take his team to a championship.

Update (11/13): Butch Davis NOT going to Tennessee – this comes from CoachesHotSeat.com.

One thing many people forget about Butch Davis at North Carolina is the cancer scare in March of 2007 that he had and that when that happened the people at North Carolina stepped up and gave Davis all the support in the world and did anything and everything the could to make sure he was receiving the best medical treatment possible for his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Butch Davis has done very good job at North Carolina, as we fully expected him to do when he was hired, and if he keeps this up he will certainly be in line for his second raise in two years at UNC. Right now Davis is making about $2.1 million a year and we believe that Tennessee would have offered him a contract that would have paid him between $2.75 and $3.5 million a year over 6 years. Roy Williams, the very good basketball coach at UNC makes somewhere in the range of $2.5 to $2.8 million a year and certainly if Butch Davis' Tar Heel football team keeps performing well, Davis will be in line for a nice salary bump, and extended contract in the offseason.

Besides the fact that Butch Davis has said publicly that he is not interested in the Tennessee job, we do not believe that he would be a very good fit in Knoxville anyways for many reasons that have nothing to do with how good of a football coach that Butch Davis is, and Davis is a very good head football coach.


Update (11/12): According to several reports, current North Carolina head coach Butch Davis has risen to the top of the University of Tennessee's wish-list to fill their soon-to-be vacated head coaching position.

This story comes from Govolsxtra.com's Dave Hooker...

Tennessee has tabbed North Carolina coach Butch Davis as the leading candidate to replace ousted football coach Phillip Fulmer, multiple sources have told the News Sentinel.

Whether UT can secure Davis remains to be seen. Davis has said publicly that he is happy at North Carolina because of the family environment in Chapel Hill and the opportunity to rebuild a program that has long struggled.

If UT can't get Davis, Mike Leach of Texas Tech and Brian Kelly of Cincinnati will become strong possibilities. Tim Brewster from Minnesota will also be considered.

As for Davis, UT will offer better facilities and more exposure than North Carolina. UT will also offer the chance to coach in the SEC.

That could be perceived as a pro or con. While the SEC is a much higher-profile conference than the Atlantic Coast Conference, it also is widely believed to be a more difficult conference to win and subsequently compete for national championships.

Davis, 56, turned down advances from Arkansas last season. He played defensive end for the Razorbacks before a knee injury curtailed his playing career. Davis became a volunteer coach and graduated in 1974.

Davis has turned around the Tar Heels in just his second season. North Carolina is 7-2 after finishing 4-8 in 2007.

Before Davis' arrival, North Carolina was 44-63 in the previous nine seasons under coaches Carl Torbush (17-18 from 1998-2000) and John Bunting (27-45 from 2001-06).

If Davis were to take the Volunteer head coaching gig, that would take away one of the possible candidates that Washington was looking at as well as one of their major competitors for coaching candidates.

However, it would also open up a position at North Carolina, a school rebounding under Davis and loaded with young talent and that could be more appealing than the rebuilding job at Montlake.


Update (11/5): Butch Davis told the AP on Tuesday he's committed to staying with the Tar Heels for the long haul.

Butch Davis says he is committed to building No. 19 North Carolina's program, even though his name has come up as a possible candidate for the opening at Tennessee.

Asked directly about the Tennessee job after practice Tuesday, Davis said "the long and short of it is, the administration and I are completely and firmly committed to building a championship football program at North Carolina. My family and I are very happy in Chapel Hill."

Davis has guided the Tar Heels (6-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) into the national rankings for the second time this season, and they are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004.

"I guess the easy answer is, in some respects, obviously, you're flattered a little bit. (It) kind of goes with the territory" of being at a high-profile program, Davis said. "It's kind of an unfortunate thing, all the speculation and stuff, for any coach. There's lots of coaches that deal with that. ... I think coaches today, you just kind of grin and bear it."

Davis' name has come up in conversations regarding the Washington job several times as well.

The former University of Miami and Cleveland Browns head coach has an existing relationship with Washington President Mark Emmert who almost hired Davis away from Miami before ultimately giving the LSU job to Nick Saban.

Regardless of the public statements, Davis' name will continue to be brought up whenever a new head coaching position becomes available, especially with the bigger name programs that seem to be inclined to look for a new direction this year.


Update (11/4): Tennessee Athletics Director Mike Hamilton is under tremendous pressure to hit a home run with this hire. In today's culture, winning the press conference has become almost as important as winning games. But the guys who would allow Hamilton to hit it out of the park are probably not going to come for a host of reasons, reports Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

One of the first names I heard early this season was North Carolina's Butch Davis. Davis would be a perfect fit because he is a great recruiter, which Tennessee must have, and a very good coach, which Tennessee also must have.

If indeed Tennessee is going to go after Davis hard, that significantly diminishes any chances (probably slim to begin with) that Washington has a shot to lure Davis from Chapel Hill.


Update (11/3): It's been made pretty clear that Butch Davis enjoys life in Chapel Hill. However, some interesting tidbits have been leaking out about Davis' possibly connections to both Scott Woodward and Mark Emmert from their days at LSU.

Apparently Davis made an excellent impression on Emmert while the latter was interviewing candidates to take over the head job of the 'Bayou Bengals' so the two have a history and with former Husky players pushing to have Davis intereviewed things could get very interesting on this front.

Also consider that Davis' contract would not be hard to top.

The Tar Heels' head man is only guaranteed $1.436 million per year with incentives that act as escalators and while his buyout is $2 million dollars, the yearly average could easily be raised by Washington.

Is there fire where there's smoke? We'll know sooner or later...


Update (10/29): Jimmy Sexton, agent for North Carolina coach Butch Davis, addressed the rumors of his client (and several others) at a Birmingham Touchdown Club event earlier this week. Sexton made a very logical argument as to why coaches like Davis would be wary of jumping to Tennessee or Auburn should the jobs open up: The ACC is less of a headache than the SEC. This news comes from Joe Ovies, who runs a blog in conjunction with 850 The Buzz in Raleigh, NC.

"I think Butch Davis will be at North Carolina for a long time. I don't know that. He'll have to make that decision. I do think that's a place you can win at, and the ACC isn't nearly as hard, at least right now, as the SEC. They look at it as, `Why do I want to go do that? If my school will pay me an SEC-type salary in another conference, I might be able to stay here forever.' The key thing here is "SEC-type" money. Sexton is an agent, working for his client and always trying to maximize his dollars. If North Carolina wants to pay the premium for Davis' services, then folks in Chapel Hill will have nothing to fear when the coaching carousel hits full steam at the end of the year."

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DeWayne Walker
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at UCLA
Age:
47 (will turn 48 on December 3rd)
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has been a successful assistant coach at both the college and NFL level; Directed the Washington Redskins secondary in 2005 and ranked first in the league in lowest pass completion percentage (54.4%); That same season the Redskins also tied for second with fewest touchdown passes against (15) and 10th in overall pass defense surrendering just 192.6 ypg; As defensive coordinator at UCLA, Walker has guided a Bruin defense that has consistently ranked in the top third of the country in many defensive categories over the past three seasons.
Positives:
Considered to be UCLA's top recruiter and one of the best on the west coast; Has a plethora of ties in the Los Angeles area; Overdue for a head coaching position; Hungry for success and relates well with players.
Negatives:
Has never directed a program before; solid defensive coordinator, but unsure of possible offensive coordinator candidates.

Updated (11/11): UCLA defensive coordinator Dewayne Walker would like to be a candidate to replace UW football coach Tyrone Willingham, Seattle (Wash.) P-I columnist Jim Moore writes in his 'Go 2 Blog'.

When asked after the Bruins' Tuesday afternoon practice if he'd be interested in the Huskies' job, Walker said: "No question. The big question, would they be interested in me?"

Walker nearly ended up at the UW before the season started. Willingham wooed him and wanted him to become his new defensive coordinator and replace Kent Baer. Walker instead chose to stay at UCLA, leading to Willingham's hiring of Ed Donatell.

Asked if he was glad he stayed in Westwood, Walker said "no question" again. But he admits to being highly interested in becoming the Huskies' next head coach.

"It's a football school with a great program," said Walker, who knows. His brother, Clyde Walker, was best friends with Warren Moon in the late 1970s. He attended the 1978 Rose Bowl when Washington beat Michigan.

"Don James treated me like royalty," Walker said. "I grew up around Husky football."

He thinks he'd be a good head coach, saying: "I've had so many lessons and worked with great head coaches. I understand what the formula should be."

Walker said he has not been contacted by UW AD Scott Woodward but hopes he will be. But even if he isn't...

"Just my name being mentioned is an honor," Walker said.

Walker is said to be one of the top defensive coordinators in college football.


Updated (10/30): It's almost the time of year when defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker gets mentioned regarding various job openings around the country.

Last year, his name popped up at Washington State. The year before, it was Stanford and the NFL.

Now Washington has an opening and Walker has connections in Seattle: He interviewed for the coordinator's spot there last winter and his brother is friends with former Huskies star Warren Moon. This news comes from David Wharton of the LA Times.

But have UCLA's difficulties this season dented his resume?

"I think the people who know football know what they're looking at," Walker said. "I think they know what it's all about."

The Bruins have played well enough against the pass but, with little help from the offense, rank in the bottom half of the Pac-10 in categories such as scoring and rushing defense.

"I can't control what the [athletic directors] think," Walker said. "But I think if they ask the right people what I'm all about, maybe that will spark some interest."

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Bronco Mendenhall
Current Position:
Head coach at BYU
Age:
42
Overall record:
36-11 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$650,000
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Played safety and linebacker at Oregon State; BYU is 2-1 in bowl games under Mendenhall; 3-6 vs. BCS schools; Has won two-straight Mountain West titles; In 2006, BYU ranked 14th nationally in passing offense (298.4 ypg) and 25th nationally in overall offense (442.8 ypg); In 2006, defensively, BYU ranked 10 nationally in total defense allowing 307.9 yards per game and during the regular season the Cougars did not allow a 100-yard rusher.
Positives:
Young head coach who brings a "lunch-pail" mentality to the sidelines; Will not be outworked; Even though he is young, he has held many coaching positions and his teams are continually strong on both sides of the ball; Very strong recruiter who has won numerous battles with BCS programs; strong recruiting presence in Hawaii.
Negatives:
Could be tough to pull away from BYU; Has only been a head coach for three full seasons; Presumably has won many recruiting battles with BCS programs because of the LDS factor and not necessarily because of his recruiting acumen.

Updated (11/3): Doesn't look like either Wittingham or Mendenhall will be candidates for any open coaching jobs this season. That's the opinion of Mike Sorensen of the Desert News (Salt Lake City, UT)...

It's no surprise with their teams entrenched in the Top 25 this year and their glossy records over four years of coaching, BYU's Bronco Mendenhall and Utah's Kyle Whittingham find their names being tossed around as possible candidates for open coaching positions.

It happened a couple of weeks ago when Tyrone Willingham was let go, effective the end of the season, by the University of Washington. And it's likely to happen again in the coming weeks.

It's not because either Whittingham or Mendenhall has ever shown any interest in Washington or in leaving their respective schools.

However because they are highly successful coaches — Mendenhall is 36-11, Whittingham 33-14 in four years — they will be the logical candidates for any open positions at BCS-level schools.

Besides Whittingham and Mendenhall, other coaches who might be coveted by other programs are Boise State's Chris Peterson and TCU's Gary Patterson. Each has a team ranked in the top 17 in the nation and the combined record of these coaches this year is a remarkable 33-2.

So are local fans about to lose Whittingham and/or Mendenhall, just four years after both got their first head coaching opportunities?

I don't think so.

I do think each coach will have the opportunity to get a job at a school from a higher-profile conference for a much higher salary.

A lot of folks believe they'll leave because of money. Why not? Wouldn't any smart person leave for a salary perhaps as much as three or four times what they're making?

Of course, the Nick Sabans and Urban Meyers of the world would.

Over a dozen-year span, Saban jumped from Michigan State to LSU to the Miami Dolphins to Alabama, where he is now the highest-paid college football coach with an 8-year $32 million contract.

Local fans know how Meyer came from Bowling Green to Utah and then to Florida, with his salary going from a couple of hundred thousand to more than a couple of million dollars per year in just four years.

But I think Whittingham and Mendenhall are different. I don't see money as motivating factors in their lives.

Recently Mendenhall was quoted as saying he didn't see himself as a long-term coach and doubting he would be interested in another job.

When I asked Whittingham last week about being the subject of other coaching jobs, he offered the proverbial "no comment" and said he was only focused on this year's football team.

But I remember when he was first hired at Utah, Whittingham called himself "the lowest maintenance guy on the planet" and said "anybody that knows me, knows that money is not even in the equation." And recently he reiterated to me that his attitude toward money hasn't changed.

Whittingham's overall salary is in the $750,000 to $1 million range, including incentives, and Mendenhall's is reportedly in the same ballpark. Those salaries are better than 99 percent of the population and plenty big for comfortable lifestyles. Certainly both coaches will receive raises or be offered extensions by their respective schools after this season.

Another reason for sticking around is family.

Both coaches grew up in Utah and have spent the majority of their lives here. Both have extended families that live in the area. Mendenhall has three elementary school age children and Whittingham has one in high school and one in elementary school. Why pull up roots and leave when you have a good thing going?

Then there's the big-fish-in-a-smaller-pond issue.

Because of the programs they've each built, Whittingham and Mendenhall should always be among the leaders of the MWC for some time to come. Both have solid rosters stocked with talented young players and as good as each team is this year, they could both be even better in 2009.

Going to a school like Washington, you'd start at the bottom and you'd always have solid programs such as USC and Oregon standing in your way every year.

And they could end up like Dan Hawkins.

After compiling a 53-11 mark at Boise State and shunning various offers, Hawkins made the jump in 2006 to the University of Colorado. So far he is 12-22 overall and on his way to his third straight losing season in Boulder.

He might eventually get things turned around, but going up against the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri every year isn't easy. Sometimes you're better off getting a steady diet of Louisiana Tech, Utah State and New Mexico State. Or San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming.

Who knows, perhaps Whittingham or Mendenhall will surprise us and receive an offer they can't refuse, pack their bags and leave the Beehive State.

But I just don't see it happening.

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Bobby Hauck
Current Position:
Head coach at Montana
Age:
44
Overall record:
59-15
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Former Washington DB coach who has been at Montana since 2003; Has led his team to the post season all five seasons with the Grizzlies and has won the Big Sky conference all five seasons; Took Grizzlies to the D-1AA Championship game in 2004 and the semi-finals in 2006; Big Sky coach of the year in both 2006 and 2007.
Positives:
Has recruited the west coast before; Solid talent evaluator; Excellent recruiter; Runs a player friendly offensive scheme.
Negatives:
Learned the coaching and recruiting trade from his mentor Rick Neuheisel; Hasn't been a head coach at the D-1 level; Defenses have been inconsistent at times.

Updated (10/30): It didn't take long for Hauck to show up in the rumor mill for Washington's next head football coach, following Monday's news that Ty Willingham is done after this season with the Huskies. This news comes from Fritz Neighbor of the Missoulian.

Montana's weekly press conference hadn't begun when one of the television reporters asked Hauck if he'd had any phone calls from Seattle.

"Well, no, not yet," Hauck said to laughter. "And hopefully none from Pullman, either."

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Nick Saban
Current Position:
Head coach at Alabama
Age:
57
Overall record:
108-48-1 (NCAA); 15-17 (NFL) (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$3.75 million
Buyout:
$24 million
Notable:
Won national championship at LSU in 2004; was hired by Mark Emmert while he was still provost at LSU.
Positives:
Generally considered one of the top college coaches in the country; well-known name; has won everywhere he's coached at the college level; Can recruit almost anywhere in the country; coached under Don James at Kent State; knows how to build a winner; in two years has Alabama ranked second in the nation; Relationship with Emmert and Scott Woodward.
Negatives:
Somewhat abrasive with the media; had the stigma of being "indecisive" or "going back on his word" when he initially denied being interviewed by or having any interest in the Alabama job while still the head coach of the Miami Dolphins; has never recruited the west coast while a head coach.

Updated (10/29): When he was LSU's chancellor, Mark Emmert hired Saban. The two still speak as friends on a regular basis. Emmert is Washington's president, but Saban said he has not been asked for his opinion on Huskies' opening created when coach Tyrone Willingham stepped down. This is according to Ian Rapoport of the Birmingham (Ala.) News.

"I talked to (Emmert) last year about whether he would keep the coach or replace his coach," Saban said, "but I have not talked to him this year about it."

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Dave Christensen
Current Position:
Assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Missouri
Age:
45
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Coached offensive line at Washington in 1989-1990; Has helped mold the Missouri offense into one of the most potent and explosive in the country; Missouri offense finished fifth nationally averaging 490.29 ypg, eighth nationally at 39.86 ppg and ninth nationally in passing offense totaling 314.07 ypg.
Positives:
Understands culture of Washington football; young and hungry to be a head coach; Overdue to get his chance at a head coaching gig; Understands how to direct an explosive offense; Good talent evaluator.
Negatives:
Unproven as a head coach; has never directed a program; still relatively young.

Updated (10/29): This comes from Dave Matter of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. He opines about the future of Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel, as well as OC Dave Christensen, who both have ties to Washington.

Until Gary Pinkel goes on the record saying he's not interested in the Washington job, we're going to follow the Huskies' coaching search. Here's what I'm hearing from Seattle — and I'm not talking about Pearl Jam:

Washington's No. 1 target could very well be Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, the 37-year-old Nick Saban disciple who spent four years working for Saban at LSU, including a national championship season in 2003. (You remember the madman whose defense splattered Tiger blood all over Royal Stadium two weeks ago, right?)

During Muschamp's time in Baton Rouge, La., LSU's chancellor was a man named Mark Emmert. His administration included Scott Woodward, the school's director of external affairs.

Today, Emmert is president of his alma mater, University of Washington. His athletic director is Woodward, who was promoted to the position full time in September after serving as UW's interim AD for seven months.

Connect the dots and it's easy to see why UW would like to inject some much needed sizzle into its program with a fiery coach like Muscahmp, a candidate with whom the UW heads of state have already formed a connection. Muschamp has zero head-coaching experience and pulls in the Big 12's heftiest salary among coordinators. But his profile is on the rise — enough to where Washington might be his third- or fourth-best job offer. Other suitors could include Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee, that is if jobs open at the latter two schools.

Still, I'm told that Emmert and Woodward could put together a lucrative offer for Pinkel, hoping to satisfy a hungry fan base that's enamored with anything and anyone related to the Don James era of Husky football. Also, there's some feeling in Seattle that UW craves a younger head coach to jumpstart its recruiting, maybe even someone younger than Pinkel, who turned 56 in April.

This isn't the first time Pinkel's been mentioned for the Huskies' job. After the 1998 season, Pinkel interviewed for the head-coaching position that eventually went to Rick Neuhesiel, who after four seasons at UW was fired in 2003 for his infamous participation in an NCAA basketball tournament gambling pool. Some Husky fans were upset when UW went for the flashier candidate rather than Pinkel, a James pupil who was part of 12 straight winning UW teams that played in three Rose Bowls.

As for Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, I'm told he's thought to be on the short list but further down than some of the other more high-profile candidates. Christensen played at UW as a walk-on under James from 1980-82 and returned to Seattle in 1989 to coach the Huskies' offensive linemen for two seasons. He's never been a head coach but last December was a finalist for the head-coaching position at UW's archrival, Washington State. He's also previously interviewed for the top jobs at Akron and Central Michigan.


Updated (10/28): Pinkel also declined to comment about the soon-to-be vacant coaching job at the University of Washington, where he was once an assistant coach under Don James. This news was reported by Dan Angell of the Missourian.

"I'm not doing that," Pinkel said. "To me, that's a distraction. I'm focused on this football game, and that's all I'm going to do."

Washington announced Monday that Tyrone Willingham will be forced to step down as the Huskies' coach at the end of the season, and it is speculated that Pinkel and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, who also has ties to Washington, will be candidates for the job if they are interested.


Updated (10/27): Now that the University of Washington has made it official that Tyrone Willingham will not be returning as head football coach, the speculation will begin if MU head coach Gary Pinkel or his assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Dave Christensen are interested in the position. This news comes from Reid Laymance of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Both are proteges of long-time Washington coach Don James.

Earlier this month, James told the Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian that he didn't expect Pinkel to show an interest in the Washington job despite his ties: "I don't know why he'd even want to consider coming out here, with the facilities he's got and the way he's got it going. I wouldn't know why anybody would want to leave Missouri now."

Although James, who coached Pinkel at Kent State and hired him as an assistant there and at Washington, did say "we'd take him in a heartbeat" if he were interested.

Christensen grew up in Washington state and coached the offensive line at Washington for two seasons under James and played there as well.

Pinkel and Christensen are scheduled to address the media in Columbia today and we'll be back with further details.

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Mike Riley
Current Position:
Head coach at Oregon State
Age:
56
Overall record:
52-41 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.1 million
Buyout:
$1 million
Notable:
Played college football at Alabama for Paul "Bear" Bryant; Won four SEC titles and one national championship (1973) as a player for the Crimson Tide; Has been a head coach in college as well as in the NFL (San Diego) and CFL (Winnipeg); 4-0 in bowl games.
Positives:
Does more with less as far as talent is concerned; Has assembled some great coaching staffs; Teams play hard and are always among the nation's best on defense; Laid the foundation for the Oregon State program to go to their first BCS bowl (Fiesta) and finish ranked number four in the country in 2000; Has beaten number one USC twice in the last three years (2006 and 2008); Recruits the west coast well with one of the smallest recruiting budgets in the conference; Players like playing for him; Has produced numerous NFL draft choices.
Negatives:
He's had varying success at different levels; Teams are consistently solid, but are not considered elite; Has never won a conference title as a head coach; Has relied heavily on junior college talent to build his teams, something he would not be able to do at Washington; Age is a bit of a concern, but not a big drawback; considers Corvalis, Or. his hometown, so he might not be willing to leave.

(Updated 10/29): During Tuesday's Pac-10 conference call, Riley wasn't asked specifically if he'd be interested in the UW job, but gave a general answer that he's not interested in leaving Corvallis.

"I'm really thankful for my second chance," he said. "You don't get very many of those in our business and I appreciated Oregon State's and I'm going to hold on for dear life.''

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Todd Graham
Current Position:
Head coach at Tulsa
Age:
43 (will turn 44 on December 5th)
Overall record:
25-11 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.1 million
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has been rumored to be a target very recently; Has been a head coach at both the high school and collegiate level; defensive background and was the coordinator of one of the top defenses (Tulsa) in the country in 2005.
Positives:
Was a successful coordinator at both West Virginia and Tulsa before becoming a head coach; Took Rice from 1-10 season in 2005 and took them to the New Orleans bowl in his only season as head coach ending in a 7-6 record; has been able to pull some good recruits from an area dominated by Oklahoma and Texas.
Negatives:
Still very young and has only been a head coach for a little over two years; Has never recruited the west coast.

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Bob Gregory
Current Position:
Defensive coordinator at California
Age:
45
Overall record:
Has never been a head coach
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Played defensive back and linebacker at Washington State under Jim Walden; Is a Spokane native; has been a very successful defensive coordinator in seven season at Cal where his team has allowed just 22.4 ppg, which is the second-best mark in the conference during that time; In 12 seasons as a college coach, Gregory's teams have not had a losing season and they have played in 10 bowl games.
Positives:
Solid recruiter and coordinator in the Pac 10; young and hungry; hard-worker; Players love playing for him.
Negatives:
Has never been a head coach at any level.

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Dan Hawkins
Current Position:
Head coach at Colorado
Age:
47 (will turn 48 on November 10th)
Overall record:
68-34 (as of November 2nd)
Salary:
$1.1 million
Buyout:
$2.55 million
Notable:
Was 53-11 at Boise State before heading to Boulder to coach the Buffaloes; Won four-straight WAC titles (2002 – 2005); Boise State averaged 41.6 ppg while Hawkins was the head coach; Scored more than 50 points in 19 games; Went undefeated in the WAC for three straight seasons (2002 – 2004); Son Cody is the starting QB at Colorado.
Positives:
Still young and well-respected by peers as well as players; Runs a very potent offense; Recruits California and the rest of the west coast very well; Has been successful at every level he has coaches (high school, lower-division NCAA, D-1 non-BCS); gets players to play hard for him; understands how to rebuild a traditional power.
Negatives:
With son quarterbacking his team, may be very hard to pull away from Colorado; Buyout is hefty; easier to recruit California kids to Colorado than it is Washington.

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Mike Tice
Current Position:
Assistant head coach/Tight ends coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars
Age:
49
Overall record:
32-33
Salary:
N/A
Buyout:
N/A
Notable:
Has a home in Renton, Wa.; Minnesota Vikings offenses ranked first in rushing (2002) and first in total offense (2003).
Positives:
Players' coach; Has developed several offensive lines that have paved the way for some of the top running offenses in the NFL; wants to be a head coach again; expressed interest in Washington job back in 2004."
Negatives:
Lots of legal issues with Vikings players cost him his job; teams improved every year he was there, but he struggled to maximize the talent available to him.

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