What we have here appears to be a case of very premature speculation. Again.
Less than 24 hours after reports began to emerge — again — that Miami was on the verge of hiring Jon Gruden as Randy Shannon‘s replacement, the day will almost certainly end the exact same way it started — the Hurricanes still searching for a new head coach, Gruden still searching for the right coaching opportunity. Whether those two searches will ultimately intersect again at some point in the future remains to be seen.
What we do know — we think — at this point in time is that Gruden and UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt met today in Tampa to discuss the school’s opening. According to the Miami Herald, the talks were merely exploratory in nature and, most importantly, there was no job offer made.
“Gruden was cordial, he listened to everything UM had to say but no offer was made,” an unnamed Board of Trustees member told the Herald. “He said he didn’t want to go further because he is keeping all his options open, including the NFL.
“He didn’t say yes. He didn’t so no. But in effect, it’s probably a no because it will take months before the NFL jobs come open and UM can’t wait that long.”
And the school certainly won’t wait that long, either, as the plan is for Hocutt to now focus his attention on the other candidates that litter his list. It’s unclear exactly which direction candidate-wise the university will head next, but it most certainly will include an exploration of Mississippi State at some point in the very near future; reports have previously indicated that MSU’s Dan Mullen has been sitting at or near the top of Hocutt’s wish list if Gruden is unavailable. Two sources have confirmed to CFT that Mullen would be Hocutt’s top choice if the pursuit of Gruden failed, although there are some close to the situation and with say in the hiring of a new coach who are not sold on the Bulldogs current head coach.
Other names that have been mentioned include Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, UConn’s Randy Edsall, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, Arizona’s Mike Stoops and Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville. Obviously, the school has neither confirmed nor denied the identities of any candidates they may or may not be pursuing.