More than a few people were, to say the least, mildly surprised that Randy Shannon “failed” to land another job after being fired by Miami late last year. Sure, he was linked to several openings — including head-coaching vacancies at Minnesota and Vanderbilt; interviewing for the defensive coordinator openings at UCLA and Texas; and was reportedly offered, but turned down, the same job at Maryland — but nothing on the 2011 job front ever actually came to fruition.
While part of the reason could very well be monetary — he’s receiving a healthy sum to not coach the ‘Canes in 2011 — there could be another, currently occupied job he has his sights set on.
In a little blurb that appears at the end of a Sunday notes-style piece, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that “[f]riends said [Shannon] would love the Arizona head job if it comes open.” Well, that’s certainly an interesting little tidbit to toss out there.
Of course, and despite the unfortunate choice of words by Jackson that would’ve had Beavis and/or Butthead doubled-over in cackling laughter back in their heyday, Mike Stoops has held the Wildcats’ “head job” since 2004. He’s come under increasing fire of late, however, for his record during those seven seasons. Stoops is just 40-45 overall — 27-35 in Pac-10 play — during his time with the Wildcats, and has just one bowl win — the Las Vegas Bowl in 2008 — in three attempts. The only time a Stoops-led team has finished above fifth place in the conference was a 6-3 mark that was good for a three-way tie for second in 2009.
It would certainly make sense that Shannon would be interested in just about any job at a BcS-level school that comes open later this year or early next as he’s made it perfectly clear that he wants to return to coaching. Shannon, though, doesn’t seem to be the type of person who would — anonymously or otherwise — toss his name into the mix for a job that’s not yet vacant. Especially when you consider the fact that he and Stoops share the same agent.
Be that as it may, and considering we are in a major lull in college football news, the rumor tossed out there by the Herald is definitely something to chew on for a little while and then filed away for future reference if/when talk of Stoops and his future at Arizona heats up.
Washington State has hired Jeff Phelps to coach its defensive line, the program announced late Friday night.
Phelps arrives from Minnesota, where he spent the past six seasons in the same capacity. Ironically, Phelps’s final game as a Gopher came against… Washington State. His defensive line finished the 2016 season ranking 12th nationally in tackles for loss, 14th in rushing defense and 22nd in sacks.
“Jeff is a passionate football coach and a true technician of the game,” Wazzu head coach Mike Leach said in a statement. “He coaches with great energy, is a strong recruiter and brings with him a track record of being a part of great defenses.”
Phelps takes over for Joe Salave’a, who reportedly signed a new deal with the Cougars in December before leaving for Oregon earlier this month.
Washington State finished last season ranked 29th nationally in rushing defense (up from 95th in 2015), but 103rd in sacks and tied for 67th in tackles for loss.
Well, so much for all that.
Amid reports of a tug-of-war between Gus Malzahn and the Auburn administration, it appears the coach has got his man.
Auburn will hire Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to the same post, the Tigers announced Saturday.
“I’m excited to welcome Chip Lindsey to the Auburn family,” Malzahn said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead our offense and his strength in developing quarterbacks makes him the perfect fit. Chip is a man of integrity and character who will fit well within our staff. He has great knowledge and enthusiasm for the game and is a rising star in this profession.”
Like Malzahn, Lindsey is a longtime high school coach. His break came when Malzahn hired him to his original staff as an analyst; the Tigers’ improbable worst-to-first run to the SEC championship and BCS national title game spring-boarded Lindsey to the offensive coordinator post at Southern Miss, where he helped the Eagles jump from 102nd nationally in yards per play in Lindsey’s first season to sixth in his second and final season in Hattiesburg.
Lindsey spent but one season at Arizona State, where the Sun Devils finished 103rd in yards per play.
He’ll take over a jekyll-and-hyde offense that ranked 87th in yards per play in September and 83rd in November, but placed sixth in October. The Tigers have added a high-wattage transfer in former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
“My family and I are very excited to return to Auburn and our home state,” Lindsey said. “Both are very special places to us. I looking forward to reuniting with Coach Malzahn and his staff. They are great coaches and great people. I look forward to being part of something special and helping Auburn win championships.”
Nebraska and Arkansas have met just once on the field, in the 1965 Cotton Bowl. But the Huskers and Hogs have now met twice in the only college athletics competition more cutthroat than the actual games — hiring coaches.
Arkansas famously held off Nebraska for Houston Nutt‘s services in 2004 (before you scoff, Nutt led the Hogs to the 2006 SEC West title, and Nebraska wound up hiring Bill Callahan) and now the Cornhuskers have returned the favor.
Nebraska hired Bob Diaco as its defensive coordinator this week, nabbing the former Connecticut head coach and Notre Dame defensive coordinator after he’d finished an interview with Arkansas. Sean Callahan of Husker Online explains from here:
Head coach Mike Riley said they stopped Diaco’s plane in the air on his way back from Arkansas and got him to fly to Lincoln last Thursday from Chicago. Riley said from there, they weren’t letting Diaco leave Lincoln until he accepted the job.
The money didn’t hurt. Nebraska handed Diaco a 2-year contract worth $1.7 million in total, making him the highest-paid assistant in program history.
Auburn does not have an offensive coordinator yet, which is odd. The Tigers have an explosive offense with a lot of returning parts. They have Jarrett Stidham coming in to play quarterback. They have a boatload of money. And they have a boatload of money.
According to a report from James Crepea of AL.com, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and “people with influence over the program” can’t agree on who should replace Rhett Lashlee.
Malzahn is said to prefer Florida Atlantic offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and NC State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz. Lindsey and Drinkwitz worked for Malzahn previously, and Malzahn has built a working relationship with the Briles family — Stidham and running back Kam Martin transferred from Waco to Auburn, and Art Briles visited a Tigers practice this season.
But Auburn donors, Crepea writes, have nixed those choices, saying Briles is too inexperienced and Lindsey and Drinkwitz are too close to Malzahn.
Instead, donors preferred Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone (who has already been crossed off the list) or Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich (ditto). Mark Helfrich does not seem like a viable option at this time.
With less than two weeks until National Signing Day, the urgency to bring someone to the South Plains only grows stronger.