Coming off the SEC championship and BCS Championship Game appearance, Auburn has seen members of the support staff move on to other job opportunities this offseason. Sitting with five spots now open on Auburn’s support staff, head coach Gus Malzahn does not appear to be losing any sleep on the positions. He may not even bother to fill them.
“I don’t know at this point if I’ll fill them all, but I’m very encouraged and happy for the guys that moved on,” Malzahn said in a report by AL.com. “They did a wonderful job here, helped us get to the national championship game. They’re all very good people and they’re very good coaches, so we wish them nothing but the best.”
The positions left vacant this offseason focus on player development. As far as the pecking order of staff responsibilities go in a football program, these are generally on one of the bottom rungs. Some programs use them to keep some staff members close to the program and potentially train and prepare them for an on-field coaching position. Auburn’s staff is still sitting with 16 members on the support staff, so it is not as though the Tigers are lacking in personnel.
One of the bigger storylines of this offseason is the annual coaching carousel and where former LSU head coach Les Miles will land.
The longtime coach has stated he wants to coach again in 2017, and has plenty of credentials — over 100 wins, SEC and national championships — but where he will find a fit is one of the bigger mysteries.
A lot of folks have noted that he could be in the running for the Purdue job (Miles is a Big Ten man at heart) but it appears that will not be the case. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, a source told him to cross Miles’s name off of Purdue’s list.
There are not a ton of big openings at the moment so with the Boilermakers reportedly off the table, it might be a long offseason for the former LSU coach. Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck have been the two biggest names mentioned with the Purdue search but it appears unlikely any movement happens before this weekend.
Thamel also mentions Miles could be in the mix at Houston, which would be fascinating given his years at Oklahoma State and over a decade spent a few hours East in Baton Rouge. Either way, it looks like the carousel has a few more spins left in it this month.
Colorado plays Washington on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game but that hasn’t stopped the coaching carousel from taking a break.
Rumors have circulated that Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre is a candidate at Baylor and that he would be interviewing with the Bears either today or tomorrow. Colorado’s sports information director wanted no part of those reports continuing to flourish however, and took to Twitter to vehemently deny them.
That is… quite the denial.
At the same time, you can understand why Baylor wants to speak with MacIntyre give his credentials for turning around the program, his moral values and the fact that he was just named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year.
If it’s not meant to be however, the school will no doubt be turning to other candidates this weekend, possibly including fellow Pac-12 coach Sonny Dykes at Cal.
Win or lose Saturday, Western Kentucky may have already lost its head coach. Reportedly.
Speculation had been mounting late Thursday night and on into Friday morning that Purdue had zeroed in on WKU’s Jeff Brohm as its next head coach. One Indianapolis radio personality even went so far as to call Brohm-to-Purdue all but a done deal.
That said, Rick Bozich of WDRB in Louisville subsequently reported that a source close to Brohm claimed that Dakich’s tweet “is 100-percent not true. It’s completely false.” The source did allow that, once the coach’s team finishes up the regular season, “[h]e’ll consider his future after that.”
Brohm, incidentally, is not represented by an agent, per Bozich.
Given Brohm’s connections to that area of the country — he played at Louisville and coached at his alma mater as well — he could also wait to see how the situation at Cincinnati plays out. Tommy Tuberville’s buyout with the Bearcats will be substantially reduced the middle of next week, and Brohm could very well be in play as a replacement.
In Brohm’s three seasons in Bowling Green, the Hilltoppers 29 games and one Conference USA championship. WKU could add a second consecutive title as they will face Louisiana Tech in the league championship game Saturday.
Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck has been the name most connected to the Purdue opening. The Boilermakers could talk to Fleck saturday, after WMU’s MAC championship game appearance against Ohio Friday night. Depending on how such a conversation, if it even happens, goes would determine what if anything would happen on the Brohm front.
Les Miles has also been mentioned as a possibility at Purdue as well.
Earlier in the week it was reported that Lane Kiffin was in the mix to fill the head coaching vacancy at Houston. Come Sunday, or shortly thereafter, the Alabama offensive coordinator may be taking the next step in returning to lead his own college football program.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, SBNation.com‘s Steven Godfrey is reporting that Kiffin will interview for the Houston job after Alabama’s SEC Championship game against Florida Saturday afternoon. Kiffin has also been mentioned as a possibility to take over the coordinator role at LSU, giving his current head coach motive to campaign for him to land the Cougars job.
From Godfrey’s report:
Multiple sources have also confirmed to SB Nation that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is actively promoting Kiffin to Houston, ostensibly to keep his OC from jumping to a division rival next season.
Kiffin is in his third season as the Crimson Tide’s coordinator. He has been a head coach at the collegiately level on two different occasions, compiling an overall record of 28-15 during stops at Tennessee (2009) and USC (2010-13). He also had a disastrous stay with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, posting a 4-12 record his first year before being fired after a 1-3 start to his second season.
Cougars offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will also interview for the job. Orlando is serving as UH’s interim head coach and will coach the Cougars in their bowl game. Ex-LSU head coach Les Miles and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley have also been connected to the opening.