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Bulls AD Mark Harlan reportedly a candidate for Arkansas vacancy

By Joey Knight
Published: December 4, 2017 Updated: December 4, 2017 at 06:56 PM
USF athletic director Mark Harlan reportedly may have interviewed for the same job at Arkansas. (ANDRES LEIVA | TIMES)

USF athletic director Mark Harlan wouldn't flatly deny a weekend report that he may have interviewed for the same job at Arkansas, which apparently has gone to one of his conference peers.

Various outlets reported late Monday afternoon the Razorbacks hired Houston's Hunter Yurachek.

"I would say quite candidly that I absolutely love it at USF," Harlan said from his office late Monday morning when asked if he had interviewed for the job.

Harlan had been mentioned prominently as a candidate to replace Razorbacks AD Jeff Long, fired in November. On Monday, reported that a plane registered to the Razorback Foundation flew on Sunday from Fayetteville to Little Rock and on to Tampa, then flew to Tulsa and back to Little Rock before finishing in Fayetteville.

The plane stopped for multiple hours in Tampa and Tulsa and made short stops in Little Rock. Tulsa athletic director Derrick Gragg also was believed to be a solid candidate for the vacancy.

Longtime Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Wally Hall tweeted Harlan may have been among those who have interviewed for the job.

"I think when you have the success that our coaches and student-athletes have, I guess it's a tribute to that success that you would be linked to any such opportunity," Harlan said. "But all I can say is I absolutely love it at USF."

Harlan, a Los Angeles native and Arizona alumnus, is wrapping up his fourth football season as the school's athletic director, and was widely hailed for landing Charlie Strong after former Bulls coach Willie Taggart left for Oregon.

While the men's basketball program has remained in the American Athletic Conference basement on his watch, USF's student-athletes just posted a Graduation Success Rate of better than 80 percent for the fourth consecutive year.