Brandon grad Grant could come home for Bulls job
USF coach Skip Holtz has kept his search for a new receivers coach very quiet, but we can report a candidate with both local ties and a history with Holtz's staff: former Brandon High and Nebraska quarterback Mike Grant, who is currently the running backs coach at North Texas.
Grant, 42, spent three seasons at Iowa State with current USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch -- from 2004-06, Grant was the Cyclones' receivers coach while Fitch was the quarterbacks coach. His roots are in the Tampa area, as he starred at Brandon High before going to Nebraska as a quarterback from 1989-92; he was a graduate assistant on Nebraska's national championship squads in 1994 and 1995.
Grant, who by coincidence works under a pair of former USF assistants at North Texas in head coach Dan McCarney and coordinator Mike Canales, could not be reached for comment Thursday. It's unknown how far along in the hiring process Holtz has come, though he's believed to be interviewing candidates this week. He's seeking a replacement for Phil McGeoghan, who left the Bulls after three seasons to become the Dolphins' assistant receivers coach.
Two other potential candidates with ties to Holtz -- former South Carolina and Tennessee assistant David Reaves and former Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood -- have expressed interest in the position but said they haven't talked with Holtz. Reaves, who spent the last two years as offensive coordinator at New Mexico, coached with Holtz at South Carolina in 2004, and has roots to Tampa as his father, John, played quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bandits and Bucs and still lives in Tampa.
Haywood was a teammate of Holtz during their senior year at Notre Dame in 1996. Haywood lost his job at Pittsburgh's head coach after only two weeks last year due to a domestic battery arrest, and while those charges were recently dismissed, the nature of the arrest could continue to hinder his ability to return to college football.
Of the receivers who have played under Holtz in his coaching career, few have stayed in football -- Notre Dame's Lake Dawson is now the Titans' vice president of player personnel, having worked his way up through the NFL scouting ranks over the last 11 years. The Times obtained a list of the formal applicants for the job, which include former USC and Lions receiver Johnnie Morton, a 1994 first-round draft pick who has 624 career receptions but limited coaching experience, none at the collegiate level.