Coaching carousel, name dropping in full swing
Here we go again: Another off-season, another December of USF coach Jim Leavitt's name being dropped for high-level openings across the country. He's been courted and talked with schools like Alabama and Kansas State in the past, so it's not something to scoff at, two years after he signed a seven-year, $7-million contract to stay with the Bulls.
USF's success and rise in the national polls this season will only add to the likelihood that Leavitt be mentioned on speculative short lists, along with defensive line coach Dan McCarney, who was head coach at Iowa State before this season.
One job Leavitt isn't getting? Texas A&M, where his name had been tossed around, but reports today have former Packers coach Mike Sherman stepping in there. Various reports have Duke's Ted Roof, Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey and Southern Miss' Jeff Bowers joining Ole Miss' Ed Orgeron and Nebraska's Bill Callahan as newly out of work, and while Tech's athletic administration has former USF athletic director Paul Griffin, who launched USF's football program with Leavitt, it seems unlikely that any of those jobs would be a match for Leavitt.
The Omaha World-Herald on Sunday listed Leavitt as one of five potential candidates to succeed Bill Callahan at Nebraska. Leavitt has Big 12 ties, having played at Missouri and coached at Kansas State, but he has no direct history with Nebraska, which is reportedly looking at LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who coached in Lincoln, and Buffalo coach Turner Gill, who played and coached there.
Sportingnews.com is dropping McCarney as a "hot name" for the Southern Methodist job, also reiterating that Central Florida coach George O'Leary would be in the mix at Syracuse if Greg Robinson doesn't return, as well as Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, who is a Syracuse alum. McCarney's name has been mentioned at Northern Illinois as well.
USF is expecting enough media inquiries about coaches that their sports information department sent out a pre-emptive e-mail Monday, stating that athletic director Doug Woolard and senior associate AD Bill McGillis would not be commenting on coaching searches, so there won't be any official confirmation of schools requesting permission to speak with USF coaches.
We'll keep you updated on which coaches are being mentioned where, so stay tuned. ...