Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:27 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Penn State is expected to announce the hiring of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien on Saturday, according to CBSSports.com NFL reporter Mike Freeman. That brings a merciful end to the Penn State coaching search, as the PSU job was the last to be filled in all of the FBS.
The thing is, however, if reports are true, O'Brien won't be on Penn State's campus immediately -- and the wait could potentially extend past a very important deadline. According to Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter Ian Rapoport, O'Brien will remain the Patriots' offensive coordinator throughout the playoffs. And while the NFL playoffs start this weekend, the Patriots' season won't be ending so soon. New England is the top seed in the AFC, meaning the Patriots have a bye week this week, and are the favorite to make it to Super Bowl XLVI.
Penn State fans should be rooting for an early upset for the Pats, though, because if the Patriots do make it to the Super Bowl, O'Brien's going to be a member of that staff until February 5. That date is important, because Signing Day -- the first day that college football recruits can sign letters of intent with their preferred school -- is the preceding Tuesday, February 1. Now, top seeds are hardly locks to make the Super Bowl in today's NFL, but the Patriots under Bill Belichick have one of the best track records in the playoffs of any NFL franchise over the last decade or so.
O'Brien is expected to do some recruiting while he's still with New England, and he wouldn't be the first coach to pull double-duty like this; Rapoport also noted on his feed that Charlie Weis did so at New England as he prepared to take over Notre Dame, and Sylvester Croom was similarly stretched between Green Bay and Mississippi State when he was first hired. Unfortunately, as Rapoport also noted, such double duty hampered the coaches' first recruiting classes considerably, and it's also worth noting that both coaches were fired after five seasons -- right when that first recruiting class would have been full of redshirt seniors.
It would then behoove Penn State to retain Tom Bradley (the defensive coordinator-turned-interim coach who has led the team since the Penn State Board of Trustees fired longtime coach Joe Paterno on November 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal) and offer him his old position as defensive coordinator, much in the same way that Ohio State has honored interim head coach Luke Fickell since the hiring of Urban Meyer. That way, Bradley can also focus his efforts on recruiting and salvage a Penn State class that by Big Ten standards is mediocre, and by Penn State standards is subpar.
It does not portend well for Bradley's future with Penn State, however, that the only word from him was that he had not been told of any hiring plans by the school as of Thursday night, according to Blue White Illustrated. If Bradley is not motivated to remain committed to the recruiting trail for Penn State while O'Brien tries to balance recruiting and coaching the Patriots for however long New England's season lasts, Penn State's recruiting class will undoubtedly suffer, and that's another hurdle that this suddenly flailing program does not need to have added to the race ahead.
For more breaking news on Penn State, follow the team's RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush.
Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Big Ten, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Bill O'Brien Hired, Bill O'Brien Resume, Charlie Weis, Coaching Searches, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Luke Fickell, Mississippi State, New England Patriots, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Penn State Coaching Search, Sylvester Croom, Tom Bradley, Urban Meyer
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:18 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
After being linked with many of the higher profile FBS job vacancies this offseason, Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones has decided to firm up his commitment to the Bearcats. Jones and school have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will extend through the 2017 season.
"I think in the next couple of days we'll be able to announce something," Jones said after Monday's bowl practice. "We say we're building the best college football program in America. We have a great thing here. There's a lot of excitement here."
Jones has reportedly been working with athletic director Whit Babcock on a new contract for several weeks. The term sheet has been signed, but the contract still must be approved by the Board of Trustees. The Bearcats are currently preparing to play Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 in Memphis.
Jones helped lead the Bearcats on a five-win turnaround in his second season after a disappointing 4-8 finish in 2010. With their win over Connecticut in the regular season finale, Cincinnati earned a share of their third Big East conference title in four years. Jones' impressive turnaround earned him Big East Coach of the Year honors, as well as some attention from other programs looking for a new coach. The second-year Cincinnati coach was contacted by North Carolina, Illinois, and UCLA regarding their open coaching positions, but Jones never expressed serious interest in any of the opportunities.
"I believe in what we're building," Jones explained. "I think there's so many great things to building a successful football program and not just a successful team. We have great practice facilities now. We're in a conference that we can be extremely competitive in, we have a great fan base. We've got a great place to attract the top-caliber student athletes to."
Before departing for the Notre Dame position, Brian Kelly led the Bearcats to three straight 10+ win seasons from 2007-2009. With a win over Vanderbilt in the bowl game on New Years Eve, Jones will have Cincinnati back at the 10-win mark for the fourth time in five years.
Get all the latest updates on Cincinnati and Vanderbilt at our Liberty Bowl Pregame
Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:27 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
After losing head coach Larry Fedora to the North Carolina job, Southern Miss needed to find a new face to head its football program. It has apparently found that new head coach in South Carolina defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Ellis Johnson.
Johnson, who is three days away from his 60th birthday, has reportedly accepted an offer from USM after interviewing with school president Martha Saunders on Monday night, according to the Clarion-Ledger, and is expected to accept the job as early as Tuesday. Johnson has a brief history with Southern Miss, as he was the defensive coordinator there in 1988 and 1989.
The South Carolina defense ranked in the Top 15 nationally in total defense in three of Johnson's four years in Columbia, and this year was the Gamecocks' best of the four. South Carolina ranked second nationally in pass efficiency defense this season, and fourth nationally (behind three other SEC teams, of course).
Prior to his time at South Carolina, Johnson spent time at various teams in the SEC and elsewhere in the southeastern U.S, including a four-year stint as Alabama's defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2000. Johnson was the head coach at the Citadel, his alma mater, from 2001-03; he managed a 12-22 record there before taking a job as Mississippi State's defensive coordinator in 2004.
No announcements of an impending hire have been made by Southern Miss, and no reports have surface about any contract terms that Johnson may have agreed to, but the "two sources with direct knowledge of the search" at USM that the Clarion-Ledger cited have indicated that the hire is a done deal.
CBSSports.com will provide more informaton when it becomes available.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 4:06 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Arizona State's search to replace Dennis Erickson has been an interesting one to follow. The school was originally in talks with, and made an offer to, Kevin Sumlin before those fell apart and Sumlin eventually ended up with Texas A&M. Then there was June Jones, who was actually being reported as the school's new head coach, but that deal fell apart at the last second as well.
So now Arizona State remains without a head coach while its conference mates like Washington State and Arizona have made big splash hires with Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez. So where are the Sun Devils turning their attention to now?
Multiple reports have the school being interested in Utah's Kyle Whittingham. The Arizona Republic confirmed the interest on Monday.
Whittingham has been at Utah since 1994, moving up the ranks to become head coach in 2005 after some guy named Urban Meyer left to take a job at Florida. The Utes are 65-25 under Whittingham, including a 13-0 season in 2008 that ended with a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. However, Utah went 7-5 in its first season as a member of the Pac-12.
Whether Whittingham is interested in leaving Utah for Arizona State is a big question as well. He signed a 5-year contract worth $6 million following that Sugar Bowl victory, and still has two years left on the deal. So unless Arizona State is willing to offer a significant raise, I'm just not sure Arizona State is even much of a step up the coaching ladder for Whittingham, especially considering the history he has with the Utah program.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 3:16 am
Edited on: December 10, 2011 2:14 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
After letting go of head coach Rick Neuheisel and attempting to hire several big names, UCLA has finally found a head coach.
Former Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim L. Mora will be the new coach in Westwood, the school announced Saturday morning. The Bruins had attempted to hire Boise State's Chris Petersen, Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Washington's Steve Sarkisian before Mora took the job. This will be the first time the Bruins have hired a head coach who has not been an assistant coach or player at the school since 1949. The LA Times first reported the news Friday night.
"As someone who has been around the game of football my entire life, I have always held the UCLA job in the highest esteem," Mora said in the release. "Given its location and its tradition, UCLA is truly a sleeping giant and I realize that an opportunity of this magnitude doesn't present itself more than once in a career, so I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin."
Mora has been out of coaching since 2009 after being let go by the Seahawks. He has been in the NFL since 1985, including stops in San Diego, New Orleans, San Francisco and Atlanta. In four seasons as a head coach, Mora compiled a 31-33 overall record and reached the NFC championship game in 2004 before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Mora was serving as an analyst for the NFL Network the past two years before being hired by UCLA. Better known as Jim Mora Jr., he lived in Los Angeles when his father, Jim Sr., coached at the school in 1974. The 50-year-old also played defensive back at Washington in the early 1980's.
"UCLA has always been a place of high expectations, as it applies to our students, our faculty, our researchers and, not least of all, our athletic program. With more NCAA championships than any other university, the reality is that our fans count on us to be great. The hiring of Jim L. Mora as head coach of UCLA football proves that this is still a place where champions are made and integrity matters," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
The Bruins went 6-7 on the season under Neuheisel, losing 50-0 to crosstown rival USC and most recently to Oregon in the first ever Pac-12 Championship game last week.
UCLA will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on December 31 with offensive coordinator Mike Johnson serving as interim head coach.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Boise State, Bryan Fischer, Chris Petersen, Coaching Changes, Coaching Searches, Houston, Jim L. Mora, Jim Mora Jr., Jim MOra Sr., Kevin Sumlin, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Mike Johnson, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Oregon, Pac-12, Philadelphia Eagles, Rick Neuheisel, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Steve Sarkisian, UCLA, USC, Washington
Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:09 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 9:09 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
UCLA is searching for a new head coach after letting go Rick Neuheisel before the Pac-12 Championship game. And searching and searching. And searching.
They tried Boise State's Chris Petersen, checked in on others such as Houston's Kevin Sumlin and now, apparently, have moved onto someone with local ties. According to the LA Times, UCLA officials have approached Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian about the vacancy but the efforts have "fallen on deaf ears."
Sarkisian has several ties to the Los Angeles area, hailing from nearby Torrance, Calif. and spending several years as an assistant at USC. Washington athletic director Scott Woodward told the Seattle Times on Friday that officials have not asked to talk to the 37-year-old head coach.
"Steve, I know, hasn't talked to them, as far as I know," Woodward said via phone, adding, "I don't think anything is imminent. I'm not worried.''
After taking over a winless Huskies team in 2008, Sarkisian has guided the program to back-to-back bowl games in 2010 and 2011. He signed a new five-year contract with the school at the end of last year that will pay him up to $2.85 million in the final year of the deal with a $2.5 million buyout. Washington is also making a significant investment in facilities to upgrade the program, which includes a $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium.
"I have not been contacted, no,'' Sarkisian said after practice Friday.
Washington plays Baylor in the Alamo Bowl on December 29th.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 12:54 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It appears that Illinois may be close to finding a new head coach to replace Ron Zook.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois is "zeroing in" on Toledo head coach Tim Beckman.
The report says that Beckman was meeting with his Toledo coaching staff on Thursday morning and also has a news conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon in which he is supposed to talk about Toledo's game against Air Force in the Military Bowl.
Beckman does meet the criteria that Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said he was looking for in finding a replacement. He has head coaching experience having been at Toledo since 2008. He also has experience coaching under Jim Tressel at Ohio State and Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, and has strong recruiting ties in the Midwest because of it.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne is in New York this week, and he's getting some work done while he's there as A&M looks to replace Mike Sherman. He's reportedly interviewed a number of different candidates this week and the latest candidate according to the Houston Chronicle is Air Force's Troy Calhoun.
According to the paper Calhoun had an interview with Byrne on Tuesday.
The report also says that Byrne has met with Kevin Sumlin, Larry Fedora -- who has since accepted the North Carolina job --Alabama's Kirby Smart along with Calhoun over the last two days. Sumlin is still believed to be the frontrunner for the job.
Calhoun has been at Air Force since 2007 and has had his name come up at numerous jobs the last few seasons, as he was even a candidate for the Denver Broncos job earlier this year, but he's yet to leave the service academy. He's 41-23 in his five seasons at Air Force, and has gone to a bowl game in every season.
Texas A&M is hoping to have its new coach by the end of the week, and the report says an announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.