Posted by Chip Patterson
While Minnesota interim head coach Jeff Horton has his hands full this week preparing the Golden Gophers for their conference matchup with Ohio State, athletic director Joe Maturi and the rest of the Minnesota administration are busy trying to narrow the list of coaching candidates. Several high profile names were tossed around initially (Dungy, Leach), but the one that is gaining steam is current Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Marcus R. Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported early Wednesday morning that there was "lots of love being thrown Kevin Sumlin's way all of the sudden." Of all the active coaches on the Golden Gophers' radar, Sumlin is one of their most high profile options. He has only in his third season as a head coach, but his Division I coaching career goes back almost two decades.
There are several factors that make Sumlin seem like a great fit at Minnesota. Maturi has already stated that the next Golden Gophers head coach needed to "get Minnesota," and Sumlin served as an assistant at Minnesota from 1993-1997. Sumlin's staff at Houston also has Minnesota connections, with assistant head coach Tony Levine a former Gophers WR and Minnesota native. He is already getting endorsements from the Gophers football community, most recently from former offensive line coach Gordy Shaw.
Sumlin appears to be a great fit for Minnesota, and a much more favorable option to throwing a ton of money at an inactive coach. At 46, Sumlin still has a lengthy career ahead and with all of the personal connections to the area (his wife is a native as well), could be interested in setting up shop for the long term.