Posted on: December 14, 2010 10:55 am

Report: Franklin set to become Vandy head coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We'll forgive you if you want to take this Washington Post report concerning the vacant Vanderbilt head coaching position with enough salt to make the Morton girl jealous, what with their last effort -- you know, the one that said the Commodores only had to iron out the details before Gus Malzahn took the job -- not exactly standing as a beacon of journalism.

All the same, there's no doubt a reporter writing under a blog named "Terrapins Insider" has better sources on the Maryland end than the Vandy end, and so it's best to pay attention when he writes this:

James Franklin , Maryland’s offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting, is expected to become the next head football coach at Vanderbilt, according to two sources close to Franklin with knowledge of the negotiations.

Contract details are being negotiated today, and barring an unforeseen road block, Franklin could be announced as Vanderbilt’s head coach today or tomorrow.
This would make a lot of sense for Vandy: Franklin was by all accounts their second choice all along, and if he's not bothered by the school's preference for Malzahn -- and why would he, given that he can now demand a salary at least in the same ballpark as the 'Dores blockbuster offer to Malzahn, reportedly in the neighborhood of a guaranteed $15 million over five years -- there's no reason to start the search over again elsewhere.

It also makes a lot of sense for Franklin, who no doubt had little interest in remaining behind Ralph Friedgen for another year in College Park and will be bagging a hefty raise in the process. Put both sides together, and there's no reason to think the WaPo is crying wolf at us again.

Franklin's departure also probably signals the end of the coach-in-waiting trend for good; with two high-profile desertions out of the coaching on-deck circle this week coming on the heels of last offseason's acrimonious Bobby Bowden departure and the NCAA's restrictions on the coach-in-waiting's recruiting efforts, at this point the potential boost to staff continuity doesn't appear to be worth the headaches that come with it.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 2:10 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 5:01 pm

Gus Malzahn staying at Auburn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: Auburn has confirmed that Malzahn will be staying at the school, and he's gotten himself a raise and a contract extension to boot.

It looks like there is more to life than money after all.  

After reports surfaced over the weekend that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn had accepted an offer that would pay him $3 million a year to be the new head coach at Vanderbilt -- reports that later became the offer has been made but Malzahn hadn't accepted anything -- it looks like Malzahn will be staying at Auburn for at least another season.

However, after contacting the Auburn athletic department, the school could neither confirm or deny that this report is accurate.

Obviously, if the report is correct, this is a bit of a blow to Vanderbilt, who seemed to think that Malzahn was coming.  Or, at the least, was really hoping he would come. Instead the Commodores will have to turn their attention elsewhere, perhaps to Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin.

On the flip side, this is good news for Auburn and Gene Chizik.  Not having Cam Newton in 2011 would be a big enough obstacle to overcome, and losing the mastermind behind the Auburn offensive attack would have only made things worse.  Of course, just because Malzahn has turned down Vanderbilt, that doesn't mean it's a certainty he'll be back at Auburn next season.  After all, there are other coaching vacancies out there, and it's obvious that becoming a head coach is Malzahn's ultimate goal.

The question at this point becomes does the Pitt job hold any appeal to him, or will he prefer to stay at Auburn for another season and see what opens up next year.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:56 am

Vandy keeping fingers crossed on Malzahn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Gus Malzahn had accepted an offer to become the next head coach at Vanderbilt.  The news generally led to three reactions.  People either thought it was a great hire for Vanderbilt, wondered what the hell Malzahn was thinking, or, if you were an Auburn fan, will Malzahn be sticking around for the title game?

Well, it seems we all reacted a bit too quickly.  Apparently the Post report was a bit premature, because according to Vanderbilt, Malzahn hasn't accepted anything yet.  Though the school is crossing its fingers super hard hoping that he does decide to accept it soon.
Vanderbilt denied a report Sunday that it had hired Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn as its next head football coach.
But director of communications Rod Williamson said Vanderbilt hopes the report would be accurate very soon.

Word from Auburn is that Malzahn is still weighing his options.  

It is a bit of a tough call for Malzahn to make, as if the reports are true, and Vandy is guaranteeing him $3 million a year, it's hard to turn that money down.  On the other hand, what has proven harder over time, is winning at Vanderbilt.  Another factor Malzahn may be considering, at least I would be if I were him, is the fact that his star will never shine brighter than it is right now as an offensive coordinator.  I think it's safe to say that after everything he's had to deal with this season, Cam Newton will not be coming back next season, and as good a coach as Malzahn is, having Newton makes him look even better.

Should Auburn struggle next season, odds are Malzahn won't get any offer nearly as lucrative as the one Vanderbilt is reportedly offering him.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:55 am
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Posted on: December 12, 2010 6:34 pm

Report: Al Golden to accept Miami job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well it seems as though all the head coaching vacancies are being filled this weekend.  First Will Muschamp takes over at Florida, then Gus Malzahn moves north to Vanderbilt, and now it seems Miami has found its new head coach as well.  No, it's not Jon Gruden, apparently it's Temple's Al Golden. According to reports, Golden has been offered the Miami job, and is expected to accept it though the deal has not been finalized as of yet.

Golden has been at Temple since 2008, when he took over a program that had gone 0-11 the year before he showed up.  The Owls went 1-11 in his first season at the school, but Golden has turned the program around the last two seasons, winning 19 games.  The Owls went to a bowl game in 2009, and should have gone to another this year, but were left out despite an 8-4 record with a win over Fiesta Bowl-bound UConn.

Golden has always been an excellent recruiter, and now he'll be unleashed upon the recruiting hotbed that is the state of Florida.  Of course, getting talent to Miami hasn't exactly been a problem the last few years.  It will be taking that talent and turning it into victories that will be Golden's biggest task in South Beach.

There is no word on whether or not Golden will take over in time to coach the Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame.
Posted on: December 12, 2010 5:44 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 6:47 pm

Report: Vandy hires Gus Malzahn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday news broke that Will Muschamp had decided to leave Texas to take over the head coaching job at Florida , and now today it seems that another big-name coordinator is moving on to a head coaching job.  According to a report in the Washington Post , Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has agreed to take the head coaching job at Vanderbilt.
The Post's Eric Prisbell has been told that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has accepted Vanderbilt's offer to become the Commodores' next football coach.
Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin was a candidate for the Vanderbilt job, and was seen as the Commodores' second choice after Malzahn.

If this is true, this is a huge hire for Vanderbilt.  Malzahn has been incredibly successful just about everywhere he's gone, and we've all seen what he's been able to do with Cam Newton and the Auburn offense this season.  Of course, he won't be able to bring Cam Newton with him to Nashville.
Still, this is a very good first step for the Vanderbilt program if it's ever going to experience success in the SEC and put an end to being a conference doormat.  As for Malzahn, if he's able to win at Vanderbilt, he'll be able to pick any job he wants at any price he wants in a few years.

UPDATE: CBS's own Dennis Dodd -- along with an awful lot of other outlets -- are reporting that Malzahn-to-Nashville isn't quite a done deal yet. It seems likely that the Post 's source would be Franklin or someone close to him who'd been told the Commodores had gone in a different, i.e. Malzahnian, direction, so this could be a case of Malzahn simply trying to get his ducks in a row before going public. But it's also possible there's nothing set in stone as of yet. We'll see.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:12 am

Report: Vandy offers Malzahn"ballpark" $3M a year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Given who's making the offer, this report from the Tennessean might say more about the upward spiral of college coaching salaries (particularly in the SEC ) than Nick Saban's contract at Alabama ever could. Why? Because it claims that Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt! -- has just offered to pay Auburn's offensive coordinator some several hundred thousand dollars more per year in salary than his own league title-winning head coach earns :
Auburn coor­di­na­tor Gus Mal­zahn , who was in town Wed­nes­day, is thought to have recei­ved another offer from Van­der­bilt that approaches the ball­park of $3 million per year.
Say this much for Vandy: now that we know that the SEC's most downtrodden football program has the capacity to come up with this kind of scratch (though we're still not sure how ), it makes a lot more sense why they parted ways with Robbie Caldwell after only one season. When you can make this kind of play for a property as hot as Malzahn, there's no reason to hold on to a well-meaning-but-limited coach like Caldwell.

As for whether Malzahn will accept, both the report above and the one preceding it at the Tennesseean make clear that despite the chance to double and possibly triple his maximum salary at Auburn, he hasn't accepted just yet. (Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin has apparently moved up to second in the Commodore pecking order and would get the call if Malzahn declines.) He could be willing to wait out the falling dominoes at Florida and then possibly Mississippi State or Arkansas; they might not pay him as much as the Vandy offer and would be almost as difficult a job, traditionally speaking, but the latter would give him a chance to coach in his home state for a fanbase that is already wildly fond of him. That might be worth waiting on, though when we're talking about a ballpark $3 million bird in the hand, it also might not be.

In any case, it looks like Auburn will have to have those dominoes fall exactly right -- Malzahn waits on MSU/Arkansas, Vandy moves on to Franklin, Mullen goes to Florida, State can't make a strong enough offer or goes in a different direction -- to retain Malzahn's services for another year. The far more likely result at this stage is that he's gone, and that the bigger question for the Tigers now is simply keeping Malzahn as focused on the BCS National Championship Game as they can amidst the coaching storm.


Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:45 pm

Vandy to cut candidate list, as they should

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Thanks to the Jon Gruden panic at Miami, the Bill McCartney escapades at Colorado , etc., the coaching search at Vanderbilt has flown mostly under the radar to date despite it being the only vacancy this offseason in the SEC (barring Dan Mullen' s hypothetical departure at Mississippi State ). That doesn't mean the Commodore brass hasn't been doing their due diligence. In fact, as this report from the Tennessean indicates , they've been extremely diligent. According to the report, the full alphabetical list of coaches contacted or coaches whose agents have been contacted by the 'Dores --and it may not be comprehensive -- is as follows:

Troy Calhoun , head coach, Air Force
Dave Doeren , defensive coordinator, Wisconsin
James Franklin, offensive coordinator, Maryland
Al Golden, head coach, Temple
Todd Graham , head coach, Tulsa
Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator, Auburn
Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, Stanford
Don Treadwell,
offensive coordinator, Michigan State
Shawn Watson, offensive coordinator, Nebraska

If that seems like a lot of candidates, Vandy Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams agrees with you :
Williams said he will select three candidates — maybe four — from the first round of interviews to become finalists. There would then likely be a second round of interviews.

The cut could come as early as today or as late as next week.

"What I'd prefer to do is probably take more than three to the second round, but to get this thing done, three is probably the optimal number," said Williams, who has declined to comment on candidates during the search process.
We already know a few names on the above list that won't reciprocate enough interest to make the cut -- Calhoun, Malzahn, possibly Golden -- and even though Williams said the frequency of offensive-minded coaches on the list is "just how it's gone," add that frequency to the 'Dores hopeless struggles on offense the last few years and it's easy to see Vandy leaning in that direction.

This could lead the 'Dores to Roman, who's coming off of two incredible seasons with the Cardinal, has first-hand experience dealing with the Stanford-like academic requirements at Vandy, and even got some measure of name-recognition following his nomination as a Broyles Award finalist.

But before they can settle on one candidate, the 'Dores have to settle on three or four. It's time for Williams to make that call.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com