Tag:Coaching Searches
Posted on: January 14, 2011 11:32 am
 

Tulsa names Bill Blankenship coach

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's official.  On this Friday morning, January 14th, every single football program in the FBS now has a head coach.  The carousel has stopped spinning for now.  The latest team to name its new head coach is Tulsa, who had to replace Todd Graham after he left to take the Pitt job.  The news broke on Friday morning that Tulsa will hire Bill Blankenship to take over the football program.




If you're anything like me, you're reaction to this news may have been along the lines of "who?"  Well, let me tell you a bit about Bill Blankenship.  He served as Tulsa's associate head coach last season, but has been coaching at the school for the last four seasons.  He spent three of those seasons coaching special teams, and has also coached the running backs and wide receivers.

Blankenship also played quarterback at Tulsa, and though this will be his first head coaching job on the college level, he spent 22 years as a head coach on the high school level.  In those 22 seasons, Blankenship's high school teams reached the state championship game seven times, winning three of them, and he was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Norm Chow seems destined for Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Although UCLA says that he's still currently its offensive coordinator, all indications are that Norm Chow doesn't have much time left working for the Bruins.  At least, you wouldn't think so considering the team is reportedly hammering out a deal with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson.  Fear not for Norm Chow, however, for it seems that should he be replaced by Johnson in Los Angeles, he won't be out of a job for long.

While Rick Neuheisel is busy trying to replace Chow, Norm isn't just sitting around waiting for the axe to drop.  He's reportedly involved in talks with Utah about their offensive coordinator position.  It seems Kyle Whittingham wasn't exactly thrilled with the Utes' offensive performance down the stretch, and is looking to make a change.  Which is somewhat understandable considering Utah scored 68 points over its final five games, and 38 of those came in a win against San Diego State.

Chow has long been considered one of the best offensive coordinators in college football, though his time at UCLA has been pretty forgettable. He also has ties to Utah, where he played guard -- NORM CHOW WAS AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN!? -- from 1965-67.  If he did return to his alma mater, it would make for some interesting matchups when the Utes move to the Pac-12 next season.

Once there he'd be facing two teams he used to work for in UCLA and USC, not to mention the fact that Chow also spent many years at Utah rival BYU, where he mentored guys like Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer.  
Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Posted by Tom Fornelli

He's not the man Michigan may have wanted with its first choice, but as things stand, Brady Hoke is the new head coach in Ann Arbor.  He's the 19th coach in the school's history, and though some members of the Michigan fan base may respond with "Who?" upon hearing his name, he's not simply an afterthought.

Of course Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh would be Dave Brandon's first choice.  They are the quintessential "Michigan Men" that seems to be so important in Ann Arbor.  They've played at the school. Miles coached at the school, and he even has a national championship under his belt. Jim Harbaugh hasn't done either, but he was the coach du jour this winter.  And one with Michigan roots at that. Hoke isn't the definition of a "Michigan Man," as he played his college ball at Ball State, but he did spend eight seasons coaching Michigan's defensive line.  Including the 1997 season, the last time Michigan won a national championship. So he knows what it takes to win in Ann Arbor, as he's done it before. 

There's another difference between Les Miles, Jim Harbaugh and Brady Hoke other than their "Michigan Man" credentials, and it is probably something that is a lot more important than where either played college football.

Brady Hoke wants to be at Michigan.  It's clear that after two failed attempts to land him that Les Miles doesn't.  He may say he does, as he doesn't want to denigrate where he came from, but Miles is happy at LSU. He knows he can win there, and he's not sure that he can do the same at Michigan.  Harbaugh always had his sight set on the NFL, and now he's got his dream job.

Michigan is Brady Hoke's dream job.

Brady Hoke seems to believe he can win in Ann Arbor, and what reason do we really have to doubt him?  He took over his alma mater in 2003 and turned the program around in six seasons, leading the team to a 12-1 campaign in 2008.  Hoke then left for San Diego State, and Ball State hasn't won 12 games since.  Hell, they haven't won seven games since.

Hoke then took over a San Diego State program that had been dormant since Marshall Faulk was tearing apart defenses, and in two seasons turned the program around and led the Aztecs to a 9-4 mark in 2010.  Including a win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Do you notice a trend here?  Hoke has gone to programs that were trending downward and built them back up.  Sure, there's a difference between the Big Ten and the MAC and Mountain West.  There's no denying this, but there's also a difference in building a program up when there's that block "M" on your hat and not the Ball State or San Diego State logo.

As long as Michigan gives Hoke some time, and I know it will be tough considering the down times of the Rich Rodriguez era, he will get this program on the right track.  Will he lead them to a national championship?  Only time will tell, but here's something else that Michigan fans should remember before dumping all over the Hoke hire.

Jim Tressel wasn't Ohio State's first choice after it fired John Cooper. He was just some coach from tiny Youngstown State. How's that worked out for them?
Posted on: January 11, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Report: Mark Whipple to be next UConn coach

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Hey, did you know that there are other coaching searches going on right now besides the one at Michigan?  I'm serious, there are!  UConn still needs to find a head coach since Randy Edsall decided to leave following the Fiesta Bowl and take over for Ralph Friedgen at Maryland.  Though it's starting to look as though the job vacancy in Storrs has been filled.

Reports out of Florida say that former Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, now out of a job following the firing of Randy Shannon and hiring of Al Golden, will be named the new head coach at UConn.

If the reports turn out to be correct, and the 53-year old Whipple lands the UConn gig, it will be his first head coaching job on the FBS level, and his first head coaching job anywhere since he left UMass in 2004.  While at UMass he won a Division-IAA national championship in 1998.  Whipple has spent the last two seasons as Miami's offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.  After a nice 2009 season that saw the Hurricanes score the most points they had in a season since 2002, things took a big step backwards in 2010.  Of course, that could be the fault of Jacory Harris throwing interceptions like they were going out of style more than it was Whipple's offensive system.

Either way, to lose a job as an offensive coordinator only to find yourself getting a job as head coach at another BCS program is a pretty nice turn of events for anybody.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Michigan moves on to Brady Hoke

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that it's official that Les Miles won't be leaving LSU to take over for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, it seems the school has turned its eyes towards San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.  A quick look at the flight tracker shows that a plane owned by Domino's Pizza -- the company Michigan AD Dave Brandon used to run -- is on it's way to sunny southern California as you read this.  Then there's this report from the San Diego Union-Tribune that says the school has already begun talks with Hoke.
The agent for San Diego State head football coach Brady Hoke has been in discussions for Hoke to possibly become the next head coach at the University of Michigan, a source close to the situation said.
Trace Armstrong, Hoke's agent, has declined comment. Hoke and other SDSU officials have not returned messages for several days.
Hoke was in the Los Angeles area Tuesday recruiting for SDSU. Meanwhile, the plane that Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon has been using for his coaching search planned to fly to nearby Orange County Tuesday afternoon.
Now, unlike Miles, I have a hard time believing that Hoke would turn Michigan down if the school did make an offer.  First of all, Michigan is quite the step up from San Diego State.  Second of all, Hoke has basically said as much in the past.  So it's possible that Michigan could have a new head coach by this time tomorrow, as you have to think that time is of the essence in this search as signing day creeps ever closer.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Les Miles is staying at LSU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: LSU as made it official, announcing on Twitter that Miles will be staying in Baton Rouge

I never really believed that Michigan had a shot to get Les Miles to leave LSU, but I have to admit that over the last few days, I changed my mind.  Miles was giving vague answers to questions by reporters, those Michigan planes were in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and he was spending a whole lot of time talking to the school.  Of course, I should have known that as soon as I changed my mind and thought he was headed to Ann Arbor that there was no shot.

And it seems there's no shot.  According to various reports, Les Miles will be staying at LSU.




The school issued a release last night saying that it was prepared to do whatever it had to in order to keep Miles in LSU, and it seems that they have.  Considering the amount of time that Michigan spent with Miles over the last few days, you have to think that the school made an offer, and that Miles turned it down.  That or he let LSU know what Michigan was offering and LSU decided to match or surpass it.

We'll likely find out more in the coming days.

As for where Michigan goes from here, nobody knows for sure.  However, if you're Brady Hoke, you have to have a smile on your face right now.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Les Miles to interview with Michigan this week

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Those sure are some interesting looking planes in Baton Rouge this week.  If you're into the fun trend that is tracking flights across this country, then you'd already know that the plane belonging to Michigan booster Richard Rogel has been in Baton Rouge for a few days now.  It's also been rumored that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon took a plane of his own to Dallas over the weekend to meet with Les Miles during the coaches convention.  Whether or not Miles has already had contact with Michigan, we don't know.  What we do know is that it looks like the interview process is about to be made official, as the Detroit News reports that Miles will officially interview with Michigan this week.

Miles is back in Baton Rouge this morning to attend the press conference for Patrick Peterson, who will be announcing that he's entering the NFL Draft.  After that, sources tell the Detroit News that Miles will interview with Michigan on Tuesday.

Which means one of two things.  Either Les Miles will be the new head coach at the University of Michigan before the week is over, or Les Miles will have a nice little pay raise from LSU by the end of the week.  We know that Michigan has already said it won't spare any expense in finding a new coach, and Miles already makes $3.75 million annually at LSU.  We've also heard that LSU will try and keep Miles in Baton Rouge.

So no matter where he ends up, Les Miles' wallet is going to win.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Report: Pitt interviewing Tulsa's Graham

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Wednesday brought quite a flurry of rumors about Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and the head coaching job at Pitt.  First he was the new head coach, then he wasn't.  Then he was texting his former players to let him know he was taking the job, and then he wasn't sending his players anything.  Here we are a day later, and Pitt still doesn't have a new head coach.

Will it end up being Bradley, we don't know.  What we do know, however, is that according to a report on Pantherlair.com, Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson wasn't even in Pittsburgh to be interviewing Bradley.  No, apparently he's in Atlanta to talk to Tulsa head coach Todd Graham.
According to sources, Pederson was in Atlanta meeting with Tulsa head coach Todd Graham.
Graham, 46, was interviewed in Pitt's first coaching search of the 2010-11 offseason, but multiple sources have confirmed that financial issues prevented him from moving further in the process. He is currently believed to be making more than $1 million annually at Tulsa. 
The report also says that Alabama assistant head coach Sal Sunseri has interviewed with Pitt as well this week.

Graham has been at Tulsa since 2007, and has gone 36-17 in those four seasons, and has had three seasons with at least 10 wins.  He has no experience coaching at Pitt, but he did spend a few years as an assistant at West Virginia.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com