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If you’re paying attention to your Season Never Ends calendar, you’ll notice that on today (Sunday, November 25th, 2012) there has been a good amount college football coaching news. Three coaches were fired today: Tom O’Brien was canned by N.C. State, Gene Chizik was given the boot by Auburn, and Purdue dropped Danny Hope (reportedly). O’Brien was a bit surprising given his string of bowl eligible Wolfpack teams, but Chizik and Hope were firings that most all saw coming. (That huge buyout and the firing of an executive associate AD at Auburn were interesting though.)
It’s pretty crazy to think a coach can be merely two years removed from winning a national title with Cam Newton and already tossed out the door like a complete failure. Auburn had a poor year and there’s been a lot of NCAA questioning around the program since Cam and the money fiasco hit the wire. But now you may be wondering what does this have to do with UK? Well, possibly a lot.
There are now four SEC coaching positions open: UK, UT, Arkansas, and Auburn. With three more FBS coaching spots opening up today and one being an SEC school not-so-far-removed from a national title, all those names in the UK coaching search hat will soon be fielding a lot more calls. Mitch has already made his statement that they plan to take their time in finding the perfect fit for the UK football job, but other schools will be looking to pluck the best available coaches quickly. It seems to me that UK is in a tough position with a couple possible plans of action.
I won’t claim to have any inside knowledge or claim that I know what the right move here is. UK could try to speed up the process, throw everything they have at a bigger name, and hope he doesn’t use UK’s interest as leverage for another school. Or UK could take it slow and find the right fit as Mitch has said, knowing they have only so much to offer and not let anyone abuse UK’s interest to get more from another school. Either way, it’s kind of a gamble with a lot on the line for the future of UK football.
The recent firings today are really just the dominoes continuing to fall for an off-season full of coaching changes, with UK being in the thick of things. Rumors have already swirled (and were shot down by reputable outlets) that N.C. State had got in touch with Mike Leach. The bottom line is that UK has a lot of competition with a limited pool of hot-name coaches, and todays news combined with other opening like Cal and Boston College only solidifies that.
Here’s to hoping Mitch & crew pull of the best hire of the off-season.
EDIT: Apparently a radio station in San Jose is reporting Mike MacIntyre was offered the UK job. Jury still out on whether that is true and what station said it. If you’re looking for the source of the twitter fire starting right now, that’s it.