Friday, December 07, 2007

UPDATE - Kevin Sumlin Interviewed today; So Who's REALLY on the List?

Updated 12/7/07, 2:30 PM - As reported by the Spokesman, Oklahoma assistant Kevin Sumlin has interviewed today for the job. So the ball is officially rolling. John L will get an audience, we know that. But what about Wulff??

At this point, I wouldn't even doubt that these guys were contacted by Moos. I don't know if they'd work in Pullman though, but with the writers strike, you never know. I don't think coach McConaughey would be ok with the "shirts must be worn at all times" rules for a head coach though, so it's probably a pipe dream. And the other guy, I think he's still stranded on an island somewhere.

Ok, bad joke. But you get the idea. Who the heck is really on the list? Who's been contacted? Who's yet to speak with the team? And why is it that we're two weeks in and there's not even an known interview yet? Is Sterk up to his Bennett-like tricks??

First, here are four of the most prominent names that we know of who have admitted to being contacted about the job:

1) Paul Wulff
I don't know if you caught his interview last night, but give it a listen here if you dare. I've heard him talk before in small shots, but this is the longest I've heard him. He's definitely got the passion for the job. He's confident, yet not overly arrogant and he certainly doesn't talk in "coach speak" filled with cliche's, etc. He's a Coug, there's no doubt about it, and that could sell really well. He pushes the whole underdog mentality and he totally understands what Pullman is all about. And, no, there will be no coordinator deal while he's biding his time to be the head guy. In fact, in the interview he admits that WSU has approached him in the past about being an assistant or a coordinator and he turned them down. He is a HEAD COACH, and don't forget it.

Here's the thing though. In his interview he says flat-out he's been contacted, but, still no interview. We're almost two weeks into this thing and no interview? And he's just 75 miles up the road? That seems a little odd. Or is it?

First of all, Wulff said publicly that last week he was interested but didn't want to talk about it as he was getting ready to play a playoff game. So he wouldn't even be ready to talk until this week. Then, Jim Sterk was in NYC for the first part of this week to attend an awards presentation. So, Sterk has only just got back into the office. There's literally like 1 or 2 days, tops, that they could even meet. So I really think he's going to get his shot at this thing, but the timing has to be just right. And, based on what we've been told around here, you can lean heavily towards the idea that as far as some people know, he IS very close if not the #1 guy on the list right now.

Here's a Youtube video by Wulff, asking fans to help raise funds for an EWU football program that is on the rise, but definitely needs money:

2) John L Smith
We've joked that John L has set up a campaign headquarters and wants to get this job so bad he can taste it. He's a former WSU assistant and had a lot of BCS experience, so he does fit the bill to a certain degree about what some people are looking for. But I don't know. Age is against him, 59 right now and not getting any younger. We already know we've been beat up in recruiting circles this year based on age, so do we want to go back there for a guy who is known for kind of "losing it" at Michigan State??

And who could forget "the slap"?

Is that the guy Sterk wants to hire? Hmmm. We do know that it's likely that Smith will be meeting with Sterk, potentially even today or some time this weekend.

3) DeWayne Walker

He's got the reputation at UCLA for being an excellent position coach and a fantastic recruiter. He's young and has a lot of energy, something that is going to be required for this job. He's African-American, and that's something that is considered in this. The downside is the UCLA situation itself, and Walker is very much a viable candidate for that job as the head coach. So if we want him, there's going to be some stiff competition. Plus he's never been a head coach, and that could be an issue with Sterk.

4) Mike Price
He's been contacted, admits interest, yet that's as far as it's gone. He's said as recently as Wednesday that WSU is "his school" and he's interested. But then in the next breath says he's working on an extension for UTEP? Maybe this is a case of "Mike, we're going in another direction but we'll do you a favor. This thing is going to take a while, so, we'll float your name as someone we're interested in. You can use that as a hammer in your contract extension talks with UTEP and you can get that one last big extension." It sounds like a dirty trick, but look around the country. It happens EVERY DAY with college coaches! The latest is Grobe from Wake Forest, who was all but done and was going to take the job at Arkansas yesterday, only to suddenly get a great contract extension! Wouldn't be the first time - nor the last time - something like that went down. I do think that there's a shot Price could come back, but from what we hear, it's not likely.

Now, rumors:

June Jones was floated over the last few days, and in particular last night the rumors started to percolate. KRKO 1380's Jeff Aaron said on the air that he heard yesterday that Jones is the new hot rumor floating around the WSU athletic department offices. It kind of makes you wonder, is it realistic? Well, as our good friend Kaddy points out, Jones only makes $800K at Hawaii. I believe we could match that, if not exceed it. He's the king of the world over there, sure, but it is a WAC school and there's always the lure of BCS competition. He's from Portland so he does have some NW ties, although nothing directly related to WSU. Still, there are some strange things about Jones. One rumor is that he's very friendly with the female coeds. Even one rumor had him so friendly with one notable Hawaii volleyball player that she ended up suddenly transfering all the way to Alabama. The talk was that she "with child". Hmm, screwing the students might not go over well with Jim?!?

There was someone named "Bucky" who floated a Barry Alvarez rumor last week. It sort of makes some sense if you think about the Bennett connection. Retired guy with great success recently is brought in to get the program to another level, maybe even a succession plan behind him. Sterk was in Madison this fall of course, for the opener, so you know their paths have crossed. And I would imagine that if "Dick Bennett is on line 1 Barry" happened on a regular day in Madison, that Barry would pick up the phone. And, Alvarez has been in rumor mills since he retired, so stranger things have happened (like Bennett to WSU??). But Alvarez is a Wisconsin guy, he's their AD right now so why would he even want to get back into the grind?

Other names floating include Turner Gill, for obvious reasons and rumored to have talked with Sterk already, although no confirmation there. Gill says he isn't really looking for anything new at this time after striking out with Nebraska. Brady Hoke of Ball State is on the radar, but it might not be a match. In fact, Hoke is showing up in other rumor mills, including Michigan where he was a former assistant. Bob Gregory admitted he got a call about it, but nothing has happened there.

So, that's where we are. With Sterk's statement of "no more comments!" in regards to this search, well, rumors are going to fester. Someone is going to go online at a message board or (gasp!) a blog and say, "I've heard so-and-so is interested!" This is what happens when there's no communication. Like it or not, the rumors are only going to get hotter as things roll forward.

Meanwhile, hats of to UW. I'm not kidding either. Have you seen their latest commits??? Fogerson from O'Dea, the kid who ran for 297 and 4 TD's in the state title game last weekend, finishing with over 2500 yards and 36 TD's this year (wow!). He actually committed to Ohio State, but now says he's going to be a Husky? And then the number one fish in the state, Ta'amu of Rainier Beach, now says he's going to UW? They are looking at a top-15 class in the nation, at least. Not that we were going to compete with these guys on the recruiting trail, and we usually pursue a different kind of kid, but they are flat-out killing right now. Willingham has set up a fence around the state and right now, he's keeping 'em home. That's HUGE.

Meanwhile we have 3 commits, and probably half our assistants are working the phones on trying to land a new job when they are still on our payroll. Come on Jim, this thing could turn out to be a total mess if you don't get moving. Please, MAKE A GREAT HIRE HERE. The heat is on!


DuckyPonds said...

Totally forgot about what a nut John L is! Wow. Beware Bill Moos. He might be trying to get his drinkin' buddy a job there.

Sedihawk said...

Ducky, a "drinkin' buddy" isn't going to be handed this job! And Moos is just there to help formulate a plan and put out some feelers, but this is Jim's call all the way.

I'm hopeful that the hire is in place by the time we play that hoops game in the Key (12/21?). That would be a great way to market the new coach on the wet side of the state. It would be cool to bring him out at center court at halftime and present him to the fans, because you know they are going to be out of the woodwork to see this fantastic basketball team!

Anonymous said...

It's a little bit odd that we haven't heard either Rosie's name or Levy's name as possible applicants for the job.

spartanfan said...

Let me tell you a bit about John L Smith....

I am a Michigan State Spartan. Born and raised. I've seen every game played by the football team since 1983.

Here are some tidbits about The L:

1) I can remember the day he was hired by MSU. His current team, Louisville was playing in a bowl game, and word spread throughout the stadium that he was leaving AS THE GAME WAS BEING PLAYED. It was a total boondoggle. And the funny thing is that the Louisville fans, almost to a person, were saying "Good Riddance", "Your act has worn thin", "He's not the real reason the team is any good anyway". I thought it strange at the time, and just wrote it off as sour grapes. But in the end it was all true.

2) MSU had two major recruits during John L Smith's tenure: Charles Rogers and Jeff Smoker.
a) Charles Rogers-- a pot-smoking slacker who later became possibly the biggest bust in the history of the NFL draft.
b) Jeff Smoker-- one of the top QB recruits at the time, shocked everyone by leaving Manheim PA for East Lansing. JoPa was pissed. By Smoker's junior year, in what was supposed to be his Heisman Trophy campaign, Smoker left the team mid-season, and checked himself into rehab, leaving the team virtually QB-less. What's more, the unpublished fact was that Smoker's coke habit was so bad, and that he was so deep into his dealer that he had been threatened physical harm, and that Smoker ran off to rehab to avoid getting a little payback. There were also rumors about point-shaving, but once Smoker claimed a medical addiction, it became an untouchable subject.

3) John L Smith teams are woefully unprepared. He seemed literally unable to make any kind of adjustment to the game plan on the fly, just standing on the sideline with that goofy look on his face.

4) His team's are in poor physical shape and wear down during the season.

5) His "cowboy boot and mountain climbing" schtick is just that. All hot air and no substance at all.

Cougars, I implore you. Do NOT allow this man to become coach of this team. Do some research and draw your own conclusions. But don't just let that man walk in and take the job without asking some very serious questions about how that man handles a program.

longball said...

Umm, folks, we're not going to hire John L. So can we move on and discuss actual possibilities? There is not a team in any BCS conference that would make him their head man right now.

The news out of Oklahoma today renews my hope that we are conducting a thorough search.

Anonymous said...

there has been meetings that have not been announced with WSU and Wulff.

Sedihawk said...

SpartanFan, thanks for the insight. I can tell you this, the very mention of JL Smith hasn't been well-received by many in this whole thing. I'll never forget watching that game with Louisville, and players getting told by relatives etc that Smith took the MSU job. And when Smith was confronted with it as he was leaving the field, he was totally befuddled. Sterk is no dummy and he's not going to hire someone like that (we hope anyway). Thanks again for the insight!