It appears that Coaching Search List 1.0 went off with rousing success. After some discussion yesterday I wanted to clarify a couple of things.
1. I was joking when I said that I can’t believe that someone posted something from Viva The Matadors on STP. I mean, it’s not that big of a deal, but I certainly don’t like it because I feel like I’m in competition with them. I was actually trying to be funny with my comment, but tone doesn’t always play very well on the internet. Anyway, to catch everyone up, I started Double-T Nation with SB Nation, and then Texas Tech made me switch the name of the site because they said that they owned the phrase “double t”. I then created Viva The Matadors, which I left a few years ago and started Staking The Plains. The management style at SB Nation is something that is not great and the content that comes from VTM is lacking in my opinion. I’m obviously biased that I think we’re significantly better. I apologize if I offended anyone.
2. I think that getting some of the Tier I guys is purely a pipe dream. Other than Todd Graham who I think would run out of retirement for Texas Tech, some of those hires would be very tough to get. I suppose that’s why they were Tier I in the first place and if I had to place a percentage on getting any one of the Tier I guys, I’d say that it’s maybe 10% or something like that. I wouldn’t get too worked up about the Tier 1 guys turning down Texas Tech, but that’s just me.
3. If I had to give you my top five candidates this would be my list (this is not an indication that any of these are favorites, just my opinion):
1) Dana Holgorsen (very low percentage, but he would be an absolute home run for me)
2) Scott Satterfield (the Chris Beard option)
3) Mike Norvell (is just right behind Satterfield for me, less resources at Memphis than North Texas)
4) Seth Littrell (has done a terrific job for the Screamin’ Eagles).
5) Bryan Harsin (would be higher on my list, but don’t think he leaves Boise State for Texas Tech)
4. If anyone wants to send me any tips that I’ll go through (I may or may not run with them), you can shoot me an email at stakingtheplains AT gmail DOT com.
Let’s update everything.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen: Yeah, I think he’s still in play and I wrote yesterday that he’ll either get a fat pay raise and extension or come to Texas Tech.
Out of work former head coach Todd Graham: No news; however, I did read somewhere that Graham interviewed for the Kansas job and if he’s willing to take the Kansas job, I’m guessing that he’d jump all over the Texas Tech opportunity. And if Kansas passed on Graham, maybe Texas Tech should as well.
Out of work former head coach Bob Stoops: No news although he publicly denied being in contact with anyone from Auburn about taking over for Gus Malzahn, who is still the head coach for Tigers.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach: Joel Anderson talked to Mike Leach, who said this:
“They didn’t pay me last time. And I’m happy here.” Asked to elaborate, he said: “They haven’t paid me for 2009 and we won 9 games that year. And they haven’t won 9 games since.”
Jay Leeson tweeted the following:
“Texas Tech #CoachSearch: I’ve learned this morning that there is a coalition of young pro-Leach donors that would cover any Washington State buy-out, settling disputed 2009 money, signing bonus, football training facility and south-end stadium renovation 💰💰 More to come…”
I think these are the Double Eagle guys who wanted Leach last year. Anyway, they very much want Leach to return. Will they get their wish? No idea, but they want him to return. My question would be that if Leach did return, there would be no one more powerful than him, he’d basically get whatever he wants and that kind of power vacuum could be problematic. Not for Leach, but may be an issue overall and I don’t know if Hocutt wants to be an underling. A-J Media’s Don Williams wrote last night that these influential donors believe that Leach is “absolutely interested” in the Texas Tech job and I’ll reiterate what I wrote yesterday, which is that Leach absolutely will coach where he is paid the most money. That’s not intended to be a shot at Leach, I’ll work for whoever pays me the most money too.
I’ve gotten rid of the third tier because I think that we’re starting to see that there’s maybe just two tiers in my mind.
Memphis head coach Mike Norvell: No news. I am thinking that of my favorite options, Norvell is one of them, but Norvell is also a consideration for the Colorado job (he was at Arizona State before Memphis) and Louisville position. And I read that Norvell’s buyout is only $500,000, which is really nothing and that was negotiated last year.
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin: No news. I haven’t really seen anything connecting Harsin to Texas Tech recently. That doesn’t mean he’s not an option, it just means I just haven’t seen him connected to Texas Tech.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells: No news. Somewhat of the same thing as Harsin in that Wells hasn’t been connected really to Texas Tech recently.
Troy head coach Neal Brown: No news. I separated Brown and Littrell, but I think they are very similar candidates. I do think that Brown and Littrell are higher up on the lists that what we were initially led to believe.
North Texas head coach Seth Littrell: No news. If I had my druthers, Littrell would be ahead of Brown in my pecking order of coaches. I don’t think that Littrell would go anywhere, especially to Oklahoma as I can’t see how the Sooners fire Lincoln Riley and Littrell may have a chip on his shoulder for being passed over by his alma mater. I think this should be the least of your concerns (i.e. the fact that he’s a Sooner). I was also concerned that Littrell would be an option at North Carolina because he coached there prior to arriving at North Texas, but the Tar Heels hired Mack Brown.
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield: No news. I still maintain that Satterfield should be a pretty high option. He’s done a lot at Appalachian State and I reiterate that he’s the most “Chris Beard” of the options. Smaller school, tremendous success, not on any national radar, but probably should be.
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers: Babers is added to the list because he’s got Syracuse at 9-3 and he’s turned that program around. Babers has some Texas ties as he was at TAMU (2001-02) and Baylor (2008-2011). Babers was the head coach at Eastern Illinois, went 19-7 in 2 years, went 18-9 at Bowling Green, and is now 17-19 at Syracuse. The Orange went 4-8 his first two years, but a break-out year this year has been pretty impressive.
Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford: I forgot about Tedford as an option, but he certainly should be as he’s turned around Fresno State in pretty quick order. In reading this piece from the Fresno Bee, Tedford’s contract has a base pay of a little over $1 million, but he’s earned close to $3 million in incentives with automatic rollovers of extensions for reaching certain win totals. That’s an interesting way to build a contract and kind of like how it incentivizes the head coach to essentially earn 2/3’s of his salary by winning. I doubt that many coaches would do this, but it’s something to think about.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle: No one is talking about him, but he’s kinda a version of Matt Campbell. He’s only coached at Toledo and been the head coach since 2016 where he has a record of 28-12. He’s got no Texas ties that I can find, but I think he’s a heck of a coach.
Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson: Just adding him to the list as I think he’s an option (39-24 as a head coach at Arkansas State), but I don’t know if he’s up there with some of the other options.
Out or Likely Out
Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt: Supposedly Leavitt is the frontrunner for the Colorado head coaching job. I think that Hocutt really likes Leavitt, but I simply don’t have a good feeling for him. And I’m not worried about his age, 61, especially if we’re talking about Bob Stoops at 58 or Leach at 57. It’s not that big of a difference, but maybe you’re willing to not care about age for a more proven commodity.
“Just so people understand where I’m at right now, my son, Jake, is here, and he’s chasing a dream,” Venables said. “I sold this dream to him. My responsibility as a dad is to support him for as long as he wants to chase his dreams. Who am I to be a hypocrite regardless of what opportunities are out there.”
His son is playing at Clemson and he promised him he’d be there for him. I admire that. I think that Venables is off the table, but he hasn’t specifically said that he’s turning down the job.
The Elephant in the Room
Mac Engel wrote another article yesterday about how Texas Tech should hire Art Briles, a coach so toxic that he’s coaching in Italy. There are old school people in the program who think that Briles hung the moon. When I was in town for the Oklahoma game I had to run an errand and was listening to 97.3 and Thetford and Ashby were on interviewing a former player, a running back that I can’t remember who it was, and they were just gushing about how great of a man that Art Briles is, with Thetford and Ashby leading the charge. There are definitely some old guard folks who think that Briles would be a great hire and I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again, if you want to hire Art Briles or even Kendall Briles, it says more about you than I would ever want to know, which is that you want a head coach who turned a blind eye to women at Baylor being raped, and not just raped, but gang raped. How some people cannot care about that I don’t know how to explain that.