Coaching searches are exhausting
So ... around the time the Mizzou basketball game tipped off last night, things seemed relatively orderly. We knew that...
1. Mack Rhoades was trying to set a record for the number of coaches interviewed in a single week for a single opening. And I was totally okay with that.
2. Memphis was going to give Barry Odom some sort of "now or never" ultimatum, and Rhoades was going to have to let Odom know if he was going to get the Missouri job (so that, if he wasn't, he could take Memphis).
There is a delicate balance there, and just for my own sanity/exhaustion levels, I was hoping things would play out to their conclusion on Tuesday. But then came hints of a "You have until Thursday" deadline from Memphis, and then came word of Rhoades interviewing guys like Sonny Dykes and Mike Bobo. So maybe this was set to take another couple of days.
The University of Memphis has broken off negotiations with Barry Odom, according to a source familiar with the talks to land a new Tigers football coach. After spending much of Monday and Tuesday negotiating with the Missouri defensive coordinator, Memphis administrators decided to walk away from those negotiations and pursue a different candidate Tuesday night.
After some investigation, Gabe Dearmond and others pushed back a bit on that assertion.
After reaching out to a few folks, I don’t think Odom-Memphis is dead. This is a weird game of hardball.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 2, 2015
A source told the Tribune that Odom felt he was in a good place with both schools after returning to Missouri on Tuesday and that the situation should be more clear Wednesday. It was the source's understanding that Odom had until Thursday to let Memphis know his decision.
So what's the Occam's Razor, "the story with the fewest assumptions is probably the correct one" version of this?
1. Memphis wants to force Odom's and Mizzou's hands a bit, and understandably so.
2. Memphis is probably going ahead and looking at other candidates, too, on the chance that Odom says no. It would be irresponsible not to.
The end. Many at Memphis have been sold on Odom replacing Fuente since it became clear that both were awesome at their jobs. You don't give up on that because Odom is trying to wait and see about a job at his alma mater/an SEC school. But if it can legitimately threaten to move on, then it forces Odom's hand, which forces Rhoades' hand.
So maybe this all ends today? Maybe? Pretty please?
And in non-Odom news...
Rhoades' trip to Colorado certainly made waves, and not just among Mizzou fans.
I’m told that Sonny Dykes has "mentally moved on" from Cal. This ending had been brewing all year, and he’s poised to take another job.— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) December 1, 2015
It doesn't appear that Dykes is simply using Missouri as leverage for renegotiation at Cal -- it seems like he's ready to leave Cal. That doesn't mean he's the leading non-Odom candidate, but it certainly appears he's a serious option. And he's been connected with Rhoades for a while.
This has been a long week, but not really
It feels like this search has taken forever, but really, it began in earnest about three days ago. That's when Rhoades began to travel around and interview people. It's miserable to live through, but this is really taking a pretty normal amount of time. At the beginning of the week, I was actually a little bit concerned that Rhoades was rushing a bit.
Regardless, the Post-Dispatch's Ben Frederickson has some calming words of advice for those who have been staring at TweetDeck or hitting refresh on the PowerMizzou boards every 8 seconds for the last three days: calm down*.
Rhoades is kicking the tires. He’s making calls, scheduling interviews and traveling to meet with a big pool of candidates he thinks might be able to fill the void created by Gary Pinkel’s retirement. The emphasis belongs on "thinks" and "might." Every interview does not include a job offer. Every interview that does not result in a hiring does not mean the interviewer was rejected by the interviewee. Sometimes, it’s the opposite.
* This advice never actually works, Ben. But kudos for trying.
Around the SEC
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that "barring a last-minute snag" in the negotiations Kirby Smart will be named the new head football coach at the University of Georgia. An announcement could come as soon as Sunday, following the SEC Championship Game. That timing makes sense given Nick Saban's general loathing of anything that even looks a little like a distraction. Distractions aren't a part of The Process.
Riley, 32, is in his first season at Oklahoma and also coaches quarterbacks. He would become the youngest head coach in the FBS ranks if he's hired. The Sooners are ranked third nationally in scoring offense (45.8 points per game) and just wrapped up the Big 12 championship last weekend. Riley is considered one of the brightest young offensive minds in the game and is a Mike Leach disciple. He was at Texas Tech for seven seasons under Leach and runs a version of the Air Raid offense. Before joining Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, Riley was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons at East Carolina.
And in non-football news...
Big volleyball game tomorrow!
And women's basketball continues to roll...