Things started to get a bit fuzzy yesterday in the Husky football coaching search. It started off yesterday morning with word from KJR and other sources that Jim Mora was going to stay with the Seattle Seahawks. I always considered Mora as a very long shot. He was however the unanimous choice of Husky fans who picked up their pitchforks and lit their torches in protest as they marched toward Renton and Seahawk headquarters.
The next thing to happen was the explosion of Texas Tech's Mike Leach onto the scene. No sooner than we heard that he had interviewed on Tuesday for the job did we hear on national radio from Dan Patrick that he was headed back to Seattle for a second and final interview that would ostensibly lead to him taking the job.
Texas Tech wants to give Leach a pay raise and an extension while Auburn who fired Tommy Tuberville yesterday may escalate this one into a bidding war. Washington will never win a bidding war with an SEC power if it actually comes to that. Insiders say Leach is more inclined to head to the West coast than stay in the South. Insiders in Texas also say that if Leach is offered by Washington he will take the job. Leach feels the UW and USC positions are the best ones to take West of the Rockies. He also counts former husky head coach Don James as one of his idols.
Things will happen fast with Leach. He is going to be on the market no more than a day or two more before Texas Tech extends him or Auburn makes a move to hire him. The ball is now in Washington's court if they are serious about hiring Mike Leach. Expect more word on this one as the day progresses.
Another event happened late last night when word slipped out of Fresno that Pat Hill was staying put as coach of the Bulldogs. Hill interviewed very well when he was in Seattle and really wanted the job. A blow out loss to Boise State on national TV probably did him in with the fan base and the administration. It was obvious that he wasn't going to provide the splash needed to ignite the fan base even though he is a good coach that would have put together an excellent staff. The rumor is that Hill gave Washington until Wednesday to name him as head coach and the deadline passed without an offer.
USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has emerged as a legitimate candidate after having a solid interview on Thanksgiving that went unnoticed till now. No official word or comment coming out of LA on this one. UW wants an established head coach and passed on interviewing ex Husky and Missouri assistant Dave Christensen who is headed to take over at Wyoming. Sarkisian is a coach that is ready for prime time after being tutored by Carroll and spending time in the NFL.
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables is another candidate that Washington is taking a long look at. Like Sarkisian he may have slipped in and out of town in recent days to interview for the position. It is known that Venables would accept the job if offered. Brent would fit the tough guy image that Washington is trying to cultivate with this hire. Venables is possibly the mystery candidate that we have heard people mentioning over the past couple of days.
You can probably count Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham out of the running now that his top assistant Gary Anderson has taken the Utah State job. If Whittingham was on the move Anderson would have been in line to take over for him at Utah.
Chris Petersen is staying at Boise State despite the news that Oregon will promote offensive coordinator Chip Kelly to the head coaching job once Mike Bellotti retires. We thought the door might open a bit for Petersen but that likely isnt' going to happen.
Whenever the Huskies search for a coach the name of California's Jeff Tedford always comes up but it doesn't appear that he has been contacted. That could change this week.
As far as the coaching search goes a friend of mine ran into the Dawgfather at an airport about a month ago and DJ said that he thought UW would end up with a top young coordinator in the end.
Even though the Washington job is distinguished and pays big bucks it isn't easy hiring an established head coach that everyone wants. Who did Clemson end up with? They hired from inside their staff. What did Texas do? They locked up their present DC as a replacement for when Mack Brown eventually retires. Oregon just did the same thing with Chip Kelly. hiring an established head coach that everyone wants is harder than it seems.
In the end if Washington wants to make a big splash on the national scene Mike Leach is going to be the guy. So get your eye patches and Pirate garb ready because one of college football's quirkiest characters may be headed to Seattle.