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The Coaching Search: Day 8

According to the ACC Now blog, Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe has said, in a press conference, that he is not interested in the job at UNC.

"I think the job at North Carolina is a great job," Kragthorpe said, according to the Tulsa World. "Chapel Hill would be a great place to live. But I’m not interested in being the head coach at the University of North Carolina. I want to be the head coach at Tulsa.

"I love it here. It's a great place to work."

I'd give my left pinkie if someone in the media would have asked him if he intended to stay at Tulsa for the rest of his coaching career. That last line, besides being total poppycock, also convinces me that this is your standard "denial of interest in a job because I am in the middle of the season" statement from a coach. It also is a fairly worthless statement because we do not know how much interest UNC has in him or vice versa. It is possible he was being considered and but has now moved down on the list and chose to make this statement as a way of getting ahead of that news. It is also possible he may be waiting for a Big 12 or Big 10 job and really does not have an interest in UNC. At any rate I think it is wise to keep him on the radar for now, albeit a little lower than before. With all of the secrecy surrounding the search, nothing official can be said from either UNC or the coaches whose names have been mentioned in connection to the search so what we get are statements which tend to ring hollow.

Of course the best source of informed speculation during a coaching search in these parts comes from David Glenn. According to Glenn there are two sets of names right now. One set was assembled based on the preferences of UNC officials and trustees.

Among the coaches various high-ranking UNC officials have asked to be included in the information-gathering process of the search are former Miami coach Butch Davis, West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, Navy coach Paul Johnson, Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson and former Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe.

A second list of names can be culled from coaches who have contacted UNC, through back channels, and expressed interest in the job:

Among the coaches who have initiated "unofficial" contact with UNC, mainly through their agents or other intermediaries, are Davis, Johnson, West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, Boston College coach Tom O'Brien, LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Texas co-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik and Denver Broncos tight ends coach Tim Brewster. Brewster was an assistant coach at UNC during the Mack Brown era.

The only overlap between the two lists are Davis, Johnson, Rodriguez, and Chizik. You will also notice that Kragthorpe's name shows up on the official list but not on the list of people contacting UNC which somewhat supports his statement that he is not interested(not the part about wanting to stay at Tulsa, that is still poppycock.) I was surprised to see Tom O'Brien's name on the list of people who have expressed interest. I still think Rodriguez is playing the leverage game with West Virginia and is not really interested in coming. Jimbo Fisher has been lobbying like mad for the job, even doing an interview for 680 AM in Raleigh last week. Unfortunately for Fisher, UNC seems set on the next coach being experienced as a head man which would make him a long shot. Another nice tidbit is the alleviation of a worry/misconception that Dick Baddour is the final word on this hire. This is apparently not the case:

Meanwhile, the mechanics of the hiring process will require Baddour to forward a candidate to Moeser, who then will forward the name to the Board of Trustees. The BOT will have the final say on the matter.

I am not sure whether this was the case in 2000 or not. It seems that the BOT is particularly interested in how this is resolved so if Baddour sends them a bad hire they could very well not approve it. Something tells me Baddour will know pretty quick whether his choice has the backing of Moeser and the BOT before anything moves through official channels.

So on Day 8 we have one coach allegedly pulling his name out and still a lot of focus on Davis, Johnson, and Rodriguez.