At one point on Monday, Houston coach Tom Herman said he had “agreed in principle” to a new contract with the Cougars. Later in the day, Herman made a much less definitive statement, saying “I’m here right now” in regard to the Houston job.
It was that kind of day as teams searching for a new head football coach adjusted to a landscape that seemed to change by the hour. The biggest domino fell early in the day when fired Georgia coach Mark Richt announced during a morning news conference that he would like to coach again and would listen to suitors.
Richt said Monday evening on his radio show that “about five” schools had reached out to him to discuss jobs, but he declined to name those schools. Multiple media reports suggested he would meet with Maryland officials to discuss the Terrapins’ job opening.
“In the past 15 years if I’ve had a headhunter call me and say: ‘Are you interested in this job, are you interested in that job, or whatever job that may be, it’s always been a real simple answer for me, to say no, this is where I want to be,” Richt said on his radio show. “Now I’m losing the opportunity to be the coach at Georgia, I think it’s at least respectful to listen to what they have to say, and just try to decide what’s in the best interest of my family, and not even so much that, but just try to be obedient into what God’s got in store for me. So that’s kind of where I’m at.”
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FootballScoop reported that Richt could become a factor in South Carolina’s search. Whether or not that happens, the Bulldogs’ change could affect the Gamecocks by lessening South Carolina’s chances of landing Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
One of the Gamecocks’ top three initial targets, along with Herman and North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, Smart – a former Bulldogs safety – is considered a strong candidate for the Georgia job.
Herman also still could get in the mix for another coaching job. Although he and the Cougars are working on a new deal that is expected to pay him at least $3 million annually, it’s not done, he said Monday at his regularly scheduled news conference. The Cougars plays in the American Athletic Conference championship game Saturday.
“I’m here right now,” Herman said. “These things takes twists and turns along the way … but I don’t anticipate that happening. That’s probably about all I’m going to say about it.”
Smart, who is preparing for the SEC Championship game against Florida on Saturday, did not speak publicly to media members on Monday, and one of his players, Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, said he hadn’t heard anything from Smart about another job.
“No, he hasn’t said a thing yet,” Ragland said. “We have a meeting in about an hour so he’s going to let us know everything we need to know.”
Meanwhile, FoxSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reported that former Florida head coach and current Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was getting “strong consideration” for the South Carolina job. ESPN later said Muschamp was “gaining serious momentum” with USC.
The new hires
In a cluttered market place, some buyers moved quickly:
▪ Southern Cal: Clay Helton hired as permanent coach on Monday, removing the interim tag.
▪ Virginia Tech: Justin Fuente from Memphis was announced as Frank Beamer’s replacement Sunday.
▪ Iowa State: Toledo coach Matt Campbell decided to take the toughest job in the Big 12.
▪ Illinois: Bill Cubit, named interim when Tim Beckman was fired, got a two-year deal on Saturday.
▪ Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors hired former Hawaii quarterback Nick Rolovich on Friday.