Monday, December 04, 2006

Oops, He Did It Again

Paul Gattis, a UAT graduate and current Alabama beat writer for the Huntsville Times, isn't having a great couple of weeks. Not only did Gattis have to watch his alma mater lose to Auburn for the fifth straight time, he hasn't exactly been great shakes in reporting on the lumbering circus that is UAT's coaching search.

Less than two weeks ago, Gattis rushed to press (including pushing out a much-discussed early draft onto the Times' web site 12 hours before dead-tree publication) the following report:
Mike Shula will return as Alabama's coach in 2007, but there will be changes to the football program, a knowledgeable source said Tuesday.

High-ranking university officials have no intention of making a change in the head coach, according to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Shula was fired four days later. Oops.

Yesterday, Gattis took another swing, again relying on unnamed "sources" regarding UAT's "I want my two dollars!" stalking of recently-successful coaches:
Alabama is expected to interview Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban this week as well as West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, according to multiple sources.

But sources also caution that the search is fluid, changing at times on an hourly basis.

It appears, though, that Alabama is ready to make its push for Saban - who has been considered at the top of the list. Sources have also indicated that luring Saban away from his job with the Dolphins won't be easy.

Meanwhile, West Virginia concluded its season Saturday night against Rutgers - clearing the way for Alabama to talk to Rodriguez.

Saban and Rodriguez looked to be the favorites to replace Mike Shula.

Not quite. Both Saban
Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban on Sunday again denied interest in the vacant head football coaching position at the University of Alabama.

And for the first time, a source familiar with the search from Alabama's side said the university has been told that Saban does not want to be a candidate, and that Alabama no longer considers him one.


... and Rodriguez once again denied any interest by Monday morning:
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore had not contacted Rodriguez as of early Sunday evening, and WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong said Sunday afternoon Moore had not called him to ask permission to speak with his coach, although that is merely a courtesy.

Rodriguez has indicated privately to friends that he is not interested in leaving WVU and would not under any circumstances interview for a job.

… although Rodriguez will apparently listen to the sales pitch:
"If they want to go through a whole process of asking his goals and how he would do this or that, it’s just not going to happen," said a source close to Rodriguez. "But if they want to simply make him an offer, sure, he’ll listen. He’s not crazy."

There is a general belief among insiders in the West Virginia program that one of the reasons Rodriguez will not flatly dismiss the possibility of going elsewhere is that he still feels that WVU officials have not done all they can to help him build the facilities and the assistant coaches’ salaries at WVU.

Ah well, keep at it, Paul. You'll never get another vote the AP poll, but you can still keep holding the rope for your side.

Interestingly, for a school that never misses an opportunity to brag about its own "class," UAT has to date ignored the apparently-sacrosanct customs of coach hiring. From the above Rodriguez article:
Rich Rodriguez has no discussions, formal or otherwise, scheduled with Alabama officials, but on Sunday he was contacted for the second time by the headhunter hired to assist the school in its search for a new football coach.

Alabama athletic director Mal Moore had not contacted Rodriguez as of early Sunday evening, and WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong said Sunday afternoon Moore had not called him to ask permission to speak with his coach, although that is merely a courtesy.

4 comments:

Reed4AU said...

I find it strange that such a well written blog seems to get so few responses. I guess there are too many fish in the pond. Anyway, good work and keep up with the great posts.

Jim Hu said...

Will, on the topic of coach searches, but not Bama's... there are reports that AU's Al Borges is interested in the Stanford job, where Walt Harris was just canned (shamefully, IMHO; see here for why I think that despite the 1-10 record).

Any thoughts on Borges?

Jim Hu said...

Should be 1-11.

Will Collier said...

Al's been a great coach at Auburn. I hope he stays, but I couldn't blame him for taking a head coaching job--even though I'd hope he'd look for a better opportunity than a coaching graveyard like Stanford.