If Tennessee wasn’t currently setting new records, we would likely be reporting that the Arkansas search has been one of the most, well, let’s say “interesting” in recent memory.
Chatter in the profession has been of multiple contacts with the same candidate by different groups “representing” Arkansas. In one case, a source close to a candidate told FootballScoop, “Coach got a call from the biggest of Arkansas’ donors but hasn’t heard a word from their administration.” The same day a different source, referring to a different coach told FootballScoop, “Our guy just had a great call with Arkansas’ search folks and he’s going to interview with them.”
In this case, there really seems to be two separate (and potentially unconnected) searches. Truly fascinating.
We do have good news though, as word has come down that the powers that be at Arkansas are aware of the potential for disaster here and vastly accelerated their plans to attempt to select an AD in very short order. Arkansas needs this to unify the search and truly get everyone on the same page.
With that said, here is what we’ve been hearing from the two different searches: The search being led by the folks who ultimately fund the university and who continue to believe Gus Malzahn is in play should Auburn lose to Georgia this weekend. That, very much, remains to be seen. Should Auburn win, assuring Auburn a spot in the Playoff, the money folks seem fixated on Mike Norvell as their Plan B.
From the other search, led by those who are employed by the university, the word there is the two coaches they have vetted to their liking are Brent Venables and Chad Morris. Both of those men are outstanding football coaches and probably would do very well at Arkansas, but at this time it appears the donors would need to be sold on being a better choice than Mike Norvell. If Arkansas is able to select their new AD in the coming days perhaps he (or she) could accomplish this.
A potentially complicating factor is that both Venables & Morris are believed to be strong candidates in Mississippi State’s search; and that one is likely to wrap up in the coming days.
With conference championship games this weekend, this one appears to be in a holding pattern for a few days. A decision regarding an athletic director would be welcomed by all. Then, all eyes in the state of Arkansas turn to the SEC Championship in hopes of an Auburn loss.
Stay tuned my friends….
As always stay tuned The Scoop for the latest in coaching job information.