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As candidates drop out, Auburn forges ahead in search

On Monday, hours after interviewing with Auburn officials and “connecting well,” per sources, with Tigers' director of athletics Allen Greene, Louisiana coach Billy Napier announced he was remaining atop the Cajuns' program.

Additionally, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian no longer is considering the Tigers' top post, per sources with direct knowledge.

So, where now does Auburn turn?

Industry sources on Monday afternoon told FootballScoop that Auburn is speaking again this afternoon to UAB head coach Bill Clark, who first emerged as a potentially prime candidate for the job over the weekend after Clark's Blazers captured their second Conference USA championship in three years.

Clark is 51-26 all-time as a college head coach, including an 11-4 run atop FCS Jacksonville State before winning 40 games in five seasons at UAB. Thirty-four of those wins have come in the four seasons since UAB's resurrection from a self-inflicted death penalty. He was a championship coach in the Alabama high school ranks before taking the Jacksonville State job in 2013.

Kevin Steele remains the Tigers' interim coach and has been an in-house candidate after making a bold push for the job in the aftermath of Gus Malzahn's firing on Dec. 13. However, sources late Sunday and Monday told FootballScoop that the perception was that Steele's candidacy for the vacancy was slipping.

The search is still ongoing. As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

Monday night update>

Brandon Marcello reports that Bill Clark is no longer a candidate.

FootballScoop sources share that Clark and Auburn reps spoke multiple times today, including this evening. We wonder if cooler heads will prevail in the morning, or if this search really takes a wild turn.

As always, we'll keep you updated on The Scoop.

Tuesday morning update> We continue to hear Bill remains in play for the job. Stay tuned....