Jim Sterk has spent his week interviewing a list of offensive-minded FBS head coaches to be Missouri's next head coach. He then took the time to update some of the Board, and the response he got was not what he was expecting.
As Dave Matter writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
As Missouri athletics director Jim Sterk continues to look for his next football coach, the UM System Board of Curators is not thrilled with some of the choices being presented as options, multiple sources told the Post-Dispatch Thursday.
The board has not outright rejected any candidate but is worried about the public fallout if Mizzou doesn't consider some high-profile coaches and settles for lesser-known names, especially after firing Barry Odom, a Mizzou alum whose last three teams were 21-17 and each won enough games to be bowl eligible.
FootballScoop has been told the same by a person with knowledge of the search.
This includes Arkansas State's Blake Anderson, who emerged as a trending candidate of late.
Simply put, this will now be a different search moving forward than it was over the past four days. Sterk could re-engage with candidates that had previously moved on, he could pursue entirely new targets, or he could do a combination of both. The path forward is unclear, but what is clear is that winning the press conference has now been deemed by his superiors as equally important as winning on the field next fall.
After all, Missouri is neighbors with Tennessee, a school that fired its AD mid-search when his candidate list was deemed insufficient by the public and university higher-ups.
One candidate that would not be a shock to see garner serious interest is Boise State's Bryan Harsin. The 43-year-old, 70-21 in seven seasons as a head coach, was reportedly a wish-list level candidate early in the week, but his name quickly fizzled out as the week progressed. His name surfaced in several media outlets, and if there's one thing we've collectively learned from donor- or trustee-led searches, it's that they read the same message boards and Facebook pages Joe Q. Fan reads -- only they have the power to tell the AD, "Get him, or else."
Harsin may prove to be a viable option or he may not, but Thursday's news proves that, in the event Sterk does not land a wish-list candidate, any coach Sterk does hire -- specifically, any coach that garnered serious interest before this point -- will be viewed as a fallback option.
Harsin's Boise State team hosts Hawaii for the Mountain West championship on Saturday, so if Harsin is engaged by Missouri, it would not be until the second week of the search.
And Thursday's news made it clear this search will stretch into a second week.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.