Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the process tell FootballScoop.com that South Alabama’s search for its next head coach is winding towards a close.
The Jaguars, who fired Steve Campbell Sunday after he had won just nine games in three seasons, have conducted a brisk search throughout this week that featured initial interviews before Wednesday and more in-depth, full-scale candidate sessions on Thursday and today.
With a brand-new stadium, a great recruiting base and in a football-crazed state, the South Alabama post has elicited strong interest from across college football – including a pair of former Southeastern Conference coaches, ex-Florida coach Jim McElwain and former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, who interviewed for the position sources tell FootballScoop. McElwain is presently head coach at Central Michigan, and Jones is assistant to the head coach, Nick Saban, at Alabama and works closely with wide receivers.
Yet from the outset current Indiana defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, with a previous stint as the Jaguars’ defensive play-caller, has been the front-runner, and sources have indicated Wommack’s status as a strong candidate for the job has not changed. Former Southern Cal offensive coordinator, Mobile, Alabama, native and current Tennessee Vols passing game coordinator Tee Martin also has gotten two interviews and been firmly in the top-tier mix at South Alabama.
Despite coaches pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as reason offenses largely are dominating college football this season, Wommack’s Indiana stop-unit is allowing a mere 362 yards per game and less than 20 points per game. It’s a five-point improvement from Wommack’s first year as coordinator in 2019, when the Hoosiers’ marks still registered as some of the program’s best since 1993. Wommack’s first coordinated unit for Indiana ranked in the nation’s top-50 in a bevy categories and landed 12th for most defensive touchdowns scored.
Kansas offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon, a former Alabama high school coach, also has been linked to the job. We have heard Dearmon mentioned both as a potential head coaching candidate and as a potential offensive coordinator candidate as well.
Alabama running backs coach Charles Huff has also received consideration. Huff’s strong track record at multiple Power-5 programs, as well as his present run of excellent work with Alabama’s running backs group, has not gone unnoticed by college football executives, sources told FootballScoop.com.
In addition to these guy (mentioned above) South is also considering and has interviewed a few other SEC assistant coaches.
Barring any snags, sources indicated to FootballScoop.com that the position was expected to be filled in the next 24 to 72 hours.
The initial early signing period opens Wednesday and runs through next Friday before the NCAA dead period descends on recruiting.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.
Friday evening update> Sources tell FootballScoop South Alabama has completed all planned interviews. Sources continue to share that Kane Wommack remains the expected choice. South Alabama would like to have a deal in place no later than Sunday. We’ll keep you posted as this one comes to a close…