Did Burglaries, DUI Arrest Haunt Tulsa Candidate?

With Todd Graham having left for Pitt after a successful run as Tulsa head football coach, the Hurricane is back in the market for someone to lead their football program.

Garrick McGee

(Fair to be judged by something you did when you were 18?)

Earlier this week Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter was offered the job by Tulsa school President Steadman Upham and athletic director Bubba Cunningham. A Big 12 coaching source told me this week that DeRuyter turned down it down after the TAMU assistant was told the job paid the paltry sum of $500,000 per season. (Fellow Conference USA coach June Jones makes four times that amount at SMU.)

DeRuyter may have just been testing his market value in talking to Tulsa, but likely wouldn’t have even spoken to the school had he known of the embarrassingly low salary. To that end, one hot coaching candidate from an SEC school told me Thursday he didn’t not express interest in Tulsa when contacted just for that reason.

Upham and Cunningham then reportedly targeted Arkansas Offensive Coordinator Garrick McGee as a leading candidate for the job. With some media outlets reporting yesterday that Tulsa had gone so far to offer McGee the job, an SEC coaching source told me late yesterday McGee had not received an offer thanks in part to concerns over off-field issues involving the Razorbacks assistant.

While serving as Northwestern Offensive Coordinator in 2007, McGee was arrested for DUI in … wait for it … Tulsa.

After initially being charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence stemming from a 2007 Christmas eve traffic stop, McGee pleaded guilty on March 21, 2008, to reckless driving according to Tulsa County court documents. McGee’s guilty plea for driving 16 to 20 miles per hour over the speed limit was a $635 fine and 24 hours of community service.

That news was widely reported in the media in 2007, but in mulling McGee’s candidacy Tulsa also noted his brushes with the law during his days as a collegiate football player. Read more…

Kansas To Name Tulsa A.D. New Athletic Director

Kansas is expected to announce current Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham as its new athletic director as soon as tomorrow according to a Big 12 athletic director who wished to remain anonymous.

Bubba Cunningham

Cunningham’s deal with Kansas has not been consummated but he recently met with the approval of the KU administration following a meeting with Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little this week.

As I reported last week, base annual pay for the position is expected to be $750,000. Read more…

Another Day, Another Candidate In KU AD Search

Today I learned new details about what has become a plodding search by Kansas for its next athletic director.

Mike Bobinski

(Like Tulsa’s Cunningham, Bobinski is a Notre Dame alumnus)

As reported here previously, current Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham continues to be on KU’s short list for the gig. Cunningham is apparently serious enough about his interest in the job that he and his family visited Lawrence last weekend to get a feel for the surroundings.

But another, new name has now emerged late(?) in the game. Read more…

KU Rules Out Barnhart; Targets 2 New Candidates

Two weeks ago I reported that current Univ. of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham were getting heavy consideration for the vacant Kansas Athletic Director position.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(No interview? Thank you come again)

After my report, Barnhart released a statement that included, “I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.”

From what I was told today by a source, Barnhart won’t have to worry about Kansas distracting him any longer.

Because of my report, Barnhart subsequently communicated to those associated with the search for the new Kansas AD that he was still interested in the job, but that he couldn’t interview in order to keep up appearances in Lexington.

In other words, if KU wanted Barnhart, it would have to hire him without an interview.

That didn’t go over so well in Lawrence, so Barnhart is no longer a candidate for the job.

That leaves current Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham as the leading candidate for the job.

I’ve also been told of two other candidates that Kansas now is targeting for the job: Read more…

Kentucky AD Statement Has Glaring Non-Denial

Today Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart released a statement responding to my report last night that he would soon be interviewing for the Kansas Athletic Director position.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(Get the UK fan reax to Barnhart’s statement)

Barnhart’s complete statement from the UK official site:

“Being a Kansas native with family in the area, having gone to Ottawa University in Kansas and my wife, Connie being a Kansas alum, I have many ties to the state. We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas. I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

“We have made progress in many areas over the last eight years, but we need to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the facilities to compete at the highest level.

“We have initiated the process of building a new track and are now focused on how we can upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and our football facilities. Our 22 sports receive unbelievable support from the Big Blue Nation and our fans deserve championship level success across the board.”

The two lines that matter:

I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

Does that look like a denial to you? (Somebody tell Mitch he’s not the football coach at Alabama.) Read more…

Kentucky’s Barnhart ‘Finalist’ For Kansas AD Job

Two SEC school administration sources have told me in the past 48 hours that University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart will interview for the Kansas University Athletic Director position in early December.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(Landing KU gig would likely mean bump in pay for UK’s Barnhart)

Joining Barnhart as a finalist for the position is current Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. Cunningham will also interview with Kansas for the job next month, which was recently vacated by the retirement of Lew Perkins.

I’ve been told Barnhart and Cunningham are two of three finalists targeted by the six-member Kansas AD search panel, which is chaired by the managing partner of Pegasus Capital Management, Ray Evans.

As it pertains to Barnhart, I’ve been told there are three main factors fueling the interest of Kansas officials in the current UK AD. Read more…