UM: Same Coach Headhunter Who Hired Shannon

Here’s an ASSOCIATED PRESS report on the vacant University of Miami football coaching position:

Randy Shannon Chuck Neinas

The Miami athletic director said he and Chuck Neinas, a consultant the school hired to help conduct the search, have not compiled a list of interviewees yet.

Some names though have been bandied about as possible candidates, including Jim Leavitt, Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach. Some NFL coaches are also in the mix.

Here’s another ASSOCIATED PRESS report on the vacant University of Miami football coaching position:

The Miami Athletic Director moved swiftly, already enlisting the help of Chuck Neinas — a consultant who specializes in finding the coaches for schools — and giving him an initial list of candidates. The school would not divulge who the initial targets are, and stressed that it will take as much time as it needs to make the right hire.

Speculation has centered on Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville and former NFL Coach Jon Gruden — each of whom would be a splashy get.

Amazingly similar stories, considering they were written four years apart nearly to the day.

The first story was published Nov, 30, 2006. The second, Nov. 29, 2010.

In 2006, it was the same coach headhunter Neinas who eventually recommended Miami hire Randy Shannon.

On Nov. 30, 2006, the same day as the first story, the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL reported of the Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee’s coaching search:

Dee said he’s been in contact with agents, and talks to consultant Chuck Neinas — who UM hired to expedite the process — two or three times a day.

Dec. 7, 2006, the Sun-Sentinel broke the news of the Shannon hire with:

Shannon was among a short list of candidates Athletic Director Paul Dee and a selection committee (including consultant Chuck Neinas) interviewed this week at the College Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. 

Four years later, Neinas is once again heading the Miami football coach search. But only after the Univ. of Miami forks over around $50,000 for his services.

Why go back to Neinas? Perhaps this snippet from a SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL profile of current Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt provides a clue:

Hocutt took those lessons with him, learning at the feet of some of the giants in college administration. There was Chuck Neinas at the College Football Association and later Joe Castiglione at Oklahoma.

Neinas hired Hocutt for his first job out of college in 1995.

Hocutt is far from alone though in his questionable call of hiring the same search firm that recommended the coaching candidate the same school most recently fired. (Now that’s a business model.)

Neinas, who is based in Boulder, was working on Colorado’s behalf when he recommended the school hire Gary Barnett, who was later fired. CU went back to Neinas for Barnett’s replacement, who then placed Dan Hawkins in the job.

With Hawkins’ recent, unceremonious ouster, one guess who is leading the search for the next Buffaloes coach?

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that Neinas also placed current Colorado AD Mike Bohn at CU.  (Bohn is, not surprisingly, on the ropes now himself.)

Here’s an abbreviated list of some of Neinas’ greatest hits over the years.

Colorado (1999) - Gary Barnett
Texas A&M (2002) - Dennis Franchione
Baylor Football (2002) - Guy Morriss
Notre Dame (2002) - George O’Leary (whoops!)
Notre Dame (2002) - Tyrone Willingham
Colorado Football (2005) - Dan Hawkins
San Diego State (2005) - Chuck Long
Kansas State (2005) - Ron Prince
Washington (2006)  - Tyrone Willingham
Miami (2006) - Randy Shannon

Okay, Neinas has also made some good hires along the way, like Urban Meyer at Florida.

So maybe this time he’ll get it right at Miami.

And Colorado. And Indiana. And Minnesota. And North Tex… okay I’ll stop.

U. Getting Gruden Screw Like NFL Network Did?

Sunday speculation exploded in the Miami media that Jon Gruden was closing in on a deal to coach the Miami Hurricanes.

Jon Gruden leaking pseudo interest in Miami job?

Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD Tweeted Sunday evening, “Hearing Jon Gruden has agreed to $3.4 mil deal to become #UM’s next coach. Trying hard to confirm it officially.

Earlier Sunday Steve Gorten of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL had reported, “According to a UM source, former NFL coach Jon Gruden initiated contact with the university to express his desire for the job and that the interest is mutual.

Gruden agreeing to coach the Hurricanes would be a shocker, but if you believe Peter King, there’s virtually no chance it will happen.

King Tweeted Sunday night:

I’m hearing the Gruden-to-Miami rumors are fraudulent. But will keep you informed if I hear differently. Jon Gruden is not going to the University of Miami. Period.

To that end, the man who first broke Randy Shannon’s firing late Saturday, ASSOCIATED PRESS reporter Tim Reynolds, Tweeted Sunday:

Doesn’t sound like Miami expects an imminent signing: Jeff Stoutland to meet with reporters Tuesday morning.

But after his Tweet, Reynolds reported:

A person with knowledge of Miami’s search told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Jon Gruden received “parameters” of an offer from the Hurricanes. Gruden, the former Tampa Bay coach who now an ESPN analyst, is atop Miami’s wish list, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because university officials did not authorize the release of search details.

Sources familiar with the UM coaching search told me Saturday night that the school had contracted the coach placement firm run by Chuck Neinas to assist with the hire. Neinas charges a standard fee of $50,000 for his services, and with Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt now on the record about having hired Neinas, the insta-hire of Gruden would be hard to believe.

So why then has Gruden’s name exploded in its association with the Miami job? Read more…

Why USC Was Left No Choice But To Take Kiffin

Knowing NCAA sanctions are likely looming for USC and that Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron were prominent members of the Trojans staff during the time some of those possible violations occurred, to outsiders it must look insane that USC hired Kiffin as head coach yesterday.

Ed Orgeron Lane Kiffin

(Orgeron was already on board as Kiffin caught last plane out)

But in the context of the coaching search USC completed before hiring Kiffin, the Trojans had no choice but to hire a guy almost universally despised not only in Knoxville, but inside USC’s Heritage Hall.

To clarify the hire, understand that USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett was only tangentially involved in the process. The primary movers in getting the deal done were search committee members Ed Roski, Pat Haden and Lakers Owner Jerry Buss.

Jerry Buss Ed Roski Pat Haden

(USC Coach Search Committee: Buss, Roski, Haden)

Roski and Haden are also members of the USC Board of Trustees, with Roski the Chair. Roski is also the guy fronting L.A.’s bid to bring the NFL back. Buss is a prominent USC booster. I only last night found out that the Lakers Owner was involved in the coaching hire.

Read more…