UCLA Fan Sites Killed Defensive Coordinator Hire

Exactly one week ago, the USC DAILY TROJAN student newspaper reported that former USC assistant football coach Rocky Seto had accepted an offer to become UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator.

Rick Neuheisel UCLA Monopoly Photoshop

Originally included in that report was a text message attributed to Seto that read: “[I] accepted the position tonight to coordinate at UCLA. Praise the Lord!

The same day, on Seto’s Facebook page, he received messages from friends who congratulated him on landing the job.

The next day, Feb. 2,  Chris Foster of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported a source saying the Seto hire was a “done deal.

Rocky Seto is expected to be hired as UCLA defensive coordinator.

A UCLA official said Tuesday that no one had been hired, but people close to Seto who were not authorized to speak on the subject said it was a “done deal.”

Interestingly though, Foster Tweeted that when he tried to contact Seto about the UCLA job opportunity …

After a text message was fired off to Seto by LA Times, Seto’s text quote was mysteriously removed from the Daily Trojan story.

Two days later, on Feb. 4, Foster Tweeted that Seto had been offered the job.

Rocky Seto has been offered, but nothing is finalized. Randy Shannon is still in the background.

Then, on Feb. 5, Foster reported the offer from UCLA to Seto had been pulled:

Seto, an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, was offered and accepted the job Tuesday night, but the offer was rescinded the following day, according to the person close to the negotiations. The person said that no reason was given other than UCLA officials decided to go “in another direction.” UCLA officials claimed Saturday that no “official” offer had been made.

This morning, Seto confirmed to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he’d been offered the job by UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, accepted it, then had the offer rescinded. Seto:

“He called, and he was really gracious about it and very flattering. It just wasn’t the right time. What was flattering about it was I really believe he wanted to do it, but the circumstances just wouldn’t allow for it.”

Now let me translate exactly what Seto meant by that quote - and why things happened the way they did. Read more…

Sapp: Gruden Call To The U. Got Shannon Fired?

Prominent University of Miami football alumnus Warren Sapp made an extremely interesting guest appearance Thursday on 790 The Ticket’s “The Sports Brothers” show with Ed Freeman and Jeff Fox in Miami.

Warren Sapp: Jon Gruden interest in Miami got Shannon fired

(Audio below - Credit 790 The Ticket in Miami)

Sapp, who has a relationship with Jon Gruden dating back to the NFL, revealed some new information during Thursday’s radio show about the possible circumstances surrounding the departure of Univ. of Miami football coach Randy Shannon.

Information that, to say the least, paints Gruden in an extremely negative light.

Excerpt from the interview: Read more…

Picture Of Trump’s Note Scolding UM President

The University of Miami confirmed this morning that a note scratched out on a newspaper in which Donald Trump recently scolded UM President Donna Shalala for not hiring Mike Leach as the school’s football coach in 2007 is authentic.

Trump newspaper note to Shalala

(Credit: Bruce Feldman)

The note from Trump reads:

You made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech … and you can now get him for the right price

Before Miami hired now-fired Randy Shannon in 2007, Trump sent a letter of recommendation on Leach’s behalf to Shalala.

The PALM BEACH POST reported on it at the time:

“In a letter sent this week to UM President Donna Shalala, Trump refers to Texas Tech’s upset victory of No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday and reminds Shalala that he strongly recommended that (Mike) Leach be given the Hurricanes’ job.”

Trump wrote in the letter, “You are my friend, but you should have listened to me. If you did, your team would be fighting for the National Championship.”

Shalala’s response: “I got the letter and I laughed.”

Leach was eventually granted an interview for the job at that time but was passed over. Shalala, along with Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee instead went with Shannon. Current school AD Kirby Hocutt is heading up the search for a coach this time around, with input from Shalala.

The PALM BEACH POST reported today that Leach, who was fired by Texas Tech in 2009, is once again interested in the job.

“It’s a great job and I think it would be a great fit,” Leach said. “We’d have an exciting brand of football. We’ll fill the seats and we’ll win games and we’ll win ACC championships.”

In the past 24 hours, it has been widely reported that Jon Gruden has met with Hocutt about taking the job.

A talent agency source with knowledge of the Miami search and Gruden’s situation told me today that Gruden will likely not take the Miami job, though his next job will be as a college - not NFL - coach. Read more…

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…

‘Canes Develop Unhealthy SpongeBob Fascination

A couple weeks ago, Miami head coach Randy Shannon encouraged his players to avoid watching ESPN or any other coverage of their season, believing any positive press would serve little more purpose than as a distraction. Wunderquarterbacken Jacory Harris took things a step further, telling his teammates to only watch SpongeBob SquarePants, believing that if their hype hit that show, only then would it have been deserved*.

SpongeBob SquarePants U Miami
(Oh, it’s on.)

Well, one semi-innocuous comment later, things have pretty much flown off the rails. The inimitable 7TH FLOOR BLOG was on the story from the start, but the fad has spread to unlikely sources, including what might be the worst newspaper article we’ve ever seen.

Read more…

Speed Read: Hurricanes Avoid Yellow Jackets Trap

All this week, one of the top stories in college football was about the resurgence of the University of Miami football program after their Labor Day victory over Florida State. They were ranked in the Top 25 for seemingly the first time since Bernie Kosar was behind center, and people were talking about how head coach Randy Shannon had turned the moribund program back into players on the national stage.

Miami vs Georgia Tech

Which meant only one thing: The ‘Canes were due to crash and burn last night on ESPN against Georgia Tech. After all, they would certainly be dealing with a team-wide outbreak of swollen heads after their “program changing” win against the Seminoles. Plus, they would have to deal with the Yellow Jackets’ screwy triple option offense, which is tough under any circumstances. All the signs were there for a total meltdown: in fact, it had to happen.

Read more…

Erin Andrews Quells Rumors of Florida Favoritism

Ever since the Miami Hurricanes lost to the Florida Gators last weekend, they’ve spent the majority of their time whining about everything.  Head coach Randy Shannon talked about how he didn’t appreciate Urban Meyer opting to kick a field goal in the last minute even though his team was already ahead 23-3, and former Cane Warren Sapp quickly followed that up by saying that Meyer was a “classless dirtbag.”

Erin Andrews walk sideglance

Not content with solely ripping on Meyer, Canes fans now have a new person to blame for their team sucking: Erin Andrews.

Read more…

Blogz: Heather Mitts Completes Eagles’ Great Day

• THE 700 LEVEL flies over news that Sunday was a great day for Eagles fans - not only did their team run roughshod over the Rams, but the Linc crowd was treated to a halftime appearance by Heather Mitts.

Heather Mitts Eagles halftime

• It wasn’t just UTEP fans gripped in groinal adventures Saturday night, as THE SLANCH REPORT finds footage of a Miners player on the sideline taking a pigskin to the privates, courtesy of the team’s long snapper.

Mark Gokavi of the DAYTON DAILY NEWS spells out some fun anagrams of NFL teams. Can’t wait for next Sunday night’s matchup between the Tightest Beer Slurps & the Never Bald Clowns!

• Even when she’s skipping out on the U.S. Open, SASSYBELLA learns that Maria Sharapova can still bring in the endorsement deals - this time for Cole Haan clothing.

Read more…

College FB Coaches To Visit Troops In Middle East

The COLUMBUS (GA) LEDGER-ENQUIRER ten-huts, as five college football coaches will be making a special trip to visit recruits - of the Armed Forces.

college football coaches visitng troops in Middle East

Georgia’s Mark Richt, Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville, Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis, Miami’s Randy Shannon, and Yale’s Jack Siedlecki will be meeting & greeting with troops stationed in the Middle East.

Read more…