Regarding the search for Arizona State’s next football coach, at least this much is certain: No announcement is planned today, a school spokesman said.
Beyond that, it is anybody’s guess, with names continuing to swirl and the field of candidates appearing to pare.
Several sources told the Tribune that Texas El-Paso coach Mike Price is not getting the job. Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson said that he has not been contacted by ASU. Former Cardinals coach and current Tennessee Titans assistant Dave McGinnis is evidently out, as is Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Price, who won two Pac-10 championships at Washington State, was believed to be a serious candidate for the opening. But sources said that some in ASU’s athletics circle had reservations because of the off-field incident that led to the end of his brief stay at Alabama.
In April 2003, less than five months after taking the Alabama job, Price was the subject of a Sports Illustrated article recounting a night of drinking at a Pensacola, Fla., topless bar. The school fired him, and Time Inc. later settled on a $20 million defamation suit filed by Price.
Patterson has a $1-million buyout of his TCU contract. That could scare off such schools as ASU, which already owes $2.85 million to Dirk Koetter, who was fired on Nov. 26 but is coaching the Sun Devils in the Hawaii Bowl.
Boston College coach Tom O’Brien, who was linked to the ASU opening before saying on Tuesday that he is “not a candidate for any job,” has been hired at North Carolina State, according to an ESPN report.
So who is left?
Tennessee Titans coach Norm Chow was reportedly interviewed by ASU athletic director Lisa Love last weekend, and earlier on Wednesday he withdrew his consideration for the N.C. State position.
Steve Mariucci, the former California and NFL coach who serves as a studio analyst for the NFL Network, remains out there. So does Dennis Erickson, though the Idaho coach said on Tuesday that he has not been contacted by ASU.
It is possible that the window on her goal to acquire a proven “big talent,” in her words, is closing, unless ASU has someone currently off everybody’s radar in mind.
That was the case when Love hired basketball coach Herb Sendek. And given how quickly things can change — as evidenced by O’Brien’s apparent quick about-face — another surprise is not outside the realm of possibility.