*** NOTE: This story has been updated. ***
As we recover from the Thanksgiving holiday, UCF's head coach search is heating up, with four names emerging on the Knights' shopping list, according to several media reports.
Brandon Helwig at UCFSports.com is reporting the final four as:
- Gene Chizik, North Carolina defensive coordinator (former UCF D.C. and Auburn head coach)
- Dino Babers, Bowling Green head coach
- Geoff Collins, Florida defensive coordinator
- Randy Shannon, Florida co-defensive coordinator and former Miami head coach
What I posted on https://t.co/WBnJOTyC4r: Search focused on 4: BG HC Dino Babers, UNC DC Gene Chizik, UF DCs Geoff Collins & Randy Shannon— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 26, 2015
Brandon also has the timeline for interviews as Saturday and Sunday:
The coach candidates are expected to be interviewed Saturday and Sunday.— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 26, 2015
As far as how that would work, Shannon and Collins are coaching for Florida against Florida State on Saturday, so they likely wouldn't meet with Danny White until Sunday.
North Carolina plays Saturday as well, against N.C. State, so Chizik would not be available until the following day.
Bowling Green finished the regular season at 9-3 with a 48-10 win over Ball State on Tuesday, and won't play again until the MAC Championship on December 4th, so if Babers is indeed interviewing, he would likely do so on Saturday.
Nick Gryniewicz of ESPN 580 Orlando had three of the names on Tuesday:
FootballScoop.com had those three plus Chizik in the mix as someone who has "been discussed."
Meanwhile, Shannon Owens-Green of the Orlando Sentinel name-dropped a fifth, Brian Polian of Nevada:
Possible coaching candidate listed in the story...new UCF athletics director Danny White to start Dec. 14 https://t.co/gEfQygmhlp— osknights (@osknights) November 24, 2015
NOTE: UCFSports.com and FootballScoop.com did not include Polian in their latest reports, so you can probably skip down to the last paragraph now.
Interesting that we've got three who have been previously mentioned, with Polian being the wild card. Shannon said in a previous tweet that she held back on Polian until she had confirmation, so I have no reason to believe she was lying about that.
Polian is, of course, the son of Bill Polian, the longtime NFL Hall-of-Fame executive for the Bills, Panthers and Colts. He's 40 years old, worked at UCF during the 2004 (0-11) season as the running backs coach, and coached at Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M before taking the Nevada head job when Chris Ault (of Colin Kaepernick's development and the Pistol formation fame) retired in 2013.
Polian's record at Nevada is 17-16 (4-8, 7-6, 6-5), with one bowl appearance - a loss in the New Orleans Bowl to Louisiana-Lafayette.
This year he made news by being fined $10,000 by the University of Nevada-Reno for drawing two unsportsmanlike conduct flags in a game against Arizona.
Some fans out in Reno have also been vocal about their displeasure with Polian, although that seems to have subsided for the moment. Still, if he were to take an offer to go elsewhere tomorrow, it doesn't look like many tears would be shed out west.
Despite his deep connections around the game, I'm not of the mind that Polian is a better fit than any of the other three names (Shannon, Collins and Babers). The first two are recruiting nuts and the third is an offensive whiz. Polian is just, well, a name. And he's still working on making a name for himself at Nevada.
*** OK, you can pick it up from here now. ***
Assuming these four guys are the guys (and we are NOT assuming they are the only guys), Danny White has
three four good candidates and one OK one. We'll see once we get through the holiday weekend how it shakes out.
What say you?