NCAA football rumor mill pairs Patterson with Cornhuskers

NCAA football rumor mill pairs Patterson with Cornhuskers

The seemingly annual merry-go-round of college football coaches came into full swing Monday with head coaching vacancies at the University of Arkansas and Georgia Tech, and the TCU athletic director said head coach Gary Patterson is probably on a few programs’ lists as a potential replacement.Athletic director Danny Morrison said it would surprise him to find out Patterson was not on any teams’ lists, but declined to talk about job speculation.

The fast approaching end to the 2007 season already features 10 universities with available head coaching positions.

Since Patterson took over TCU football at the end of the 2000 season, he has had four 10-win seasons, six trips to bowl games and a likely invitation to another bowl game this season.

At the end of the 2005 season, Patterson’s contract was extended through the 2012 season, according to the TCU athletics Web site.

Morrison said TCU does not release contract information. A USA Today national analysis of football coaches’ salaries listed Patterson at $952,162 in 2006.

Patterson has been considered as a replacement to numerous schools in the past and could be considered by several teams this year.

Southern Methodist University and Baylor University got the ball rolling with the dismissal of head coaches Phil Bennett and Guy Morriss, and the University of Arkansas and Georgia Tech kept things going with the resignation and firing of head coaches Houston Nutt and Chan Gailey yesterday.

The University of Arkansas, Duke University, Georgia Tech, the University of Michigan, the University of Nebraska, the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi and Washington State University are also all without head coaches.

Nebraska, which fired head coach Bill Callahan on Saturday, may be a potential suitor for Patterson.

The Lincoln Journal Star reported Monday that Patterson is a possibility and has connections with Parker Executive Search, which Nebraska is using in its hunt for a new head coach.

Patterson was a top choice by the University of Minnesota last year, which used the same search firm.

Randy York, the associate athletic director of communications at Nebraska, said it was against school policy to comment on who may or may not have been contacted, but said Patterson is respected at Nebraska.

“I know he’s a great coach, everyone respects Gary Patterson,” York said. “His record speaks for itself but I don’t want to get into a speculative position.”

Mark Cohen, director of athletics media relations at TCU, said he did not know whether Nebraska was interested in Patterson, but said an Internet search would probably bring up some talk on the subject.

The Cornhuskers have one the most successful programs in NCAA football history with five national championships and rank in the top five for all-time wins in college football.

Patterson was raised in Kansas and is an alumnus of Kansas State University, joining Nebraska would put him back in the Midwest.

Part of the appeal for Patterson is his background with Texas recruiting. A member of the TCU football staff since 1998, Patterson has extensive experience with finding Texas prospects.

As head coach of an out-of-state school, he may give a team an in with Texas’ coveted recruits.

Another school on the lookout for a new head coach, Georgia Tech, fired head coach Chan Gailey on Monday.

Associate athletic director for public relations at Georgia Tech, Wayne Hogan, said TCU has not been contacted regarding Patterson.

Nicholas Joos, the associate athletic director of communications at Baylor, said Baylor has no comment on its coach search until the process is completed.

SMU has had numerous inquiries over the past few weeks concerning its head coach position, said Brad Sutton, the assistant athletic director of media relations at SMU.

He said until an official selection is made, SMU will make no comment confirming or denying individual rumors concerning any prospect for the vacant head coaching position.