Kevin Sumlin Has Been Contacted by Arizona State, No Wait, He Hasn't...
The Internet is awesome.
Only on Twitter can you get a reporter (in this case, Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic) to definitively state that University of Houston coach Kevin Sumlin has been offered the Arizona State head coaching job, and then have literally dozens of other journalists line up to tell the guy that he is dead wrong, no offer has been extended, not even any contact has taken place.
It's fascinating. One side is a thousand percent wrong, and yet in the end, everyone will retain their credibility.
As my buddy Tony Prock (@Tony_Five_O) tweeted a short time ago -- "Twitter is the high school lunch room of sports gossip."
So allow my illustration that nobody really knows anything to be the segue into the latest on where Kevin Sumlin might be coaching football come 2012:
1. Kevin Sumlin will not be addressing his coaching future during the Coogs' regular season. He made that much clear at his press conference on Tuesday (via Houston Chronicle):
"I've dealt with (rumors) ever since I've been here," Sumlin said on Tuesday. "Everyone around here is used to it. I can't control who's going to write about me going wherever. Everyone's going to assume all kinds of things. I see things that people have asked me about that are really, really outlandish.
"I think I have a track record of handling things. As I've said many times, you only talk about coaches two ways in college football: a bunch of them that got talked about got let go on Monday and Sunday and the other guys they talk about moving on to other jobs, and I don't want to be in that first conversation. As long as you keep talking about me moving on, then hopefully I'm doing a pretty good job at that point.
"Nobody has talked to me all year. This week, we're so far into it, I didn't even realize that half the people had stopped playing. I got a bunch of text messages from coaches who were let go at other programs and responded to them. No one has contacted me from anywhere in the country about a coaching job and even if they tried at this point, I wouldn't even talk to them because we're in the middle of the season."
This is why coaches have agents. My guess is someone from one of the schools who has filled an opening or is trying to fill an opening has contacted someone associated with and/or employed by Kevin Sumlin. Also, keep in mind....
2. The regular season ends on Saturday afternoon. So while this may not be an issue on Thursday, by Monday it could be.
3. Pac-12 schools are spending like drunken sailors because of their new television contract. Rich Rodriquez to Arizona. Mike Leach to Washington State. Big-name coaches who were fired from their previous gigs getting comparable or even better money than they were making the last time around, and at schools that, frankly, have been mediocre to bad football schools. Pac-12 schools and unemployed coaches have Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott to thank for the new dynamic. He was at the forefront of the realignment boom that eventually led to his conference getting lucrative television deals that will net his member institutions roughly $20 million per year.
So if Arizona and Washington State are ready to spend big money on coaches who were last seen (a) getting Michigan and West Virginia into some lukewarm NCAA water and (b) getting fired for putting a player in a woodshed, then what will Arizona State (a sleeping football giant) shell out for a guy who will have been last seen taking a Conference USA school to a BCS bowl game, who reportedly likes the desert? ($2.5 million per year according to those who
mistakenly reported Sumlin's ASU offer.)
4. Houston loses a boatload of experience after this season, especially at the offensive skill positions, especially-squared at the quarterback position. In other words, while it would be insulting for me to say Kevin Sumlin's stock will never be higher, it would be naive to say that the circumstances for his stock to decline in 2012 are not firmly in place. With Urban Meyer off the market, Sumlin is the hottest coaching prospect on the market. Period. Will he still be able to say that if the Coogs have an 8-4 season in 2012?
This will be a fascinating, pivotal weekend in the rebirth of the Houston Cougar football program. Come Monday, the best-case scenario is a rout of Southern Miss, a berth in the Sugar Bowl, and these schools with openings finding another coach. The worst-case scenario is a Southern Miss upset, the Coogs being relegated to the Liberty Bowl against the seventh-choice SEC school, and Coach Sumlin on a private plane to Tempe (or Los Angeles or...).
I can't wait to watch.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game and Yahoo! Sports Radio from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.