Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Long: Coaching search ongoing
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long
FAYETTEVILLE University of Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long reaffirmed Friday that the search for the Razorbacks' next head football coach will extend beyond the coming weekend.
Long, who fired former coach Bobby Petrino on April 10, said he has "initiated a review of potential candidates both inside and outside the program", but did not mention particular names. During his April 10 press conference, Long said Petrino's replacement would not be named before the end of Arkansas' spring football practices.
"While this process is a priority, it is imperative we take the time to identify a leader for our program who will provide the best opportunity to build upon the recent success of our nationally ranked program on and off the field," Long said.
“I appreciate the tremendous leadership our assistant coaches have provided this spring. They continue to serve in the best interests of our student-athletes and the Razorback program."
Several coaches have been linked in various media reports to the Arkansas job, but most of those mentioned have denied contact with the school. Long took to his Twitter account on Friday to deny reports he had contacted Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
"...while I respect him, I have not sought him out, spoken to or offered him a position," Long wrote.
Long said he would begin a national search for a new head coach on April 10, but conceded the timing of a search so close to the season wasn't ideal.
Arkansas' current coaches and players have lobbied for Long to appoint an interim head coach for the 2012 season. Speculation for an interim coach has centered around offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton, and Taver Johnson, the Razorbacks' linebackers coach who was appointed interim head coach through the end of spring practices.
Spring practices will conclude Saturday with Arkansas' annual Red-White game at 2 p.m. in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.