Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Some names can be crossed off Hogs’ list
Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn looks on during a preseason practice in Jonesboro.
LITTLE ROCK Honestly, it’s almost as if someone is trying to sabotage Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long’s coaching search.
Jon Gruden? Gary Patterson? Chris Petersen and now Les Miles have supposedly had large financial offers from the University of Arkansas and turned them down.
It sounds like some clown somewhere is trying to make it look like Long and the Arkansas Razorbacks can’t get a prom date.
It may be true that a candidate or two weren’t interested in Arkansas’ head coaching job, but Long wouldn’t know that until after he approached them.
In other words, if he’s going to hit a home run, he has to get in the batter’s box and take a few swings.
As for Miles, he and Long go back 25 years. Yes, they talked, but no official offer was made. Miles is smart enough not to tell his athletic director that.
Miles makes $3,856,417 per year, which is a ton of money — even in Louisiana — to teach blocking and tackling. The thing is, he may have found the perfect spot for him and knew that when he turned down Michigan, his alma mater, a few years ago.
At Oklahoma State, he was 28-21 overall and 16-16 in the Big 12 and became a surprisingly hot property at LSU after the Tigers cooled their jets on Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt was told that if he interviewed on the LSU campus that would be considered a resignation.
In the SEC, surrounded by so much homegrown talent, Miles is 85-20 overall and 47-17 in SEC play. That includes going 13-0 during the regular season last year, and he didn’t even get a raise.
Nick Saban, who is 66-13 at Alabama and 39-9 in SEC play, makes $5,476,738 per year. But Saban has three national championships and could go into rare air with a fourth if Alabama wins two more games.
Anyway, until Long goes public, here are a few more names you may hear but should disregard:
Nick Saban. Yes, he was seen on the UA campus in September, but the only thing he was collecting was yards, points and another victory.
President Obama. He would love to get a salary increase of about 10 times what he is making, but the Razorback Foundation plane just isn’t what he has become accustomed to.
Teddy Roosevelt. Despite the obvious (he passed away in 1919), he was always very ground-oriented in his offensive philosophy.
Joe Kleine. UALR’s assistant basketball coach loves both schools and is still a Razorbacks season ticket holder and donor to the UA, but he always wants the play to go inside out.
Gus Malzahn. He has said he is happy in Jonesboro, and his career climb isn’t finished. He has both supporters and naysayers as far as the UA job is concerned.
Jerry Jones. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys may have been spotted at the Wings Over the Prairie Festival in Stuttgart, but that trip was about ducks, not hogs.
Bill Belichick. Why not throw his name out there, too?
North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays. He has shown a lot of leadership and may be interested in a new career.
Jimmy Johnson. He is a former Razorbacks letterman and was the winning coach of a couple of Super Bowl-winning teams, but this would be another Gruden rumor.
That’s just a random sampling of some names you may hear and need to disregard.
Remember this: When no information is being released, rumors become smoke without fire.
The coaching process continues, and it is not an easy job. Not every coach wants to take on a monumental chore that awaits at Arkansas, but when it is all over, the UA will have a date to the prom.
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/29/2012