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December 31, 2013

Texas coaching search heating up

This is Texas athletic director Steve Patterson's life right now:

One high-level source said Patterson on Tuesday flew to an undisclosed location to interview Louisville coach Charlie Strong, who has received a high recommendation from the search firm Korn/Ferry, which is assisting in the hunt for Mack Brown's replacement.

Another source close to the situation said Patterson has already interviewed Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and wants to talk to Michigan State's Mark Dantonio.

Patterson met with a group of Texas lettermen before the Alamo Bowl on Monday who expressed support for Baylor coach Art Briles.

A group of billionaire donors appear ready to make their case for Florida State's Jimbo Fisher as the next coach at Texas. Even though Fisher signed a new contract extension at FSU that will take his salary to $4.1 million, the new deal has no buyout, two sources confirmed.

Previously, Fisher had a buyout of $2 million. So the new deal effectively makes it easier for Fisher to leave, if he chose to do so, sources said.

Another billionaire Texas donor has let it be known he supports Jon Gruden as Mack Brown's replacement.


Patterson has consulted former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who has recommended that even former Texas coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp, coming off a 4-8 season at Florida, get consideration, a source said.

Georgia's Mark Richt was also brought to Patterson's attention, a source said.

Former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano has let it be known he's interested in the Texas job, a source close to Schiano said Tuesday.

High-powered candidates backed by varying high-powered agendas.

What's at stake? Only the hire that will make or break Patterson's tenure as athletic director. And all he has to do is navigate through all those shark-infested agendas and somehow consolidate them behind one coach.

Patterson's not talking. His spokesman's not talking.

All Patterson would say to reporters at the Alamo Bowl on Monday was that he'd have a hire by Jan. 15 - the end of the recruiting dead period (which doesn't allow for in-person contact between coaches and recruits).

Another source said Patterson would probably have a decision made within a week.

Welcome to Texas, Steve Patterson.


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