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Fulmer Backpeddles, Carroll Pushes Mariucci For Hogs Gig

Jeff Long must have one of those big, spinning prize wheels behind his desk.  Arkansas’ AD is now into Week Two of his coaching search and no one’s really sure what he’s planning to do:

* Leave interim coach Taver Johnson in place for the fall?

* Promote another interim coach from the current staff?

* Go outside and find a caretaker interim like ex-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer?

* Chase a man with ties to the Hogs like new UAB coach Garrick McGee?

* Or just go all out and make the biggest possible splash he can make right this instant?

If he’s looking to make the biggest splash, he certainly did a cannonball yesterday.  KFSM-TV in Fayetteville reported yesterday that Long had reached out to one-time Hog grad assistant Pete Carroll regarding the Razorbacks’ job. 

Yes, the same Carroll who reportedly makes $7 million per year with the Seattle Seahawks.  The same Carroll who ditched Southern Cal after captaining that ship right into an NCAA iceberg that’s going to leave the Trojans a full 30 scholarships down over the next few years.

Sure, sounds like just the type of guy to clean up Bobby Petrino’s mess.

Carroll actually replied to the story on Twitter, pushing ex-NFL coach Steve Mariucci for the job:

“I still love the Arkansas fight song… But Mooch is the man… Go Razorbacks!”

Mariucci, er Mooch, came up earlier this week in connection with the Hogs’ gig.  He said he’d had no contact with the school but that he might be interested in getting back into coaching someday.  He coached one season at California before jumping to the 49ers and then the Lions of the NFL.  So there’s another guy who has no problems getting when the getting’s good.

One guy who put down roots for more than a quarter-century in the same place — Fulmer as an assistant and head coach at Tennessee — spent yesterday denying comments made by one of his ex-assistants earlier this week.

Doug Matthews told Nashville radio station WGFX-FM that Fulmer had been contacted by the Razorbacks, presumably regarding an interim position.

Fulmer’s response to that yesterday? 

“I have not been contacted by Arkansas.  But I think Arkansas is a great place.

When I left Tennessee, I was asked if I would coach again, and I said I would consider it if it was at a place where I could compete for a championship.  Arkansas does qualify as that kind of place, as there is a very solid foundation there.”

So Fulmer hasn’t been contacted as Matthews suggested, but he would be interested.  And it sounds like he’d be interested in the full-time, long-term gig, too.

Trouble is, this is kind of the status quo for Fulmer in his post-Tennessee career.  A friend of the coach floats his name in connection with a job (like Kansas, like Arkansas), then the coach denies contact.  Methinks Fulmer — like most coaches — likes to hear his name tied to openings.  See: Tubby Smith, Jon Gruden, Houston Nutt, etc, etc.

As we mentioned yesterday, another of Fulmer’s ex-aides is currently on the UA staff — defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell.  If he knows anything of a Razorback-Fulmer connection, he’s decided to just be vague:

“I think he’s a great guy.  He’s just a good individual and a quality coach.  You don’t win 152 games in this conference and not be a good coach.”

According to The Sporting News, Long will make an announcement about his plans “early next week, perhaps as soon as Monday.”  But Long gave no timetable on Wednesday.  He did, however, post the following on Twitter yesterday:

“Hog Fans, please remain calm and please do not believe rumors.  But do come out to the the spring game and support our young men!!”

The double thes were his typo, not ours (for once).

Meanwhile, former Arkansas player and current running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton continues to try and recruit amidst all these rumors.  In our view, Horton makes the most sense for UA in the short term.

Rather than making a quick decision on a splashy hire who might just make matters worse — again, Mariucci left Cal after a year and Carroll left Southern Cal in the NCAA crosshairs — Long should follow his own advice and “remain calm.”

Promote Horton to interim coach for 2012. 

Tab a grad assistant or bring in another interim coach to handle Horton’s running backs duties. 

Hand the recruiting coordinator job to someone else already on staff.

And spend the next eight months finding the best, safest bet to keep the momentum created by Petrino surging forward.

Or of course he could just spin that prize wheel and hope to get lucky.



Tim Horton should be the clear choice!  If he handles the job well, remove the interim tag.


I don't believe for one second that AD Long reached out to Petey.  Long is not going to look for someone who just had NCAA problems. Plus the absurdity that Ark can beat $7M.  KFSM probably got their inside scoop from the drunk guy at Hooters who was trying to impress the girls with his knowledge of all things Razorback. I do concur with your assessment that if we stay interim, Coach Horton makes the most sense. 


Hi John..technically KFSM is in Fort Smith, KXNW is the Fayetteville affiliate.  Just yanking your chain a little : )

Southern Gentleman
Southern Gentleman

Your comments about Tim Horton as the interim coach and then finding the best, safest bet to keep the momentum going, are certainly the smart moves. But, can Jeff Long resist the pressure to make a hire right now? Garrick McGee will be a great HC someday, but is that day coming next week? Stay tuned!


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