If you could be President of a city, Patterson would be President of Fort Worth. He loves funky town and funky town loves him.
Arkansas AD Jeff Long confirmed on Bo Mattingly’s Arkansas radio show yesterday that he is interested in coaches who are currently employed:
“I think they’ll be a coach who is coaching and working in college or professional football.”
That would seem to rule out Butch Davis, the ex-North Carolina coach who’s been cleared — so far — of NCAA wrongdoing in the Tar Heels’ scandal that led to his ouster. Davis is an Arkansas native.
Instead, it’s believed that the top man on Long’s list is TCU head coach Gary Patterson (photo at left).
As we reported earlier this week, an industry source informed us that Patterson is Arkansas’ first target. Since reporting that, we’ve had another source inside the UA athletic department inform us that the “scuttlebutt” inside the program is that TCU’s coach is indeed the top choice.
Louisville coach Charlie Strong — another Arkansas native — has been mentioned in connection with the Razorbacks’ job, but he says he’s staying put and his AD claims he’ll match any offer for his coach.
The 52-year-old Patterson has been TCU’s head coach since 2000. The former Kansas State player has no previous stops in the Southeastern Conference. Under his leadership, the Horned Frogs have gone 114-32. They have lost know more than two games in a season since 2008. They have won a Rose Bowl. And they are currently 5-2 in their first season of Big XII action… 2-2 in that league with losses to Iowa State and Texas Tech (in overtime).
The coach at Texas Tech who knocked off Patterson head-to-head this season is former Ole Miss and Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and it’s believed he’s very interested in a return to the SEC. His name always seems to come up in connection with Arkansas openings because he is an Arkansas native. The 58-year-old has Tech at 6-1 on the season and #14 in the current BCS standings.
Interestingly, Long also addressed speculation that he might not be around in mid-December — his stated target date — to hire the Hogs’ next head coach:
“As long as I have something to say about it. There’s zero chance that I won’t be here to hire the next football coach…
… it’s a legitimate question. I have no interest and no plans that it’s not up to me. God willing I’ll be here to hire the next football coach at the University of Arkansas. I’m excited to do that and feel prepared to do that.”
Long has taken quite a hit for hiring Bobby Petrino, firing Petrino, and naming John L. Smith as interim coach. Funny, with the Hogs’ rolling under Petrino in football and Mike Anderson brought in to run the Arkansas’ hoops program, Long was about as popular as an AD can get — which isn’t very — as recently as April.
Then Petrino wrecked his motorcycle and seemingly everything in the state of Arkansas went topsy-turvy. If Long can grab the defensive-minded (and often sought after) Patterson, that one action could help to repair some bridges between the AD and the powerbrokers in Fayetteville.