News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 30

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday December 30, 2016

- Jim Leavitt’s new contract at Oregon has a very interesting note.

His buyout if he leaves starts at $500,000 and later drops to $250,000, but there is no buyout if he leaves for the Kansas State head coaching job.

It’s been no secret that Leavitt is interested in the job whenever the 77-year-old Bill Snyder steps down. It doesn’t appear this will be that year. Leavitt was a K-State assistant from 1990-95, before taking the South Florida head coaching job as that program was started.

Leavitt was a Broyles Award finalist this year after turning around the Colorado defense, and now he’ll make more than $1 million annually at Oregon. He was very successful as USF’s head coach, but his dismissal after the 2009 season for striking a player will still weigh heavily for any school thinking of hiring him as a head coach. Who knows when Bill Snyder will ever step down, and he may want to pick his own successor, but Leavitt has quietly made it clear what he’d like his next job to be.

- Virginia Tech overcame a 24-0 deficit to beat Arkansas, and Bud Foster sees Frank Beamer in Justin Fuente.

FBS teams were 0-102 when trailing by at least 24 points at halftime this season, and it was the biggest comeback in VT history. Foster’s defense forced three turnovers within 11 snaps in the third quarter, and Virginia Tech won 35-24. The Hokies finish 10-4 after not even getting a vote in the preseason poll.

"Overwhelmed by just how good Justin is," Foster said, per the Daily Press. "I'm really impressed by his maturity as a young coach. He's a deep thinker in the things that he says and brings to the table to our team. … It reminds me of Coach Beamer 30 years ago."

- Mike Gundy continues to win, win and win.

Thursday’s 38-8 win over No. 10 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl gave him his fifth season of at least 10 wins since 2010. Five of the program’s eight 10-win season in history have come under Gundy.

This will likely be Gundy’s third top-10 finish at Oklahoma State. Before he became head coach, the program had two (1945, 1984).

- Urban Meyer didn’t like that his daughters had to play year-round volleyball, because he doesn’t like single sport specialization.

At Fiesta Bowl media day, Meyer was asked his thoughts on specialization. It’s different in college, but for youth and high school sports, Meyer wants multi-sport athletes, even in his own family.

“I just speak on behalf of my kids. I was very disappointed when my daughters, when I was told that she had to play volleyball year-round, because I think you should play multiple sports.

“My son plays baseball, football, and I always like the athletes that play more than one sport.”

- Will Muschamp said there was one key in South Carolina’s defensive struggles over the last four / five games.

“All four teams spread the field and made us defend the field. It started with Missouri,” Muschamp said. “Speed. It’s kind of important on defense. Pass-rushers. If there’s any out there, come to South Carolina.”

In their final five games, the Gamecocks allowed 21 points (Missouri), 20 (Florida), 31 (Western Carolina), 56 (Clemson) and lost 46-39 to South Florida in overtime in Thursday’s Birmingham Bowl. 

- Asked what Nick Saban quality stood out most, Chris Petersen pointed to recruiting. Even a Saban intern made an impact on Petersen.

“Everybody that's in coaching really loves coaching. And there's a lot of really good coaches out there, Xs and Os, teach fundamentals, techniques. … But not everybody recruits," Petersen said. "It's different than the NFL when you draft right in the NFL. But for him, those guys to be able to get that type of talent year in and year out.”

Petersen added, “Way back when we were in Boise, we hired a then-intern that came out and was part of our recruiting staff, we gave him his first full-time job. … He came from Coach Saban's system and all those things. It's impressive what he does.”

- Bo Pelini is in the FCS national championship game, and it’s what he envisioned when he decided to take the Youngstown State job.

Pelini was winning nine games annually at Nebraska, but he didn’t get over the hump, and clashes with administration and fans led to his dismissal. He surprised many by moving down a level. He went 5-6 in year one, but 8-3 this year, followed by 4 playoff wins.

“I have confidence that I could have success wherever I go. I think that's one thing I've proven is that I've been able to win football games and know how to do things the right way,” Pelini said ahead of Jan. 7’s game against No. 4 James Madison.

“But at the end of the day, it was the right thing for myself and my family. That was the No. 1 reason why I made the decision to come back here to Youngstown State and knowing Youngstown and the area. Really, that's had a big impact on my life, and I believe I've had a lot of opportunities because of the background I've had and growing up here and all the things that have gone along with it.”

- Here is BYUtv’s tribute video to LaVell Edwards.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to