News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 9

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday December 09, 2016

- The dead period begins on Monday, and schools have been trying to beat the clock in coaching searches this week.

Six schools hired new head coaches this week, and six jobs remain open, though Houston is about to make a hire.

The winter dead period from mid-December to mid-January began in 2013, and it’s dramatically sped up coaching searches. Schools can’t afford to keep their committed players uncertain. They want to hire a new head coach and get that coach out to secure the commitments as soon as possible.

Houston will make a hire soon, and don’t be surprised to see a few more hires by Monday.

- San Jose State introduced Brent Brennan as head coach on Thursday night, and a return home was the emphasis.

Brennan grew up in San Jose, was an SJSU assistant from 2005-10 and spent the last six years coaching receivers at Oregon State.

“I’ve been preparing for this job my whole life,” he said. “The opportunity to lead this group of men at San Jose State is special to me. I grew up playing catch on those fields, on the practice field, the soccer field behind the stadium, trying to find other kids to get a pickup game when our parents were drinking beer and tailgating and getting ready to watch the Spartans.”

Gary Andersen is developing himself a coaching tree, between Matt Wells, Kalani Sitake and now Brennan, who said the biggest advice is to be himself as a coach.

“If you’re not, they will see, and they will eat you alive, and they will never trust you, and they will never fight for you,” Brennan said. “Even in my first meeting with the team, I was myself. If you’re not, they will (know). “

- Steve Spurrier was right.

More than a year ago, when Spurrier stepped down at South Carolina, he said he didn’t think he was the best guy for the job, but also said he wanted to give an assistant some head coaching experience. It paid off.

Shawn Elliott replaced Spurrier as the interim head coach last year, he was retained by Will Muschamp as OL coach, and he was named the Georgia State head coach on Thursday.

Elliott went 1-5 as South Carolina’s interim head coach, but had four losses by one possession. Does he get the Georgia State job without half a season of head coaching experience?

- Nick Saban isn’t yet sure about Lane Kiffin and Houston, and he’s done talking about it.

At the Playoff press conference Thursday, Saban said, “I've spoken to Lane, and as far as I know, I don't think anything has been decided about that officially. I'm sure that the University of Houston will make an announcement about who their coach is when they're ready to do that. We are very supportive of Lane in terms of him having an opportunity to be a head coach again after the great job that he did for us. Hopefully that or some other opportunity will work out well for him so that he gets the opportunity to be a head coach again.”

Asked if Kiffin would coach through the playoff, Saban said, “We'll make that decision when we have something to make a decision about, and we'll do what's best interest for Lane, for our program, our players. But I think he'll want to finish the season with us, but I can't speak to that right now because we haven't discussed something that is a hypothetical situation to this point. And I'm not going to answer any more questions about hypothetical situations.”

- At his bowl presser, Mike Gundy was asked about recent rumors linking him to the mix at Baylor.

ESPN and others reported there was nothing to it, but Gundy’s response wasn’t as definitive. 

“As everybody knows, I'm fully committed to Oklahoma State,” he said. “Fortunately enough I've been around really good players. When you win games, your name gets brought up. I've read about Coach (Mike) MacIntyre's name, so I'm going to push this off on him. There's not any distraction. The question Coach Mac just answered about the history of games, PAC-12 champions, where they win or lose. It's interesting.

“The millennials we coach now, they live day-to-day. They stay on their phones. The news for the day is the news for the day. Whatever happened yesterday, they don't pay a lot of attention to it. Distraction is not really a big issue. Our players will be excited about practicing and getting back together as a group for another 10 or 12 days and being at a great location at the Valero Alamo Bowl for a week.”

- Follow Matt Rhule during his first day at Baylor.

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