LSU athletic director Scott Woodward’s regarded as a big-game hunter, an affirmation for his love of the outdoors and hiring of elite head coaches.
With his own opening for a head football coach spanning more than two months Woodward’s perceived list of coaching targets have dropped like a flock of geese – especially in the past week.
Two of the bigger names considered to be at varying levels of interest for the LSU job to replace Ed Orgeron who was fired Oct. 17, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Billy Napier of UL-Lafayette, are both out of consideration in Baton Rouge after accepting new jobs on Sunday.
Riley, a day after saying he didn’t intend to coach at LSU, instead pivoted for the West Coast where he’ll be the head coach at USC after five seasons at Oklahoma where he led the Sooners to four Big 12 Conference titles and three appearances in the College Football Playoffs.
USC’s search to replace Clay Helton lasted three months when the Trojans reached an agreement with Riley whose team lost Saturday to Oklahoma State, according to ESPN.com.
The University of Florida, which fired Dan Mullen last week, announced its hiring of Napier on Sunday afternoon, a day after he guided UL-Lafayette to an 11-1 record following its victory over UL-Monroe.
Napier, 39-12 in four years with the Ragin’ Cajuns, will coach the team in Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference championship game against Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m. in Lafayette.
Other reported potential targets to replace Orgeron, who completed his six-year tenure at LSU with a 27-24 win over No. 14 Texas A&M, that have either received enhanced contracts to remain at their current schools or denied interest in the LSU position include:
- Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher. Has twice publicly stated his intentions to remain College Station where he will receive facility upgrades.
- Penn State’s James Franklin. Agreed on Nov. 24 to a 10-year contract extension that could exceed $8 million annually.
- Michigan State’s Mel Tucker. Agreed to a new contract Nov. 28 worth $95 million over 10 years.
- Baylor’s Dave Aranda. Sports Illustrated reported Nov. 28 that Aranda has committed to staying in Waco, Texas where the school has proposed a new contact.
- Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Said after Saturday’s game with Louisville that he planned to remain in Lexington.