OK, so the guessing game about who the next coach at the University of Miami will be has finally made some progress. It won't be Greg Schiano, who we all knew was the No. 1 choice. Schiano officially spoke to UM Sunday night and said just hours ago he's not interested. Read between the lines and this is what it sounded like to me: "Sorry, but you did do enough to keep me around before and now I'm waiting for Joe Pa to move over at Penn State."
So who is next on UM's list? Reports would tell you its probably Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, an offensive mastermind who has been speaking through others that he's interested. I don't think it's Leach. Not that I've been putting in as much time as Susan or Barry Jackson for us into finding out who UM is targeting, but I got a call from a source and friend last night who is very much connected to college assistants through recruiting. He told me UM's Top 3 choices were 1. Schiano; 2. TCU coach Gary Patterson and 3. Titans coach Jeff Fisher. Anyway, my source does a lot of recruiting work with college assistants around the country and says he was with Mario Cristobal and another UM staffer (non coach) at the FHSAA State Football Championships at Dolphins Stadium over the weekend. According to my source, those are the three guys at the top of list. I still think current defensive coordinator Randy Shannon is up there, too. But my guess is he's fourth on the list. Take it for what it's worth.
Of the three, Fisher intrigues me the most. He is not under contract for next season. He reportedly was going to be receiving an extension from the Titans, but said he hadn't yet even after the Titans upset the Colts yesterday. My source said Fisher sought out and received advice from former Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson to take the UM job. According to the source, Fisher has wanted to get out of Tennessee and follow the footsteps of Pete Carroll, who has won two national titles with USC. The Titans have a team option for next season worth $5.4 million for next season. But I'm not sure they'd retain him if he's told them he wants out after this year. Fisher is in his 12th season with Tennessee and is the franchises' winningest coach with a record of 107-96. Again, that's what's on the rumormill.
Anyway, how about them basketball Hurricanes? Last night's home win over Georgia Tech was impressive. The Yellow Jackets are as good a young team as there is in the ACC according to most experts. UM not only beat them, but they did it with center Anthony King (the ACC's leading rebounder) on the bench for the second half. Got to give props to Anthony Harris for bouncing back and playing well with 21 points. While Jack McClinton has clearly become the team's best player, wins and losses ultimately hinge on Harris. When he is on, the Canes are on.
Anyway, the Hurricanes needed a win badly and thankfully got it. Those three ugly losses -- Buffalo, Cleveland State and Northwestern -- could eventually come back to haunt them. But at least with this win, UM avoids a 4-4 start and what looked like was going to be a long season of learning for coach Frank Haith's squad. UM's next four at home Lehigh (Dec. 9), Mississippi State (Dec. 11), Stetson (Dec. 16) and Binghamton (Dec. 20) are all winable games. The Canes should go 4-0, but even a 3-1 run wouldn't be so bad. That would put the Canes at 8-4 going into Louisville on Dec. 23.