Mark Whipple answered his phone Saturday night in Philadelphia and told our Barry Jackson he was deciding whether or not he would take the vacant offensive coordinator position offered to him by coach Randy Shannon. He even joked that in a week he'd either be in Miami or still with the Eagles staff coaching the NFC All-Stars in Hawaii.
All signs are pointing that Whipple has chosen Miami. Sunday night, when our Susan Miller Degnan called the Whipple home, his wife Brenda answered the phone. She said her husband was not there and would be unavailable. When asked if her husband had accepted the coordinator position at UM and was on his way to Miami, she politely said: "I think it would be up to them to give you that information. I really couldn't."
When reached by phone Sunday night, the University of Miami sports information department would not confirm if Whipple had been hired. But a staff member I spoke to said the hiring was imminent. "There's a only slight chance it won't happen," the source said.
That slight chance is likely passing a mandatory drug test and meetings with President Donna Shalala and athletic director Kirby Hocutt. Whipple told The Miami Herald Saturday he had discussed the possibility of replacing Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur with head coach Andy Reid. Reports out of Philadelphia and ESPN tonight said it looked like Whipple had already told the Eagles he was leaving the team to return to college. A representative with the Eagles late Sunday night could not be reached for comment.
Whipple spent 13 seasons as a head coach at the collegiate level at New Haven, Brown and UMass, where he won a I-AA national title in 1998 before moving onto the NFL for four seasons. He coached Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl title and spent this past season with the Eagles.