Coaching Rumors: Burst of big name hirings loom including not-Lane to Auburn

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

Coaching rumors chatter is close to reaching a fever peak. Inside the state of Alabama, it is easy to forget that fans of programs outside the SEC also care about coaching hires. They do, though in most cases in far fewer numbers.

The current coaching rumors season has been dominated by Lane Kiffin and the warring parties of Ole Miss and Auburn. The battle has not abated, with Kiffin giving only non-denial, denials that he will leave Oxford for Auburn.

As I wrote not too many hours ago, my hunch is Auburn will end up being disappointed. Like everyone else, I don’t know what will happen, but another hunch is Auburn ends up with a guy they have wanted almost as much, ‘The Reverend’ Hugh Freeze.

Unless the SEC office, meaning Greg Sankey, thwarts a hiring of Freeze, he and Auburn are a near-perfect fit. Even though Freeze has a recent extension from Liberty, he has expressed interest in the Auburn opening. His resume includes two wins over Nick Saban and that alone makes him a top candidate for the Aubies.

There remains some untidiness with ‘The Reverend.’ Ole Miss, under Freeze’s leadership, earned a not-mild NCAA punishment for cheating. Since most of what for so long was cheating is now allowed, the Ole Miss transgressions under Freeze will not deter Auburn.

The other difficulty in hiring Freeze can also be a forgiven blemish. It is fair to point out his stupidity for using, as reported, a University of Mississippi phone to arrange for escorts. Whether the escorts were provided to just recruits or recruits and Ole Miss players, or both, along with Ole Miss football staff, including Freeze – well that does not matter much either.

Freeze repented and received the forgiveness of his wife. Auburn can easily state Freeze has received absolution in all things.

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Apparently though, according to recent rumors, Auburn is hedging its bets. Maybe Auburn is being smart while not knowing what Kiffin’s decision will be, and also having doubts about acting against Greg Sankey’s advice.

At any rate, a hot rumor is Urban Meyer and Auburn have mutual interest. An even wilder rumor is Mike Leach would entertain an opportunity to relocate from Starkville to Auburn.

The Auburn coaching search craziness will end soon. Within hours or days of the Iron Bowl, the Tigers will have a new head coach. And his primary job will be, as always, to beat Alabama.

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Speaking of coaching rumors and big-name hires, Deion Sanders, once believed to be in the Auburn mix, is being linked to two other FBS programs. Plus many Alabama football fans are excited to see Bill O’Brien as a top candidate at Georgia Tech.