One of the things that fascinated me as a young sports writer, working in Nashville, was how the older guys in the office would always kick around names when college - or even high-profile high school - coaching jobs would open up.
It's one of the profession's leading hobbies. You even saw the Daily Journal and Clarion Ledger doing that last week after Rick Stansbury announced his "retirement."
So it's no surprise in that context to see the name of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy crop up in connection with the UAB head coaching vacancy that was created when Mike Davis was fired on Friday after six seasons in Birmingham.
Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News floated Kennedy's name in a story published on Saturday. Kennedy, a former UAB player, "figures to be" on the list of UAB athletic director Brian Mackin, in Solomon's words. You can read the story here.
A few national guys, including Gary Parrish of CBS, have picked up on Kennedy's name while discussing the UAB vacancy. There were a few weekend flurries on Twitter, too
A few thoughts:
1, Why would an SEC coach consider leaving for a Conference USA job? Depends on how secure he thought he was, maybe. According to reports, though, Kennedy has two years remaining on a deal paying $1.3 million - a tidy sum.
2, UAB probably has more coaching cash flow problems than the SEC's smallest schools. Davis was making half what Kennedy makes, plus the school's athletic program is oveseen by the University of Alabama Trustees - which means all the good stuff is going to get routed to Tuscaloosa. And between Davis and former football coach Neil Callaway, the school could be out $1 million next year on ex-coach salaries.
3, There were sore feelings all along that UAB didn't hire "a UAB man" for the job when it instead hired Davis, who played at Alabama. That narrows the potential field quite a bit if that's going to be an issue in finding a new coach. Current Arkansas assistant T.J Cleveland is a nephew of Mike Anderson who is, lo and behold, a Birmingham native who left town to play at Arkansas. Hmmm.
4, UAB's Mackin couldn't really point to the record of Davis over six seasons - 122-73, including four consecutive 20-win campaigns - so he blamed, in part, "an increase in apathy among our fan base," resulting in lower attendance and decreased ticket revenue. Maybe it's just me, but isn't that more of a marketing problem?