Two weeks after the firing of Utah football Coach Jim Fassel, applications continue to come in to Athletic Director Chris Hill. While Hill refuses to divulge names, the field of candidates interested in replacing Fassel is becoming increasingly intriguing.
Two new names have arisen this week that Hill is likely to consider: former Detroit Lions Coach Darryl Rogers and William & Mary Coach Jimmye Laycock. However, neither said they have talked with Hill.Rogers, 54, was also head coach at San Jose State, Michigan State and Arizona State. He ranks as one of the winningest college coaches in the country with a 129-84-7 mark.
Rogers was seen in the Salt Lake airport last week, but when contacted by telephone, he said he hadn't talked to anyone from Utah about the job. However, he indicated it is a position he is interested in. "I would be interested in it, but I haven't talked to them," said Rogers. The longtime coach said he wants to get back into college coaching.
Laycock, who has been at William & Mary for 10 seasons, has a 58-53-2 record. His team went 8-3-1 this year, losing to Furman in the first round of the Division I-AA playoffs. He graduated from William & Mary in 1970. Reached at his home in Williamsburg, Va., Laycock said he hasn't talked to anyone from the U., but would consider doing so.
"Given my situation I've said I would be interested in talking to people if they're interested in talking with me," said Laycock.
Meanwhile, Ron McBride, who has been a Ute assistant under three head coaches, has had informal discussions with Hill. Last Sunday in a telephone conversation, Hill asked McBride, who is also a candidate for the Wisconsin job, if he would take the Ute post, if it were offered.
McBride, now assistant head coach at Arizona, continues to have close ties to Utah, with two grown children living in Salt Lake.
"I understand what needs to be done. There just needs to be a few things done in a different direction," said McBride. "Utah's my home."
Several other names that have been connected with the Ute job persist. Sources close to the U. athletic department say Ohio State assistant head coach Jim Colletto remains a solid possibility, but Colletto said Wednesday that he still has not been contacted by anyone from the U. Fullerton State Coach Gene Murphy remains a candidate, as do Portland State Coach Pokey Allen, Oregon State Coach Dave Kragthorpe and San Diego Chargers assistant Ted Tollner and Washington assistant Keith Gilbertson. Murphy has reportedly spoken with a representative from the University of Utah recently in an out-of-town meeting.
Allen and Murphy are also in the running elsewhere. Nevada-Las Vegas announced six finalists for its coaching vacancy on Tuesday, with Murphy and Allen among them. Other finalists at UNLV are Houston offensive coordinator John Jenkins, L.A. Rams special teams coach Artie Gigantino, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Jim Strong and Fresno State assistant Pat Hill.
Gigantino and Strong have also been rumored to be interested in the Utah job. Although Pat Hill is a former Ute assistant, sources say he isn't a likely consideration for the Utah post.