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Wyoming selects first in coaching go-round

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It appears Wyoming, tired of fumbles and interceptions featured in its sputtering offense the past few seasons, went for firepower in its hire to replace Joe Glenn.

In an update on coaching hires and rumors, Wyoming pushed the button on Missouri assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, ranked the No. 1 offensive coach in college football by Rivals.com.

Unsure if he likes to onside kick up a zillion to nothing.

The Cowboys finalized their selection of Christensen after school officials took a whirlwind private jet tour at Lincoln, Neb., to interview wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore, a former Cowboy player, then went to Columbia, Mo., for a face-to-face with Christensen before stopping in East Lansing, Mich., to meet with former Wyoming assistant (and former Idaho, USU, Louisville and Michigan State head coach) John L. Smith.

And with the mention of Smith, that brings us to Logan and the search for Brent Guy's replacement.

Check Jared Eborn's blog at deseretnews.com for an in-depth look at the resumes of candidates on a list believed to be the five USU finalists.

The Aggies would like to make a hire this week if possible. Smith is the only guy on the list who has been a head coach in Division I, and he has a proven track record in recruiting and building programs — plus jumping ship.

The others include Ute defensive coordinator Gary Andersen, who had the head job at SUU, which is a plus. If Andersen and Kyle Whittingham aren't working this job interview like Norm Chow did for raises at BYU before finally leaving for North Carolina State, Andersen should be a serious talent for hire.

Kent Baer, the current linebackers coach at San Jose State, has folks lining up in Cache Valley for this loyalist and home-grown product to be given a chance to return.

If the Aggies go for offense, they've got former USU quarterback Mike Canales, who is the passing coordinator at South Florida and has a resume that includes stops at BYU, North Carolina State, the New York Jets and Arizona.

If they want a Pac-10 recruiting expert with a defensive twist like Andersen, former USU and BYU secondary coach DeWayne Walker, the current D-coordinator at UCLA, is the man.

Smith and Andersen have reportedly interviewed with USU officials. What this Aggie job needs, aside from offensive frills and thrills, is solid fundamental leadership, experience and vision.

Elsewhere, there's no solid word on Kyle Whittingham and the Washington job after he told a Seattle radio station he'd listen if the Huskies called.

But Fresno State's Pat Hill, fresh off a Boise State beatdown, made a serious move by reportedly showing up in Seattle on Saturday for an official interview. The Fresno Bee reported two unidentified airport employees witnessed his presence at the airport facility Saturday morning, and the Seattle Times went with it. The Times also says UW is expected to interview Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly.

At New Mexico, two Oklahoma State assistant coaches are reportedly candidates to interview for Rocky Long's job.

Apparently going the route of Wyoming for some offense, Rivals.com reports that OSU associate head coach Joe DeForest and running backs coach Curtis Luper are being considered for the job. The ties are this: Current New Mexico president David Schmidly was Oklahoma State's president from 2002-07. Luper was also formerly an assistant at New Mexico under Long.

The Tulsa World is reporting Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, UCLA's Walker and Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes are also in the mix at Oklahoma State.

OSU athletics director Mike Holder said Sunday that New Mexico officials have not contacted him about speaking with DeForest or Luper.

In San Diego, athletic director Jeff Schemmell held an informal meeting with reporters from his hospital bed last week and proclaimed, "The interest in this job is phenomenal."

We're still waiting word on exactly who is seriously considered viable. The one name that media folks have latched on to in this "top secret' hiring process is former Minnesota coach Glen Mason, whom then-UM athletic director Schemmell hired from Kansas to Minnesota in 1996.

Mason, considered a CEO-type who can fix failed enterprises, is currently an analyst for the Big Ten Network.

Would the Aztecs seriously hire Mason off a TV set?


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com