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story.lead_photo.caption University of Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz talks to the media about a $120 million gift for the art school on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

Rumors were flying. Tweets were twittering, or whatever they do, and texts were being sent with bold statements or tough questions.

At any given moment Thursday afternoon, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville had a new athletic director, and minutes later it didn't. The process continued.

The search firms the UA hired to vet the athletic director applications and the head football coaching search continued to vet and search.

When it was announced that Korn Ferry would vet those under consideration for the job, it was assumed that would be five or six people and an announcement would be made by the end of the week.

Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz did the right thing in getting Korn Ferry to investigate the backgrounds of candidates. That was probably the right course for him, because he's still ticked off he had to fire Jeff Long and apparently he initially thought hiring a coach first would be OK, which it wasn't.

Someone hired DHR International to help interim AD Julie Cromer Peoples find a new head coach.

Korn Ferry has a great reputation in the world of perspiring arts.

DHR International is a large firm that seems to specialize in head hunting for presidents and CEOs in the business world. It lists Glenn Sugiyama as its managing partner over sports, and it seems the agency is trying to carve a niche of finding women to fill Division I athletic director positions.

In Sugiyama's bio, there is an interview with Sports Business Daily about the growing numbers of female athletic directors on the D-I level. DHS represented Heather Lyke, who was recently named Pittsburgh's AD.

That is not a red flag, just a fact that an agency is working to help women in a traditionally male world.

The company's lack of experience in finding football coaches might have been a concern. It helped Seth Littrell get the North Texas job and Oregon State find Washington co-offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith. It helped put Jeff Brohm at Purdue and Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic.

That, apparently, is the sum total of its experience in college football coaching, and it might explain why Kiffin's name has come up for the Razorbacks' job, but not in official circles.

Kiffin would be a huge mistake for any SEC team. This week, he started poking a fight with Alabama's Nick Saban, who beats teams regularly without being mad at them.

Athletics may be a relatively new division for DHR.

The AD job is important, but the coaching hire is what fans are interested in. They are hoping for a good AD but demanding a great football coach.

Maybe this just proves that almost all the eggs are in the Gus Malzahn basket, but anyone who thinks Arkansas can wait until after the College Football Playoffs to sign a coach -- and miss the early signing period -- doesn't get it.

That would have been like American Pharoah running the Arkansas Derby on three legs. He was great, but not that great.

If Malzahn can't commit to being the Razorbacks' head coach by Monday, the UA needs to move on. It is highly unlikely Cromer Peoples doesn't have several candidates on speed dial. She is efficient like that.

Don't know the list and highly doubtful she's sharing it with anyone, especially yours truly, but hopefully it includes Tim Horton, the running backs and special teams coach at Auburn.

Since Frank Broyles was the head coach, the most successful Razorbacks coaches were Ken Hatfield and Houston Nutt, both homegrown products who know how much the Razorbacks mean to the fans.

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Sports on 12/01/2017

Print Headline: Hiring new football coach trumps a new AD

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  • BoudinMan
    December 1, 2017 at 7:47 a.m.

    I can see who the scapegoat will be if the new hire(s( don't meet Wally's approval. Surprise! Surpreise! The blamee will be a woman.

  • JakePace
    December 1, 2017 at 8:44 a.m.

    Are you really suggesting we hire a "running backs coach" with no head coaching experience and I don't think has even been a coordinator just because he's from Arkansas?
    Could we aim any lower?
    You might recall that both Hatfield and Nutt left Arkansas for what were considered "lateral moves."
    There are some good names being mentioned and some good coaches out there - lets let the people in charge do their job. We can stone them to death later.
    LOVE ME SOME PORK!

  • drs01
    December 1, 2017 at 8:50 a.m.

    The UofA-Fayetteville has some serious problems. The Peter principle comes to mind with dumb and dumber in charge. I doubt if the "Foundation", private donors, filthy rich folks can alter this course enough to save us from mediocrity.
    The fate of our football program was determined years ago when we joined the SEC WEST. Taking games away from central Arkansas did little for in-state recruiting. And $130 end zone seats that are being built today are a real joke.
    It's obvious that had we been in the EAST we might have consistently winning seasons.
    But 3-5 losses in the WEST every year makes for some obscure bowl game every year at best.
    Now you are saying it's GUS or else, possibly working for a woman AD. Why not just hire a woman head coach. Hillary would be proud.

  • ASD68342008
    December 1, 2017 at 9:24 a.m.

    Wally,
    Go ahead and admit it – you're upset Long and BB were given the pink slips after years of failure – the "uncommon" and "build the right way" slogans did not equal victories. Another year of both would have continued the disastrous path of losses. Let us all have patience and give the Ohio State guy and the lady (AD) a chance to find the right personnel. Oh by the way – you forgot to mention Bobby Petrino as a successful coach.

  • MaxCady
    December 1, 2017 at 10:06 a.m.

    I don't think there's any coaches clamoring for the hapless Hogs job!!

  • mloydcaingmailcom
    December 1, 2017 at 12:58 p.m.

    Thank god for Tennessee! Otherwise UA would be the laughing stock of the college football universe.

  • RBBrittain
    December 1, 2017 at 1:27 p.m.

    Bielema needed to go, but The Hill's stupidity was in (a) firing Long first, then (b) assigning the coaching search to the interim AD without filling the AD opening first. My problem with Julie Cromer Peoples is NOT her gender; it's that she's an interim AD doing a job either Long or the new AD *SHOULD* be doing. The coaching job is important, but so are the AD job and the relationship between AD & coach. That's why we need a *PERMANENT* AD leading the coaching search, even if it's just taking the "interim" off Cromer Peoples' nametag (IMO not the best option, but better than what we have now).

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