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.
Sports on 12/01/2017
Print Headline: Hiring new football coach trumps a new AD