FAYETTEVILLE -- A relatively quiet day for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville athletic department wound up with one big name eliminated from the search for an athletic director and no apparent movement on the coaching search.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the search said Arkansas checked on Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt's interest in the permanent athletic job and was told he wanted to remain in Lubbock, Texas.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal cited a Texas Tech source Wednesday as saying, "He'll be here. He's not going anywhere," in reference to Hocutt's potential candidacy for the job.
Hocutt, 46, succeeded former Arkansas AD Jeff Long as chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee. He joined the selection committee in 2015, four years after leaving as AD at the University of Miami to take the reins at Texas Tech.
The UA is seeking to find a replacement for Long, who was fired by Chancellor Joe Steinmetz on Nov. 15 after a run of almost 10 years as the successor to Frank Broyles. Steinmetz is being advised by a seven-member committee, and the executive search firm Korn Ferry is providing vetting of candidates, the UA announced Tuesday.
Tulsa Athletic Director Derrick Gragg remains a top candidate for the AD post, sources with knowledge of the search said Wednesday. Internally, Razorback Foundation executive director and general counsel Scott Varady remains a candidate.
Gragg, 48, is a former wide receiver at Vanderbilt who received his doctorate from Arkansas in 2004 while serving a seven-year stint in the athletic department under Frank Broyles. He was an associate athletic director upon his hiring in 2000 and was promoted to senior associate AD in 2003. The native of Huntsville, Ala., has been serving as vice president and AD at Tulsa since April 29, 2013.
Gragg worked in the athletic departments at Vanderbilt (1993-1995), Missouri (1995-1997) and Michigan (1997-2000) -- which was his first stint as an assistant AD -- before coming to Arkansas.
He landed his first job as athletic director at Eastern Michigan in 2006. Gragg made a return to Arkansas in 2009 when the Razorbacks defeated Eastern Michigan 63-27 on homecoming on Oct. 31 in a game most noted for Broderick Green's 99-yard touchdown run and Eagles' Coach Ron English's accusation that then-Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino ran up the score.
On the coaching front, Gus Malzahn remains the top target for the Razorbacks, sources with knowledge of the search said. The Fort Smith native will lead No. 2 Auburn into Saturday's SEC Championship Game against No. 6 Georgia.
The Tigers (10-2) have beaten two No. 1 teams in the past three weeks, including a 40-17 rout of Georgia on Nov. 11. Another victory over the Bulldogs will clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff for the Tigers.
Other coaches on Arkansas' radar, including head Coach Mike Norvell of Memphis and defensive coordinator Brent Venables of Clemson, play in conference title games Saturday. SMU Coach Chad Morris is also thought to be on the Razorbacks' radar.
Sports on 11/30/2017
Print Headline: Texas Tech AD a no, sources say