December 4, 2014 - 6:18 am
Former head football coaches Ed Orgeron and Houston Nutt spoke by phone late Tuesday afternoon with UNLV officials, including athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy, regarding the Rebels’ opening.
But several sources said all signs continue to point to Bishop Gorman High coach Tony Sanchez landing the job, though no agreement is in place and one was not guaranteed.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Sanchez said Wednesday. “If the offer comes, we’ll see. I’ve got a great job. I’m not looking to leave, so we’ll see what ends up happening.”
UNLV is searching for a coach to replace Bobby Hauck, who resigned Monday after five seasons and a 15-49 record.
But whether the school has the finances to hire someone with previous head coaching experience at the collegiate level is a question, and Orgeron might not be in the picture anymore. He spoke with the Review-Journal on Monday and Tuesday but didn’t return calls Wednesday.
Orgeron was Mississippi’s coach from 2005 to 2007, going 10-25. But he found success as the interim coach at Southern California last season, going 6-2 to spark a season that began badly. He hoped the late run would get him the job full time, but Steve Sarkisian was hired.
Nutt also was Ole Miss’ coach, succeeding Orgeron and going 24-26 in four seasons. That followed a 10-year stint at Arkansas in which Nutt went 75-48. His previous stops were at Boise State (5-6 in 1997) and Murray State (31-16 from 1993 to 1996).
Tulsa also is reportedly interested in Nutt for its coaching vacancy.
June Jones told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that he also was interested in UNLV, but whether he made contact with Kunzer-Murphy was uncertain. Attempts to reach Jones on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Jones went 76-41 from 1999 to 2007 at Hawaii, taking the Warriors to the Sugar Bowl in his final season. From there, he went to Southern Methodist, going 36-43 in nine seasons.
But he took SMU to four consecutive bowls, ending a 25-year postseason drought. Jones resigned two games into this season, citing personal reasons.
Jim Fassel, former New York Giants and Las Vegas Locomotives coach, also is a potential candidate. Fassel took the Giants to the Super Bowl in the 2000 season, and he won two United Football League championships with the Locos, building the franchise from the ground up.
But many with connections to UNLV think Sanchez is the front-runner for the job.
The situation could become clearer after this weekend. Gorman, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, goes for its sixth consecutive state title Saturday in Reno.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Damon Seiters contributed to this report. Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.
Know your Rebel history? Learn more about the 10 coaches who have led UNLV since the program started in 1968.