Updated December 5, 2022 - 4:37 pm
With Ed Orgeron and Chris Petersen saying Monday that they are not candidates to replace Marcus Arroyo as UNLV football coach, that leaves former Arizona coaches Mike Stoops and Kevin Sumlin as the only known candidates for the job.
Orgeron, who led LSU to a national championship, and Peterson, who won a Mountain West championship at Boise State, told The Athletic Monday they were not interested in the UNLV job, responding to a report in the Monday Review-Journal that said they may have been contacted about the job.
UNLV athletic director Erick Harper has not spoken about the coaching search since firing Arroyo a week ago Monday.
Stoops is the inside linebackers coach at Kentucky, where he serves on the staff of his brother Mark. He also was the head coach at Arizona, where he went 41-50 during his eight-year tenure. He went to three bowl games, including a win in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. Most notably, Harper served as Stoops’ director for football operations at Arizona.
During his search, Harper said Monday he would “lean on that experience as a former player and being on the staff at the University of Arizona, as well.”
Sumlin is the coach and general manager of the Houston Gamblers in the United States Football League. He’s held three coaching positions at the college level, first at Houston, then a six-year stint at Texas A&M, where he coached Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, followed by a difficult three-year tenure at Arizona.
It’s Sumlin’s success with Houston in Conference USA that will interest UNLV. During his four seasons with the Cougars, he went 35-17 and took them to three bowl games. Sumlin’s final campaign with Houston saw the team go 12-1 and finish 8-0 in the conference.
At his press conference announcing the firing of Arroyo, who went 7-23 in his three seasons at UNLV, Harper said his search could include “someone who’s currently coaching in a bowl game or someone preparing for some other championships as well. It could be someone that’s not preparing for a bowl game but has a championship pedigree. We’ll just move along as fast as we can.”
Whoever Harper selects to take over the Rebels will have his hands full recruiting assistants and support staff and preparing for the early signing period, which begins Dec. 21.
Harper, a former college football player at Kansas State, said he wants a coach with previous head-coaching experience.