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Name game narrows

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

As the search to find a replacement for departed East Carolina football coach Skip Holtz continued Wednesday, the frontrunner for the position was not clear. But the list is beginning to narrow.

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson indicated an interest in the job when the search process began, and ECU athletics director Terry Holland contacted him Tuesday. Multiple sources stated that Wilson was interviewed Wednesday.

Wilson is originally from Maiden, NC, and has led the Sooners’ offense since 2002. Before arriving at Oklahoma, Wilson coordinated the offenses at Northwestern (1999-2001) and Miami (OH) (1992-98).

Another top assistant contacted by ECU is former Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, a former Pirates player. McNeill served as the interim head coach for the Red Raiders after the dismissal of Mike Leach, leading them to an Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State.

McNeill was slated to interview with East Carolina late Wednesday night or today, according to a Wednesday afternoon report in the Fayetteville Observer. A Lumberton native, McNeill reportedly was considered for the Texas Tech opening that ultimately was awarded to Tommy Tubberville.

East Carolina co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler has also interviewed for the position. He is the only member from Holtz’s staff who is considered a candidate for the job.

Shankweiler has served on the ECU staff under three different head coaches.

A new name that emerged in the search was Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach and former Alabama head coach Mike Shula. Citing a source close to Shula, WTIB-FM 94.3 reported Wednesday morning that ECU did call to make an inquiry about his interest.

It isn’t completely clear how interested Shula is in the opening.

A source close to Liberty coach Danny Rocco indicated that East Carolina had not interviewed the former New York Jets and University of Virginia assistant as of Wednesday afternoon and that there was no interview scheduled at the time. Rocco had expressed an interest in the opening, but he is not considered a candidate for the job.

Various web sites reported Wednesday that ECU had offered the job to current Bowling Green head coach Dave Clawson. Those reports were false according to the Bowling Green media relations department.


Myatt: Holland weighing diverse scenarios
O'Brien: Name game narrows
Cherubini: Stop the merry-go-round... My brain hurts
Bailey: Stockstill drama nears climax
Batten: Recruits holding firm for now
O'Brien: Stockstill's qualities stand out
BVL: Stockstill expected to interview with ECU
O'Brien: Name game officially kicks off
Bailey: Wild week ends with two pressers
Audio: Terry Holland Press Conference

ECU has been without a head coach since Holtz left last Thursday to take the South Florida opening. Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill was the focus of the ECU search early, but he decided Tuesday to stay with the Blue Raiders.

01/21/2010 03:54 AM


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