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UM Search Moves On After Gruden Meeting

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami Hurricanes fans who were hoping to see former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden walking the sidelines for them are more than likely out of luck.

Canes athletic director Kirby Hocutt had a meeting with Gruden on Wednesday and while the meeting was described as “cordial” by CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, Gruden wouldn’t commit to the job before NFL jobs came open after the season.

The Hurricanes can’t wait that long due to the rigors of recruiting and the need to have a coach in place as soon as possible to give recruits a vision of the future. The Herald reported that no offer was made during the meeting with Hocutt. In effect, Gruden said no, without saying no.

ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson had already said he fully expected Gruden to stay with the network despite the Hocutt meeting.

The move to wait out the NFL coaching vacancies makes sense for Gruden. If he comes to the Canes and fails; his overall coaching career and the likelihood of moving back to the NFL would likely end. However, if he goes back to the NFL, he can always come back to college football at a later date.

Gruden has never been a head coach in Division I (FBS) history. He’s never even been an assistant coach (his highest position at a major school was wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh).

Most NFL writers believe that Gruden was simply doing his due diligence by listening to what the Canes have to offer, but in the end, when he comes back, it will be to the NFL.

There are likely to be several good NFL jobs come open in the next year. The Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, and others could be in the market for a new coach at the end of the year.

While the Gruden meeting was ongoing, University of Miami president Donna Shalala received a handwritten note from Donald Trump encouraging the school to hire former Texas Tech coach mike Leach.

Trump and Leach are longtime friends, and Trump said UM made a mistake not hiring Leach during the last coaching search. However, Leach wasn’t hired after what school sources said was a disastrous interview for the head coaching position.

Other coaches are likely to be interviewed, but the process could take another week or longer. Among the names mentioned for the job: Dan Mullen of Mississippi State, Jim Harbaugh of Stanford, Kyle Whittingham of Utah, Mike Stoops of Arizona, and Randy Edsall of UConn.

Harbaugh is unlikely to leave Stanford, though he’d be the best coach of the group. Edsall has built the UConn program by recruiting heavily in South Florida, which will be crucial to any new coach at Miami.

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