This coming from TJ Simers so take it with a grain of salt, but this makes me beyond happy so I'm going to cling to this rumor above all others.The way I hear it, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero is on the road again, looking for somebody, anybody, willing to take the football job, talking now to Steve Kragthorpe...
Last season I was hyping up Kragthorpe, who was leading an extremely successful Tulsa team to yet another successful season. After the season, Kragthorpe left Tulsa to take over for the nomad Bobby Petrino. He went an extremely disappointing 6-6 despite returning a number of starters and being in most pre-season top 5's. His stock plummeted and some Louisville fans were even calling for his head, however Kragthorpe was never really given a fair chance.
Kragthorpe was forced to retain nearly all of Petrino's staff and the staff never bought into Kragthorpe, constantly undermining his authority. Without the support of the staff, there was no way the players would get behind Kragthorpe either. IMO, last season was an impossible situation for Kragthorpe and if he is willing to bolt for Westwood, I say we jump on it.
Here is what I wrote on Kragthorpe on October 24 of 2006:The 41 year old Tulsa head coach is my favorite candidate. Kragthorpe recieved the head coaching job at Tulsa in 2003 and led the Hurricanes to a bowl appearence and an 8-5 record, the school's first winning record since 1991. That season he won WAC Coach of the Year, FWAA/Scripps First Year Coach of the Year Award, was 3rd place for AP Coach of the Year and was a finalist for other coaching awards. Kragthorpe led Tulsa to the Conference USA Championship last year in the school's first season in the conference and won the Liberty Bowl over Fresno State to complete a 9-4 season. In Kragthorpe has won more games in his first 3 seasons at Tulsa than the school had won in its previous 7 combined. Kragthorpe is a very good offensive coach. His teams have scored over 30 points in 23 games through his first 3 seasons and he has averaged over 39 points per game in his 21 victories. Kragthorpe also served as quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills in both 2001 and 2002. Kragthorpe was also the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M for 3 seasons where the Aggies went 35-16. He was with the Aggies when the Bruins beat A&M in the 1998 Cotton Bowl. Kragthorpe first began coaching as a graduate assistant with Oregon State and has been the OC at North Texas where his offensive led the conference in scoring. He is an accomplished offensive coach with numerous connections in Texas and the entire south and has NFL connections as well as head coaching experience and success.
The guy has just about everything we could want in a coach, from youth (42 years old), position coach experience (6 years as a QB coach), coordinator experience (7 years as an OC) and head coaching experience (5 years). As I said earlier, Kragthorpe wasn't given a fair shot at Louisville with so many assistants forced upon him (take a note DG) so that could be the reason he wants to leave Louisville. He entertainied an offer from SMU and the Lousiville SID even said there was a 50-50 chance he could be at SMU in 2008 so it seems obvious he isn't happy with his situation at Louisville. He is only getting paid $1.1 million now so our refusal to spend big shouldn't be an issue although I can't find what the buyout is. In conclusion, Kragthorpe is now in my personal 1st tier and may be my new/old favorite. I'll sleep on it and make that decision in the morning.