It was fun while it lasted, but June Jones is no longer going to be the next head coach at Arizona State.
In a whirlwind six hour period on Tuesday, Jones appeared to be the imminent selection to succeed Dennis Erickson. He was reportedly the preferred choice of a major ASU booster, and that financial backing appeared to be enough to undo the booster and fan furor that erupted after ASU had met with Jones on Saturday that temporarily derailed his candidacy.
After the new broke that Jones' hiring was imminent, the booster and fan community leapt into angst-fueled action. By 2:00pm, it was reported by several outlets including ASUDevils.com, Doug Haller and DevilsDigest.com that Jones was no longer a candidate.
So now ASU is back to where it was two days ago, but now with the stain of ineptness and more indications that they lack the heart needed to make a hire that can truly move the university's needle.
So where do they go from here? With Larry Fedora now at North Carolina, Kevin Sumlin likely going to Texas A&M and Art Briles very unlikely to leave Baylor, here are the latest names being mentioned:
Jim Leavitt - Linebackers Coach for the San Francisco 49ers
A late addition to the list, Leavitt has gained a lot of attention following Jon Gruden's endorsement on radio.
Leavitt was the man who built the University of South Florida from the ground up, at one point reaching No. 2 in the rankings. He complied a 94-57 record over 12 seasons and took the Bulls to a bowl game in each of his last five seasons.
His tenure ended in 2010 after allegations emerged that he struck a player during halftime of a game.
He now coaches the linebackers in San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh, a tie that certainly carries with it some hefty clout.
One appealing aspect being reported is that he would like to keep key members of the existing staff--offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Steve Broussard--intact.
With the 49ers in town to play the Cardinals, something may happen here quickly.
Justin Wilcox - Defensive Coordinator of Tennessee
A young up-and-comer is exactly what ASU needs, and Wilcox fits the bill. Only 35, Wilcox has done a great job during his tenure at Tennessee. This follows his successful stint as Boise State's defensive coordinator, and combined, he has nice recruiting ties in both the SEC regions and in the west.
He's a very engaging and dynamic individual and someone whose candidacy has gained a lot of momentum over the past several days. Wilcox should come as a cheaper option than other more established candidates, but has no prior head coaching experience.
Paul Chryst - Offensive Coordinator of Wisconsin
Another new name on ASU's target list is also a welcome addition.
A 46-year old offensive guru, Chryst served at Oregon State before heading to Wisconsin, where he has been the offensive coordinator since 2005. The Badgers have continuously had strong run-oriented offenses highlighted by massive offensive linemen and effective tight ends. This year, Chryst was able to integrate a dynamic passing attack with quarterback Russell Wilson.
Like Wilcox, he has no head coaching experience, but has proven himself for several years at a top program.
Mark Helfrich - Offensive Coordinator of Oregon
Another offensive coordinator from a top program, Helfrich could be a good fit in Tempe.
Helfrich served on Dirk Koetter's staff for four seasons at Arizona State before moving to Colorado and then ultimately Oregon. He has great recruiting ties in the west and runs a spread offense that would fit in very easily in Tempe.
With no head coaching experience, he'd carry with him the same risk as the above two candidates, but at 37, he's already accomplished and has his best days ahead of him.
Troy Calhoun - Head Coach of Air Force
Calhoun's name was mentioned a lot yesterday prior to the Jones re-emergence. At 45, he has experience at both the pro and college level, having been offensive coordinator at Wake Forest and with the Houston Texans before landing at Air Force.
At Air Force, he has compiled a 41-23 record and gone to five bowl games in his five seasons. His current contract runs through 2015 and totals about $1-million per year.
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