Auburn’s Jacobs set to continue interviews

Published 3:51 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

AUBURN – Auburn reportedly interviewed TCU’s Gary Patterson on Thursday for its vacant head coaching position, making him the latest in a growing list of potential candidates.

The Birmingham News reported that Patterson was at least the seventh coach interviewed for the job, joining a list that includes both coaches who led their teams into the GMAC Bowl and Buffalo’s Turner Gill.

Patterson led TCU to a 10-2 record this season, the fifth time he has reached double-digit victories in seven years. The Horned Frogs will play Boise State in Tuesday’s Poinsettia Bowl.

Meanwhile, Gill’s attorney, Steve Mooney, told The Post-Standard in Syracuse Thursday that his client had interviewed with both Syracuse and Auburn but hadn’t been offered another job.

GMAC Bowl coaches Todd Graham of Tulsa and Brady Hoke of Ball State have both reportedly interviewed with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs about the Tigers’ vacant head coaching position.

“We had discussions, but I think there’s been a lot of discussions,” Hoke told the Mobile Press-Register during a trip to Mobile Wednesday to promote the bowl game. He said he was interested in the job.

“If you’re any kind of competitor, the challenges are out there, so there’s always a high interest,” Hoke said.

Graham said to be mentioned in connection with a job like Auburn is “flattering,” but declined to comment further.

“I’m happy where I am,” he said. “I love being at Tulsa. It’s a great place. We have a lot of momentum.”

Jacobs has also reportedly interviewed Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley. Georgia assistant Rodney Garner and Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, both former Auburn players, have also interviewed for the post.

Jacobs was not available for comment on Thursday, a spokesman said. The Birmingham News reported that he is expected to interview other coaches who have some experience in the Southeastern Conference.

The Tigers are seeking a replacement for Tommy Tuberville, who resigned on Dec. 3 after 10 seasons.

Hoke has led Ball State to a 12-1 record in his sixth season marred only by a loss to Gill’s Buffalo team in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

Graham has led Tulsa to two straight 10-win seasons after spending one year as Rice’s head coach.

Gill is a former Nebraska quarterback who was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1983. He has turned around a program that was 10-69 in its first seven seasons in the MAC before he took over. Buffalo is 8-5 and set to face Connecticut on Jan. 3 in the International Bowl.

Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel confirmed on Wednesday that he gave both Auburn and Syracuse permission to discuss their openings with Gill.

“If he does go, then he’s left us in a much better position,” Manuel said.

Earlier this week, Dooley confirmed in a statement that he was “one of the many” coaches who have spoken with Auburn. Dooley has led Tech to a 7-5 record and the program’s first bowl berth since 2001 in his second season, facing Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28.

He is the son of former Georgia coach and Auburn player Vince Dooley.