Florida State AD says Bob Stoops is on school's list of candidates, Stoops says he isn't

Sam Cooper
Bob Stoops makes comments after being introduced as the new head coach and general manager of the XFL Dallas football team during a news conference in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Bob Stoops was introduced as the new head coach and general manager of the XFL's Dallas Renegades in February. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Florida State coaching search is off to a predictably silly start.

On Monday night, a day after the school fired Willie Taggart before the conclusion of his second season, a television station in Tallahassee reported that FSU was “nearing a deal” with Bob Stoops to become the school’s next head football coach.

By Tuesday morning, Stoops went on record with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and Rivals.com’s Carey Murdock to quiet those rumors.

Florida State AD: Stoops is ‘on the list’

Interestingly, Florida State athletic director David Coburn also went on the record on Tuesday morning, telling the Tallahassee Democrat that Stoops is indeed “on the list” of candidates but that the school was not close to an agreement, nor has Stoops been offered a contract.

Also of note: Coburn doubled down on a timeline for a hire. During a Monday press conference, Coburn said the school hoped to have a new coach in place by the end of the season. When speaking with the Democrat on Tuesday, Coburn said the school is “on schedule to have someone in this position by the end of the month.”

The final weekend of the college football regular season is the final weekend of November while conference championship games will be played the first weekend of December. If Florida State hopes to hire a sitting college football coach, the overlap could get tricky. Of course, an ongoing season has never stopped a coach’s representatives from doing some behind-the-scenes negotiating, but it’s still noteworthy that Coburn would twice be specific about a timeframe for this hire.

Stoops, 59, retired in 2016 after 18 seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma, but signed on earlier this year to become the head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas Renegades. He was in Florida on Monday, but not in Tallahassee.

Florida State hires search firm

Coburn said Monday that a search firm would assist the school with its coaching hire. FSU confirmed that Tuesday in a press release that stated it has contracted the DHR International search firm, led by Glenn Sugiyama. Most recently, Sugiyama was involved in coaching searches at Utah State and Arizona that yielded Gary Andersen and Kevin Sumlin, respectively.

“We are confident that DHR will be a valuable partner in assisting us with identifying the candidates who best match our priorities for a head coach,” Coburn said. “Glenn is a highly respected professional in the industry who will spearhead the effort for DHR. He shares our expectation that we will attract the coach to lead our program back among the nation’s elite.”

Coburn said Monday that university boosters will also play a role in the hiring process. Earlier this year, Florida State’s athletic department had a restructuring that brought the Seminole Boosters more prominently into the fold, creating the Florida State University Athletic Association. The boosters raised in the range of $20 million to move on from Taggart, so their involvement was a given for this coaching search. How they will coexist with a search firm, however, is anybody’s guess.

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