Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby met with the school’s search committee Monday, and said the committee succeeded in trimming a pool of 50-plus candidates to a “workable list.”
“It’s up to me now to follow up on that list, and I think everyone of them has the potential to be The Citadel’s next head coach,” said Leckonby, who must find a replacement for Kevin Higgins, who left a week ago to be an assistant coach at Wake Forest.
Leckonby said he’s yet to meet with any candidates “face to face. But I’ve talked to more coaches on the phone than I ever knew I knew,” he said. Leckonby did not identify any candidates on the “workable list.” He did say that there is one internal candidate who “wants to be the head coach, and I will interview him.”
When Higgins announced his departure, some players tweeted support for slotbacks coach Bill Mottola. But sources indicate the internal candidate is likely OC and line coach Bob Bodine.
The general consensus among Citadel sources is that Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, Navy running game coordinator Ashley Ingram, Air Force OC Clay Hendrix and Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston are among those on the “workable list.” Messages to the Lenoir-Rhyne athletic director were not returned Monday.
Meanwhile, the specter of Charlie Taaffe looms over The Citadel search. The former Bulldogs coach is the offensive coordinator at Central Florida, which plays in the BCS Tostitos Bowl on Jan. 1. I have not talked to Charlie myself; he has not returned my calls or texts. But from talking with various sources, I believe his interest in a return to The Citadel has cooled, and that The Citadel might be ready to move on to other candidates. This is just my opinion and read of the situation. (Taaffe confirmed Tuesday he is out of the running.”
Leckonby’s committee includes: Les Robinson, John Darby, Charlie Baker, John Carlisle, Glenn Addison, Michael Flintom, Phillip Florence, Chip Taylor and Cal McCombs, though Cal was not at Monday’s meeting.
Leckonby said he still has no real timetable for hiring a new coach. He confirmed that he met with the coaching staff last Friday and sees no need to name an interim coach. “They are all on board with the recruiting process and have been able to move forward with that,” he said. “They just came off the road from three weeks of home visits. I think we are in pretty good shape with what they accomplished.”
Leckonby also said he did not see a potential job search at Georgia Southern having a major impact on The Citadel’s search. GSU coach Jeff Monken has reportedly been offered the job at Army, though he’s yet to officially accept.
“The unique nature of The Citadel sets us apart, the military aspect of it,” Leckonby said. “There any number of option coaches who could be a fit for Georgia Southern if that’s the way they choose to go. But I’m comfortable with the number of folks in our pool who have ties to The Citadel or to a military school.”
To me, that sounds like option coach/military school experience is the way The Citadel is leaning. What do you think?