Silly season is in full effect at UTSA as the school conducts its first true coaching search. I've heard that UTSA is looking to conduct 10 phone interviews with potential head coaches over the following week. According to Football Scoop, four of the interviewees are known.
Per source, four of the candidates interviewing for the UTSA head job are former Houston head coach Tony Levine, Houston assistant head coach/co-DC Craig Naivar, TCU senior associate head coach/recruiting coordinator/RBs coach Curtis Luper and Hal Mumme.
Houston's great success in the 2015 season has had a trickle-down effect on Levine's reputation as a head coach. Even though Levine was fired last year, he still lead the Cougars to a bowl game in his final season at UH. His recruiting prowess is evident as Tom Herman is winning with the athletes that Levine recruited. Hiring a coach that got fired at Houston probably isn't the best of looks but I would welcome the hire considering the timing and likely salary limitations surrounding UTSA's opening.
Craig Naivar was one of the first names to emerge in the UTSA coaching search and for good reasons, in my opinion. He's pretty well experienced for a young guy and is from the central Texas region. Rumor has it that he would hire San Antonio native and University of Houston cornerbacks coach Jason Washington as his defensive coordinator at UTSA, a move that would probably be a home run. Unfortunately for UTSA, it appears that Naivar has earned a significant raise at UH and has turned sour on the possibility of becoming a head coach at UTSA, unless the school approaches him with an impressive salary figure. According to UTSA Rivals affiliate BirdsUp.com, Naivar may not even fulfill his interview arrangement with UTSA.
We first introduced Curtis Luper as a serious candidate to you guys this week and I can confirm that Luper will be interviewing with UTSA on Sunday. He's by far the best recruiter of the lot after what he's done at Auburn. I've heard that athletic director Lynn Hickey has taken a liking to Luper, and given what we now know about Naivar, I think it's safe to assume that Luper is the leading candidate at this time.
Lastly, Hal Mumme is interviewing. It's probably just a courtesy interview since I highly doubt UTSA is dumb enough to hire the 63 year old coach of the Belhaven University Blazers. While Mumme is a San Antonio native and 1-0 against UTSA in the Alamodome, Mumme has been fired from more jobs than I can count. He was named in a lawsuit after allegedly discriminating against Muslim players at New Mexico State. UTSA would be foolish to bring him on board after previously receiving discrimination complaints of their own.
Stay tuned for more updates on UTSA's coaching search as I get them. All signs point to UTSA filling the position by Friday so that the new staff can begin finalizing the 2016 recruiting class next weekend.