University officials hear rumors just like the rest of us.
Since even before former Kansas State coach Bill Snyder announced his retirement Sunday, North Texas coach Seth Littrell was reported to be a top candidate to replace Snyder at K-State. Snyder’s official announcement Sunday, plus Littrell’s absence from Monday’s press conference because he’s attending Tuesday’s NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, prompted even more talk of Littrell leaving after three seasons in Denton.
In replace of Littrell, UNT Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker attended the Mean Green’s first press conference of bowl season Monday and was asked about the rumors surrounding his football coach. Baker first joked that he hadn’t seen anything about it but then talked about his relationship with Littrell, who Baker said has an office just down the hall from his. Baker also said that, because of Littrell’s success at UNT, he’ll be on the list of possible candidates for most Power 5 coaching openings.
Littrell was also reportedly a candidate for the Texas Tech opening because of his history with the program, but the Red Raiders hired former Utah State coach Matt Wells. His name has also been mentioned around vacancies at North Carolina, which has been filled since, and Colorado.
“We met two or three times last week, each of those ranging from 30 minutes, to one day we sat there and talked for two hours,” Baker said. “We talk a lot. He very much believes in what this program can be. He’s very happy here. His family’s happy here.”
Littrell was reportedly drawn to UNT because of its proximity to his hometown of Muskogee, Oklahoma, about 220 miles from Denton. Manhattan, Kansas, is about 320 miles from Muskogee.
Since arriving to UNT for his first head coach position in 2016, Littrell has led the Mean Green to three straight bowl games, including the New Mexico Bowl, which his team will play in on Dec. 15 against Utah State. UNT notched a 9-3 record this season after going 9-5 last year.
K-State went 5-7 this season, finishing seventh in the Big 12. Littrell is familiar with the Big 12, having played fullback at Oklahoma, as well as starting his coaching career in the conference with early stops at Kansas and Texas Tech.
A source close to Littrell told UDD on Sunday that as of Thursday, the last time they talked to Littrell about the job, Littrell hadn’t had any communication yet with K-State about the future opening. However, when asked if Littrell had any real interest in leaving UNT for K-State, the source answered, “I don’t think he can turn down a Big 12 offer.”
“The time may come when he gets an offer that he can’t refuse,” Baker said. “When that happens I’m gonna tell him ‘Thank you’ for the contributions he’s made here and that I’m proud for him. But I would be disappointed, and I think he would be disappointed, to think that we’ve spent all this time building a program whose success was hinged on one person. I just don’t believe that’s where we are as a program.”