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Big 12 duo latest offered by Leavitt

Posted Mar 2, 2009 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Mar 2, 2009 at 01:25 PM

A pair of Big 12 assistant coaches is the latest to receive an offer from University of South Florida coach to come to USF as co-defensive coordinators.

Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and Iowa State secondary coach Chris Ash were offered the co-coordinator jobs Sunday by Leavitt after Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek and Colorado secondary coach Greg Brown turned down offers to come to USF.

Ekeler interviewed with Leavitt in Tampa last week, but said he was remaining with the Cornhuskers.

“I’m thankful and glad to be here,” Ekeler told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald on Thursday. “I’m glad that he [Nebraska coach Bo Pelini] wanted me to take a look at it, and I’m glad I did. That’s about it.”

However, with Jancek and Brown out of the picture, Leavitt went back at Ekeler and also offered a co-coordinator position to Ash, who has not interviewed in Tampa for the position.

Ekeler, 37, and Ash, 35, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Ekeler has been a full-time college assistant only one season – last year with Nebraska.

Before coming to Nebraska, Ekeler was at LSU for three seasons (2005-07), two years as a graduate assistant and one season as an intern. In 2003-04, he was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma. In 2002, he was an assistant coach at Manhattan (Kan.) High School and in 1999-2001 he was a volunteer coach at Omaha Skutt High School.

Ekeler played for Leavitt at Kansas State from 1991-94 and was recently named one of the Big 12’s top 10 recruiters by

Ash was hired at Iowa State in December after a two-year stint as secondary coach at San Diego State. Before that he was at Iowa State from 2000-2006, serving as ISU’s recruiting coordinator his final season. He worked with former USF defensive line coach Dan McCarney at Iowa State and went to San Diego State after McCarney was fired at ISU.

At ISU, the Cyclones led the Big 12 in interceptions in 2005 and ranked seventh nationally with 35 turnovers.  In 2004, ISU ranked 20th nationally in pass efficiency defense. He reportedly was next in line to become ISU’s defensive coordinator if USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham had not left USF for Iowa State. 

Former USF linebacker Tyrone McKenzie said Ash was instrumental in McKenzie attending Iowa State.

“He’s a good guy, he knows his defense,” McKenzie said. “His knowledge of the game is remarkable. I think he would be one heck of a defensive coordinator. He’s young, he’ll be around for years. He relates to the players, not just as a coaching figure, but someone the players look up to. He’s very passionate.”

Reader Comments

Por (Perry Lerner) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Might not be a bad duo if they accept, but it seems we are like grasping for straws and which everones are picked they get offered the job.

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Por (Um, But) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Didn’t you already report that Ekeler turned down the defensive coordinator job? Why would Leavitt now offer him a lesser position? Doesn’t make sense.

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Has Leavitt posted this job on yet?

I’d like to submit the dude who does the fries at the Mickey D’s up here for consideration.  He’s all about precision…..always nice and crispy, but NEVER burned.

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Por (David M.) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Are the Glaziers running the Bulls too…Embarassing as usual..Captain Prozac is turning the program into a Joke overnight.  Can we please get Mayor Pam Iorio to step in and clean this mess up…

Brett, can you please put a for sale sign on Captain Prozac’s lawn on Harbour Island….do it for the good of tampa bay…

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Por (Hector Jimenez) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Only in America can you be offered a job for a couple of hundred K a year and never interview for the job…..sign me up for that. 

I have never been that fortunate, oh wait, when I was a student at USF my friend said I was a solid worker and I did land a job maintaining the grounds (lawnman) near the School of Nursing. 

What a circus…thanks for the update Brett.

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Por (Brett McMurphy) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Um, But; just because he said no once, doesn’t mean Leavitt can’t or won’t go after him again. Which is what he did.

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Por (Dan) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

This just in:

Ronald McDonald is the latest person to turn down USF for the Defensive Coordinator position. Details at 11pm.

Couldn’t resist.

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

C’mon, Dan….quit piggybacking off my jokes, man.

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Assuming Leavitt hasn’t posted the “Irish Need Not Apply” sign, I’m sending in my resume.

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Por (Dan) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

it’s a parlay, not a piggyback.

You and I are the only people who haven’t been offered this job…

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)


I’m willing to co-coordinate with you if you’re up for it.

Whad’ya say?

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Por (Steve O'Neal) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Yea Right! Ekeler gets an offer to be the DC, says No(allegedly), now will entertain the thought of CO-DC? I thought your journalistic integrity would prohibit you from quoting hearsay as fact! Apparently not. You can stick with your somebody told somebody else and then I heard that somebody say whatever to somebody and that makes it a fact BS. I’ll stick with proven FACTS!

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)


Steve O’Neal talking tough.

USF apologists crack me up.

Unfortunately, Steve, buffoons like you give a bad name to all Bulls fans—even those of us who are level-headed and can deal with bad news without thinking there is some sort of journalistic conspiracy.

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Por (Steve O'Neal) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Patrick, I don’t have to apologize for anything. You calling people’s post weak and telling them don’t come here with that, some tough guy you are! I’m not the one posting BS without any concrete evidence to back it up. You don’t like Leavitt, fine, you’re on the right blog. Brett, yea people do go back and offer a position to someone that turned down the initial offer. Usually with a BETTER offer, too entice the person to change their mind. Not the other way around.

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Por (Bret Sanders) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Captain Prozac-Leavitt replaces one coach (Gregory)with a Prep school coach, (sounds about right) and now he can’t get position coaches to become coordinators at a BCS program to replace Burnham- this is ridiculous- u would think a quality program could attract quality candidates.

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Por (co) on March 02, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Is USF’s Leavitt out of control?

I wonder what recruits are saying about this stuff.

Fire CJL and bring Coach Dungy!!!!!

He would bring instant credibility to the program

This is a joke

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Por (USF fan) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Levitt never offered Ekeler the DC job the first time he interviewed him for it but they both decided it wasnt the right fit for Ekeler. In other words they both didnt think Ekeler was experienced enough for a DC then so they both agreed it wasnt going to work out. Then when Levitt started with the is Co DC idea he went back to Ekeler because it wasnt the same idea they had earlier. Now he thought Ekeler was experienced enough for a co-DC spot, but of course Ekeler turned it down so it doesnt really matter anyways but thats the true story that makes sense.

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Por (gobulls32) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

How about a division two coach (or whatever its called these days) who has consitently strong defenses. Think one of them might want to move up to the big schools? If they turn it down then Woolard needs to ask a lot of questions to the rest of the coaching staff.
Dungy idea sounds great but that would never ever happen. Never. Ever. EVER.
Could you imagine him as DC under Leavitt? Talk about polar opposites. Funny to thing about.

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Por (gobulls32) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Gosh my spelling sucks.

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Por (Bob Rashad) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

gobulls32…more like bipolar opposites

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