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Ekeler out of mix - again

Posted Mar 2, 2009 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Mar 2, 2009 at 11:14 PM

If University of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt still plans on having co-defensive coordinators at USF, he’ll have to do so without Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler.

Sunday night, Leavitt offered the co-coordinator positions to Ekeler and Iowa State secondary coach Chris Ash. Early Monday afternoon, Ekeler decided he would remain with Nebraska.

Ekeler, 37, had initially interviewed with Leavitt last week, but told the Omaha (Neb.) World Herald on Thursday he was “happy” to be at Nebraska. Still, Leavitt pursued Ekeler a second time after being turned down Sunday by Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek and Colorado secondary coach Greg Brown.

Leavitt is seeking replacements for defensive coordinator Wally Burnham and secondary coach Troy Douglas.

With Ekeler out of the picture, will Leavitt try to pair Ash, 35, with another individual as co-defensive coordinators? Or will Leavitt offer Ash the defensive coordinator position and hire another individual as linebackers coach?

Reader Comments

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Okay—when is Austin Kutcher going to hop out and tell us all we’ve been Punk’d??

This can’t be real.

No NCAA football program can be this hard up for coaches.

If it is, Leavitt has a disaster on his hands.

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Por (Hector Jimenez) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming but when will it end!!!!

This University has too much potential to let something like this happen…perception is reality and USF’s reality at this moment does not look very good.

The wagons are circling around Leavitt and if he does not put up better a record this year and make some great hires soon, factors for a dismissal are pilling up and will be very clear.

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

Still say Leavitt is not going anywhere.
Maybe its time the AD takes a more active role in this. Something is wrong here. It’s gotta be money or working enviroment. And if this many people are turning it down due to the enviroment, then Leavitt must have a pretty strong reputation out there.

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

CJL:  Give me a call coach, I’m telling you I’ve got my flag football team playing with reckless abandon, we pitched a shutout Saturday!

I’ll step down from my head coaching duties to accept the DC position.

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Por (USF95) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

This isn’t USF, it’s Leavitt.  I don’t think it’s perception.  It’s not like these people aren’t interested.  If they weren’t then they would have never interviewed.  However, there is something Leavitt is portraying in the interview process that’s freaking these guys out.  I still don’t know why in the heck Tresey hasn’t been offered the job nor the ex-Rutgers DB coach.  They both are proven in the Big East and have a good knowledge of Big East football.  Leavitt is really off base in his coaching choices and it’s starting to get old.

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Por (Fred Garvin) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Hey USF - leave the Nebraska coaches alone.  We spent four miserable seasons with bad coaches so please let us enjoy the good coaches for a few years before hiring them away.

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Por (Carl Hillman) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

It’s all about the money. If USF were able to offer a substantial salary increase, (as the gators did when they took our d-line coach)we would already have a DC. If a coaches salary is going from $100,000 to $400 or $500,000 I can guarantee he will take the job, especially with the defensive team he would be inheriting. These guys love football, but they also like to be paid well. USF is working with much lower budget than most big time football programs, so everyone just be patient.

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Mr. Hillman—

I’m curious as to why other EVEN SMALLER, EVEN LOWER BUDGETED programs do not seem to have the same difficulty hiring coaches.

Enough lame excuses already, guys.

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Por (Hector Jimenez) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

I’m with you Patrick…..enough excuses for this program and Leavitt.  He started the program, HUGE thanks for that but he does not walk on water!

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

Yeah, you can find smaller programs that pay better, but overall the money is the thing. In 12 years I have not heard a string of people leaving and all complaining about how hard it is to work with Leavitt. I HAVE seen them leave for bigger paychecks. Much bigger, usually. And when Brett shows the pool of funds, it just seems so SMALL compared to other schools, especially in Florida. Face it: we still have to try for aggressive up and comers from smaller/lesser known schools, and interviewing guys from the known schools was like an advertising tactic to get those smaller fish interested. I’d rather take a month and get a quality hire than rush and mess up.

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Por (Tex Mex) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

All assistant coaches want to be promoted and work their way up the ladder.  Sometimes (in fact usually) you have to change schools in this process.  So why, would you go to USF, where you get fired for trying to advance your career by interviewing with schools that are interested in you. 

The coach is a hypocrite. He fires someone for interviewing with another school (the National Champs, no less) yet looks for replacements with coaches who are employed at other schools.  So I ask again… unless you want USF to be your last career stop, why would you accept a job there?

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Por (Phil L) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)


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

Why take this job? For a big raise (means you are unknown & from a lesser program), for the opportunity to become a head coach (probably not gonna happen for 10 years here), to get promoted from your current job (and that means you are a backs coach or something, or from a much smaller or less prestigious program. Like Army.)

There are other reasons, but I think these are the main ones. So who will we get? A guy who sees the program on the rise and has something to prove, not a guy in a known program who thinks his next job is as head coach.

It’s gonna take a month to find that guy, and you’re all going to howl when he gets hired, because you never heard of him or he didn’t come from a known program.

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

Brett, do you think we still have a shot at the Cincy guy or the guy from Rutgers?

I liked those choices. Still do. Plus I love the idea of getting the inside info on a competitor from somebody who worked there. And the fact that these programs have been our toughest foes for years.

Any hope?

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Por (Randal Clement) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

I heard Tresey has had a second interview with CJL. Any news on that front?

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

Reading back through these articles, I don’t see where Tresey was offered the job. Tresey was fired for interviewing at Miami, so he is available, and probably looking to seal his best deal, with whatever school.

Where are the sources that say he got a secong interview at USF? I hope he did.

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Por (Bill Callahan) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

You guys could have gotten Kevin Gosgrove….  you know in 2005, his husker D led the nation in sacks, and tackles for loss. Kevin knows that have to put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks to do that!

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

I don’t see WHY anyone in their right mind would leave a tradition-rich program like Nebraska and go to a bottom feeder like USF.

Nebraska: 6 National Championships, oozing with tradition.

USFL: ??

No brainer.

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

Please leave our coaches alone. Go raid Miami, FSU or some other school in your backyard.

We’re still trying to get over the CozLahan experiment and the wasted years that went with that. We could have had 2 more NC’s in that time….

So, again, let us enjoy the stability we have now and…


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Por (NV Husker) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)


Thanks for the boost, but NE has won just 5 national championships with 1 of the 5 as “co-champions”.  On another note, your “oozing” comment brought back bad memories of Callahan talking about how his system was “oozing” all over the field during the KSU game his last season.  Bad, bad memories!

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Por (Steve O'Neal) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Dan, at

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Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Boy….you CornHolers are a real mentally unstable bunch.

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Por (Matthew Schmidt) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

I would like to apologize for the classless comments some so called NU fans have left on this website. Real Husker fans want our coaches to succeed and if they go somewhere else to better themselves and/or thier family then we will still stand behind them and encourage them. I do hope everything works out great for USF.

Go Big Red!

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

So let me get this right, you guys   don’t think money is that big a deal.  That I’m just making excuses.  Well if someone offered you a job at four times your current salary, doing the same thing, even if you had a tough boss, you are saying that you would not take it.  Yeah right.  It also appears that CJL was trying for CO DC’s, which is what he came from at Kansas State.

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Por (Joe Avery) on March 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Hey Matt we’ll see if you practice what you preach, when a few years down the road Jim Tressel retires and Pelini bails on NU to return to his Alma Mater.

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