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College football notebook

UMass opens coaching search

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / December 2, 2011
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University of Massachusetts athletic director John McCutcheon has a list of names from which he hopes to find his next football coach. Although McCutcheon will not give a timetable for hiring a replacement for Kevin Morris, who was fired two weeks ago, he said he wants to move as quickly as possible as the program transitions to the Bowl Subdivision.

“Ideally, you would like to have it done in a fairly speedy manner,’’ he said. “And I really enjoy the process, but sometimes the unexpected happens and you have to deal with it.’’

McCutcheon plans on talking to former UMass coach Mark Whipple, who is currently the quarterbacks coach of the Cleveland Browns. Whipple was noncommittal about his intentions, other than to say he would talk to McCutcheon.

According to sources at Texas Tech, McCutcheon met yesterday with Red Raiders offensive coordinator Neal Brown in Atlanta. Brown, 31, played two seasons as a wide receiver at UMass and has the offensive pedigree McCutcheon is seeking. He is also in the running for the coaching vacancy at Alabama-Birmingham.

McCutcheon also is expected to talk to Boston College defensive coordinator Bill McGovern in the next few days.

Other possible candidates include former BC assistant coach Jack Bicknell Jr., currently the New York Giants assistant offensive line coach; former BC quarterback Mike Kruczek, who spent six seasons as head coach at Central Florida; and University of Pittsburgh assistant head coach Calvin Magee.

Aggies fire Sherman

Texas A&M fired coach Mike Sherman after the Aggies finished the regular season a disappointing 6-6 before leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference next year.

Sherman was 25-25 in four seasons. He had three years remaining on his contract and the buyout will be for about $5.8 million. He was given a one-year extension to his original contract in July.

AD Bill Byrne said he will choose an assistant coach to serve as the interim coach for Texas A&M’s bowl game.

Barkley near decision

Southern Cal junior quarterback Matt Barkley filed for an evaluation from the NFL’s draft advisory board, though he is not committed to leaving school early. Barkley said he’ll begin his decision process next week . . . The Arizona state Board of Regents approved a five-year contract for new Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez. The deal starts at $1.45 million per year in base pay and ends at $1.8 million with annual incentives . . . Colorado State fired AD Paul Kowalczyk and replaced him with former Rams quarterback Jack Graham. “I am not happy and I know no one is happy of where our football program stands today,’’ said Graham, a 1975 graduate. A loss to Wyoming tomorrow would give the Rams their third straight 3-9 season . . . Savannah State’s ex-coach received a $240,000 settlement to dismiss a federal discrimination lawsuit he filed last year claiming the historically black college in Georgia fired him because he’s white. A copy of the settlement obtained by the AP showed Robby Wells’s attorneys were paid $110,000 in addition to the money paid to the former coach. Wells, who became Savannah State’s first white football coach when he was hired in 2007, led the Tigers to a 7-15 record in two seasons and resigned suddenly in January 2010, soon after he signed a one-year contract extension. Four months later, Wells filed a lawsuit in US. District Court claiming university administrators told him that alumni wouldn’t support him because he was white, and that Savannah residents wouldn’t approve of him being engaged to a black woman.

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