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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Will Jim Leavitt Come Calling On Mike Ekeler Again?

Illinois defensive coordinator Dan Disch has turned down Jim Leavitt's offer to become the new defensive coordinator at South Florida.

It appears, however, Mike Ekeler is already out of the picture. According to the Brett McMurphy at Tampa Bay Online, Ekeler turned down Jim Leavitt before the job was offered to Dan Disch. Leavitt has also interviewed former Cincinatti coach Joe Tressey, who was never offered.

Coaching at Nebraska with the Pelinis certainly would be a dream job for almost any position coach in college football. Emphasize the word position coach. I'm not exactly sure why Ekeler would turn down a coordinator position in the Big East Conference with an old friend that will clearly be more lucrative than his $120,000 salary at Nebraska. (According to the LJS, Wally Burnham, who was the defensive coordinator that just left South Florida for Iowa State, was making $220,000.) This isn't exactly a lateral move for Ekeler. Jim Leavitt, who is 52 years of age (surprising, huh?), will probably be around for as long as he wants at South Florida which means that the head coaching job there is probably not very realistic down the road for Ekeler. Still, it's all about moving up the ladder if you are Ekeler and want to be a head coach someday.

If Ekeler had any second thoughts about turning down the job the first time around, then now is his golden opportunity to seize the moment. Ekeler is a great coach and a great recruiter, and we need him at Nebraska for our own selfish needs. Chances like this don't come around the corner all the time, but I'll be shocked if he changes his mind the second time around.