FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas fired Chad Morris on Nov. 10 and Barry Lunney Jr. has served as interim head coach since that time.
The wait to see who is the permanent replacement for Morris is nearing an end. The conference championship games will be played on Saturday with the one exception of a game tonight. Following that, the coaching picture will start to clear up.
It may be Sunday or even Monday before Arkansas names a coach, but regardless of who they hire that time is nearing. Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin coaches in the Conference USA Championship Game on Saturday against UAB and Bill Clark.
Arkansas, Ole Miss and Florida State could all be awaiting the conclusions of various games on Saturday. Kiffin has been linked to Arkansas for a few weeks now. Ole Miss fired Matt Luke this past weekend and they are linked to Kiffin and Louisiana’s Billy Napier. Louisiana plays Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship Game as well. Florida State has been heavily mentioned with Mike Norvell and possibly even Kiffin. Memphis plays Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference title game as well on Saturday.
So the conclusion of those three games should provide a clearer picture at all three of those schools by Sunday. Obviously Arkansas, Ole Miss and Florida State have been linked to other coaches than the ones listed above, but those have been prominently mentioned with each of those schools.
Kiffin hasn’t been as mentioned with Florida State as much as he has Arkansas and Ole Miss the fact remains let the Seminoles miss on Norvell and some other top targets and they might try to make a run at Kiffin.
The feeling in this column was Eric Musselman would get the Arkansas job once Kelvin Sampson was out of the picture and it has been Kiffin would replace Morris. But until the hire is official nothing is a 100-percent and with Dana Altman it wasn’t over then.
People constantly ask where would Arkansas turn if Kiffin didn’t come? That is a bridge that Hunter Yurachek would have to cross when the time arrived.
One can say with authority the search is nearing an end because that it is four days short of a month, there’s one recruiting weekend left before the Dec. 18-20 Early Signing Period and once the championship games are over there’s no reason to wait.
Arkansas currently has six commitments for the Class of 2020. Bryant and linebacker Catrell Wallace face North Little Rock tonight for the Class 7A state championship at 7 p.m. in War Memoria Stadium. North Little Rock has running back Brandon Thomas (Memphis) and offensive lineman Erin Smith (SMU) with both possibly being eyed by new coach at Arkansas.