Southern University’s search for a new football coach is down to two.
And the two remaining finalists have already interviewed for the job.
Brian Jenkins, the Bethune-Cookman coach who had perhaps the strongest résumé of the three finalists, is no longer in the running. SU Athletic Director William Broussard confirmed Wednesday night that Jenkins will not come to campus Thursday for is face-to-face interview as originally scheduled.
That leaves two finalists: James Spady, the offensive tackles and tight ends coach at Nevada and a former offensive coordinator at Grambling; and Dawson Odums, the interim head coach at SU, the man who led the Jaguars to a 4-5 record in their final nine games this season.
Broussard said he still intends to present his final choice to the SU System Board of Supervisors at their meeting Friday.
“Thursday, in lieu of the interview, we now give ourselves a few hours’ head start, instead of going into what would be very late night. ... We’re going to take more time Thursday to evaluate,” Broussard said.
“Then I’ll be formulating my final recommendation and meeting people on campus to go through how exactly we’ll put all this together.”
Broussard declined to give a blow-by-blow account of how he and Jenkins came to a gentlemen’s agreement, of sorts, which removed Jenkins’ name from the short list.
The athletic director said he spoke with Jenkins’ “legal representation” Wednesday, and that it was in the best interests of both sides to “move forward.”
Attempts to reach Jenkins on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Broussard added: “There was a request for more time, and we don’t have more time. ... This is a critical time. We’re about 50 or so days from signing day, and that date’s not going to move because Southern University is looking for a head coach. We don’t have the time to wait.”
So the face-to-face interview phase is finished.
It began Monday when Spady, a native of Biloxi, Miss., got off a plane in Baton Rouge and headed straight to the A.W. Mumford Field House, where he met with SU’s search committee.
Spady also met with the administration and members of the athletic department, in addition to Broussard.
Spady, an assistant coach for 20 years, had two stints at UTEP, his alma mater — first as tight ends coach from 1993-96, and again as defensive line coach from 2000-03. Spady also had two coaching internships with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers before moving on to jobs at South Carolina State and North Carolina Central.
Spady has spent the past three seasons at Nevada, which produced quarterback Colin Kaepernick and operates heavily out of the pistol formation.
The Wolf Pack went 14-1 in 2010 and are 28-12 overall the past three years. They will face Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15.
“It’s an honor to be a finalist,” Spady said in a text message late Wednesday night. “However, my focus is right now is on ... beating our opponent, the University of Arizona.”
Odums made his final case Tuesday.
Attempts to reach him Wednesday were unsuccessful.
A native of Shelby, N.C., Odums came to Southern as defensive line coach in 2011, working under then-coach Stump Mitchell.
Southern reassigned Mitchell after the Jaguars’ Sept. 13 home loss to Mississippi Valley State, then promoted Odums to interim head coach. With him in charge, Southern defeated all of its top three rivals: Jackson State, Florida A&M and Grambling.
Although the Jaguars came close to beating other SWAC contenders, they entered the Bayou Classic on a four-game losing streak.
SU finished the season with a 38-33 win over Grambling, its first Bayou Classic victory since 2007.
He will have to hope his record, and his final presentation, are enough to win him the job.
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