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By LARRY VAUGHT
Depending on who you want to hear, it’s easy to find many, many directions that the UK football coaching search could go.
Here are various scenarios I heard or had pitched to me today:
— Never ever will athletics director Mitch Barnhart hire Bobby Petrino. Too much risk, too much baggage no matter what the reward.
— UK AD Mitch Barnhart will not have the final say on hiring the new coach, which means it will be a lot easier for Petrino to be offered the job.
— There was little or no movement in the coaching search Monday possibly because Barnhart was hoping Tennessee would have an opening and snatch Petrino to take the pressure of him.
— A Kentucky insider is saying Barnhart is going for a home run hire — former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and cites John Calipari’s ties to current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin as one reason it could happen.
The list could go on and on. But here is the best information I got today from someone I trust and who has direct knowledge of many things going on.
One, Barnhart has a priority list of coaches that includes a “home run hire” as well as Petrino because others at UK want Petrino considered. Two, there is a second level that could include a coach like Sonny Dykes as well as a coach like David Cutcliffe of Duke. Three, there’s a list that would involve current coordinators at the both the collegiate and NFL level.
“I don’t think there are nearly as many names being discussed for the job as many want to believe. I don’t think the list of possible candidates is nearly as long as some think,” the source told me.
And as I was driving through Knoxville, I listened to a Tennessee sports talk show when the idea of perhaps bring Phil Fulmer — and yes, his name has been mentioned at Kentucky because of ties to Barnhart — back came up. The talk show hosts as well as fans thought it was a terrible idea. And remember he led Tennessee to a national title and the fans don’t want him back. That shows how fickle a coaching search can be.