UConn's coaching search took a disappointing turn earlier when reports surfaced that Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi turned down an offer to become UConn's new head coach, reportedly because the school wasn't offering sufficient assistant coach pay, but more likely because he feels that he can do better.
At UConn, sources tell us Pat Narduzzi declined an offer this morning to become head coach at UConn. Details> http://t.co/WuvOiF3uws— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 11, 2013
At UConn we hear Manuel's offer to Narduzzi was "aggressive" for the HC; but not as robust for assts as was hoped for.— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 11, 2013
That's the word from UConn RT @uconn51590: know for any other reasons besides the assistant coach money that Narduzzi turned down job?— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 11, 2013
This obviously doesn't reflect well on UConn, and the fact that it was leaked is inexcusable, but over the past few minutes news broke that may provide a measure of relief for Husky fans.
Over The Pylon is reporting that a flight is scheduled to leave from Connecticut to Muncie, Ind. later this afternoon. Muncie, if you didn't know, is where Ball State is located, leading to speculation that university officials may be headed out there to speak to Ball State head coach Pete Lembo, who was considered to be another favorite to land the job.
Whether this is just breathless speculation or something more, we'll find out soon. Either way, getting turned down by Narduzzi is a public relations hit for UConn, but it will only be a disaster if the university allows it to dominate the conversation. Getting Lembo to say yes would be a huge coup for the Huskies and would enable the athletic department to finally move past the moribund Paul Pasqualoni era into what will hopefully be a brighter future for UConn football.
So apparently Lembo is in Alabama today, according to this tweet sent earlier this afternoon.
Touring the facilities here in Mobile, AL today. Great hospitality from the folks from the GoDaddy Bowl! pic.twitter.com/oqK3ECpFxC— Pete Lembo (@Pete_Lembo) December 11, 2013
This isn't to say that Lembo couldn't wind up flying back to Ball State later today, or that he's is or isn't interested in the UConn opening, but obviously it's something that needs to be considered before we get too worked up over a flight from Connecticut to Muncie that may or may not be carrying UConn officials.
More to come.