Whenever Seth Littrell coached up his Mean Green Football team to a bowl, he was going to get some attention. Improving North Texas football in 2015 seemed impossible to the lay internet person, and with back-to-back 9-win seasons, a high-scoring offense, and three straight bowl-appearances Seth Littrell is on some short lists.
This is unsurprising and as we wrote previously, part of the gig.
It is the responsibility of the Administration — in this case Neal Smastresk and Wren Baker — to keep Seth Littrell (and all personnel) happy and doing their jobs well. There is a limit on how nice they can make this gig. The NT head football coach makes some nice coin relative to his league peers, but $1.4 million sure isn’t $3.7 million.
247Sports says that K-State is interested in kicking the tires on Littrell as the brass thinks of a replacement for legendary head coach Bill Snyder. There were some rumors that Texas Tech was vetting Littrell in case Matt Wells did not accept the offer. Nearly ever twitter person with a checkmark mentioned Littrell as going to either Tech or UNC when those jobs opened.
I have only spoken in non-interview sessions with Seth Littrell a handful of times and so I cannot pretend to know what makes him choose one coaching opportunity over another. His public comments say that he likes the area, that it is basically as home as he can get without going back to Oklahoma proper, and that his family enjoys the area.
As you peruse the rumors this weekend, try to apply this criteria to any job available:
How Good Is The Gig?
- Generally speaking, any P5 gig is better than a G5 gig. However, there are major exceptions. Having more money and “better” facilities is great, but the being the poorest rich program in the Big 12 is not ideal.
- Is there disfunction? Louisville used to be a nice job, but recent disasters in both basketball and football have rendered that place toxic. Favorite Son Jeff Brohm turned down the opening to stay at Purdue.
- Can he win now? After trudging through the initial 5-win season at NT, Seth Littrell has one more year of Mason Fine before he has to figure out if his next QB can do the job. Another year of Mason Fine makes North Texas an attractive place for 2019 at least. Leaving a good team for a complete rebuild is not that fun.
Is It A Good Fit?
- Location, location, location. Seth Littrell paid his dues as an assistant, going from Lubbock, to Tucson, to Bloomington, to Chapel Hill before coming to Denton — well, Argyle. Moving with really young kids — or no kids — is easier. It gets much harder when everyone is established. It has to be great.
- Closely tied to above is well, money $$$$$. This also factors into how good the gig is. NT pays $1.4 for the head coaching job. David Beaty was getting $1.7 for that brutal Kansas job. I’m sure Beaty would have considered taking a 250K pay cut to coach up Mason Fine and compete for CUSA titles than endure the slog of rebuilding Kansas these last few years. Indiana’s Tom Allen is getting $1.8 to find ways to beat Ohio State and Michigan with half the talent.
Is He Bored?
- There is unfinished business in Denton. North Texas has still yet to win a bowl game under Littrell (another chance coming soon) and his best team in three years’ time did not even compete in the CUSA title game. The other was destroyed on the road. Beating Ohio State can wait until after UAB is vanquished.
- Mason Fine is still on the roster. When Brent Stockstill of MTSU graduates, Fine will be the undisputed career leader in the league, and the clear best QB. Even if NT is worse in 2019 because of graduations on defense, a peek over at Murfreesboro on Sunday shows that having a good QB can do wonders.
Will There Be Another Chance?
On one extreme you have Kliff Kingsbury, who left for his alma mater immediately after coaching two great QBs, including a Heisman winner as the example of striking when the iron is glowing red. The other extreme is probably someone like David Bailiff, who helped reinvigorate Rice University until he overstayed, and was fired after the magic had gone. Twitter rumor was that he tried to get his hat in the ring at Texas State but was denied.
Losses and time can dull the sheen and make it difficult to get one’s name in these conversations. Right now, Littrell is at least on every reporter’s mind if not the Athletic Director’s of programs with a coach that is underperforming.
The people in the program that like to talk say that an SEC school contacted Littrell last year but he turned them down. It’s a solid gig. You can win there, but you won’t be competing for national titles every year.
Truly, the only job I can see Littrell taking without any hesitation is in Norman. Anything else is a deliberation and North Texas — for the next year at least — can make him reconsider.