Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been linked to the head-coaching job at USC, and former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy said today that USC sent out feelers to him. But USC’s athletic department says it never authorized anyone to contact either coach.
The official USC athletics website published a statement today saying, “USC has been alerted that individuals posing as USC representatives made overtures to two coaches regarding the Trojans’ head coaching position.”
The USC statement goes on to say that “a person falsely identifying himself as a high-ranking member of the USC athletic department attempted to make contact several times with the Denver Broncos.” Although Del Rio is not mentioned by name in the USC statement, he has been the subject of a great deal of speculation surrounding the job at USC, where he was an All-American linebacker in the 1980s.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said the job hasn’t been offered to anyone.
“Tony’s discussion on the radio today of being contacted by USC was a complete surprise to us,” Haden said. “So were the calls made to the Broncos. I can assure you no authorized representative of USC or our athletic department made these calls. As I said last week, we will not comment on every name that comes out. It would be a disservice to our players and coaches, who are devoting everything they have into the remainder of our season. We have a head coach right now in Ed Orgeron. We have not offered the job to anyone.”
As Manti Te’o knows, it’s easy for pranksters to falsely represent themselves over the phone and the Internet. It’s not clear from USC’s statement exactly what happened here, but it’s possible that this was all some kind of scam.
It’s also possible that USC is engaging in some face-saving: Perhaps USC really did send out feelers to people close to Dungy, but did so indirectly so that if Dungy declared that he wasn’t interested, the school could say no one from the school reached out. USC, after all, wants its head-coaching job to be viewed as desirable. And Dungy didn’t say he heard directly from USC, he said it was more of a “your people called my people” situation.
But the USC statement suggests at the very least that the school won’t be naming its next head coach any time soon. And any coach who’s interested in the job should probably speak to Pat Haden directly.
Let’s just hope Ronaiah Tuiasosopo doesn’t do a good Pat Haden impression.