Arizona State is said to be closing in on Sumlin, according to KTAR radio. But Sumlin’s name is almost sure to come up in the search to replace Rick Neuheisel, who was fired from UCLA and for the vacant spots at University of Illinois and Kansas.
There is a good reason Sumlin is drawing so much attention and it has everything to do with his 12-0 Cougars, who are hosting the Conference USA Championship game on Saturday against Southern Miss. Provided the No. 6 Cougars don’t have a slip up Saturday they will head to the BCS bowl, making Sumlin the first African-American coach from a non-automatic qualifying school to guide his program to one of the five elite bowl games.
But Sumlin insists he isn’t looking or entertaining offers at this point. If you believe the fourth-year head coach all the talk about where he might land next isn’t a distraction, either.
"It's not a distraction," Sumlin said this week during his weekly press conference. "That's gone on since I've been here. They only talk about coaches two ways, guys that get fired or guys that are moving on and so that's all part of it.
"I don't see that as a being a distraction at all. It certainly isn't to our team and it's not to me.
"You win a bunch a games and those types of things are just a bi-product of winning."
Apparently University of Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades isn’t taking such a relaxed approach. He has already began to engage Sumlin in talks about a contract extension. Sumlin has four years remaining on a contract that pays him $1 million annually.
He could land a job with an automatic qualifier school that will more than triple that pay, and that might be difficult for Houston to match.
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