Was Spurrier a candidate for the job when we hired Shula? Mike was hired in May '03; Spurrier resigned the 'Skins in December '03.
I know his name was mentioned rather seriously during our last coaching search but, as I understand it, there was never any real discussion between him and the search team. I "heard" that SOS wanted to talk, but it never happened. TerryP, anything to this?
Those of you who know the reliability of my info may believe this...those who don't can ignore it.
Spurrier was a done deal. He had agreed to come. Within 15 minutes of being offered the job and accepting, he had 4 different people call and offer him the job - again. He called Mal back and said something to the effect of "who the !@#$ is running the show over there?" and then withdrew his name from consideration. It was at that point that the clue phone began ringing for a number of the good old boys. Almost all of them answered it. I am convinced that the delays involved with securing RichRod were intentional on Coach Moore's part. It is my belief that Mal had his sights set on two coaches from the beginning (1) was Spurrier, and (1a) was Saban. Saban would have been #1 with a period after it if the NFL season was closer to being concluded, or if Miami would have been out of the playoff hunt at the time we began our search. Mal was under pressure to bring the search to a close as quickly as possible, which is why he went after SOS first.
In retrospect, the way it played out was for the best. A number of people (and one in particular who I have a lot of respect for) realized at this point that they should be fans with check books instead of trying to pull strings. The way it played out cured a lot of ills with our program, and for the first time in decades the power is resting in the hands of those who should wield it.
It was around the time that Rod was "offered" that I began to have substantial and corroborated information that Saban was ours. Even when the AL.com had an article online that RichRod was our new coach, I had information to ignore the info and wait...Saban was our coach. RichRod was not a smokescreen per-say...he was offered the job - but not by the person who should have offered the job to him, and not in ernest. I don't know for sure that his acceptance was intentionally torpedoed, but I have reason to believe that was the case.
After Rod fell through (if you can call it that) there were reassignments in the AD and other people were told to sit down and shut up. Feelings got hurt but we are better for it.
Since Stallings retired, we have not had a realistic shot at being a championship calibre program, and as much as I cannot stand Fran, his reasons for leaving included what I have said. Prior to taking the Bama job, Saban talked with Fran. Fran told him that Bama was a sleeping giant, but for us to have a chance to wake up, some things had to change. Fran named names and pointed fingers. Saban validated Fran's info in a well documented conversation with Stallings. Before Saban would accept the job, concessions had to be made and changes had to happen...they were made and they happened (and still are happening). The only proof of this that I can offer is to tell you to look at the AD positions during that time frame and look at them now...also consider the fact that Saban has no buy out. He did not want to be locked into a situation where we backpeddled on the changes and he could not get out...and the salary we are paying him is so high that buyouts are not needed to keep him from being hired away. Saban did not need the financial security of a buyout - he is confident of his ability to win given the opportunity and the concessions and changes represented the opportunity. His salary and incentive package is higher than any school would be willing to beat by any significant margin...especially since they could not stick a $10m buyout on top of it for their own protection. That is why the brief TAMU rumor is so laughable...TAMU would not pay Saban more than $4m/year with no buyout...nobody would - except us.
Anyway...this is the truth of it as best I know. There may be some innacuracies as I am not coach Moore...but I believe it to be a fairly accurate description of the events between Dec 1 and Jan 4...at least that is how it seemed while it was happening.