No sooner had I tweeted Thursday afternoon that Stanford’s Pep Hamilton was unlikely to become Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator, followers were demanding other names. Little did they, or I, realize that a former Sooner would emerge as a candidate.
Chuck Long is a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Kansas. He was an All-America quarterback at Iowa and runner-up to Auburn’s Bo Jackson for the 1985 Heisman Trophy – Jackson’s 45-point margin is among the narrowest in Heisman history. Long was the 12th pick of the 1986 NFL draft and played for the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams.
Long lost his job as Kansas’ coordinator in 2011 when the school fired head coach Turner Gill. He spent this season helping coach at Norman (Okla.) High School, where his son Zach was the quarterback.
Several sources said Thursday evening that Long is on Tech coach Frank Beamer’s radar. How that occurred is unclear, but Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, a contemporary of Beamer’s, was Iowa’s offensive coordinator during Long’s playing career and may have recommended him.
I first heard Long's name early Thursday evening, but the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Mike Barber beat me to the Twitter punch.
Long’s first coaching gig was at Iowa, from 1995-98 under Hayden Fry. His former Iowa teammate, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, hired him as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator in 1999 and promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2002, a position he held for four years.
During Long’s tenure at Oklahoma, he helped coach Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jason White and runner-up Josh Heupel. The Sooners won the 2000 national title and lost the championship game to Southern California in January 2005.
A 1999 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Long parlayed his Oklahoma success into the head-coaching position at San Diego State, where he was dismissed in 2008 after compiling a 9-27 record in three seasons.
During his two seasons at Kansas, 2010 and ’11, the Jayhawks went 3-9 and 2-10.
Enamored of Hamilton, Stanford’s offensive coordinator, some Hokies fans on Twitter frowned at Long’s mention Thursday. Some asked whether he could recruit well?
I don't know anything about his sales skills, but I would think national-championship bling, not to mention a Heisman runner-up and NFL career, would carry some cache.
Three other points:
* Given his position at reigning Pac-12 champion Stanford, Hamilton was going to be a tough get.
* No one is reporting that Long is THE choice. In fact, Beamer could tab him as quarterbacks coach instead, or move on completely.
* No one knows who THE best choice is.
Beamer knows what he wants in a coordinator. It’s his job, through contacts and interviews, to find those traits, hopefully soon enough for quarterback Logan Thomas to ponder before deciding whether to declare for the NFL draft – the deadline is Tuesday.
As I’ve said previously, I believe Beamer is keeping Thomas informed on his search and perhaps connecting him via phone with candidates.
No matter Beamer’s choice, judgment should hinge not on name recognition but on results.
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