Is Addazio on Illini coaching list?

Posted: November 29, 2011

The speculation has begun.

As soon as Temple introduced Steve Addazio as its head football caoch in December, fans wondered when Bowl Championship Series programs would try to lure him away.

Two seasons? Four seasons?

According to the Chicago Tribune, things could happen sooner than expected.

The newspaper reported that the Owls' first-year coach may be a candidate for the Illinois job. Any new coach will replace Ron Zook, who was fired Sunday.

"I have no comment," Addazio said Monday about being mentioned for the job. "I have nothing to say about that. I'm focused on playing in a bowl game."

But don't be surprised if Florida's former associate head coach/offensive coordinator will be mentioned as a candidate for other coaching vacancies.

That's because Akron, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Kansas, Penn State, Memphis, UCLA, Alabama-Birmingham and Tulane will be looking to hire coaches.

Under Addazio, Temple (8-4) is the Mid-American Conference East Division runner-up. The eight wins are the most by an Owls' first-year coach. Temple also finished the regular season with three consecutive victories.

The Owls will learn their bowl fate on Dec. 4.

One of the reasons Addazio may be a candidate for the Illinois job is his ties to the Midwest. He was a former assistant coach at Notre Dame and Indiana.

The Tribune also lists Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, South Florida coach Skip Holtz, Cincinnati coach Butch Jones, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach as potential successors to Zook.

Players of the week. Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown both received Mid-American Conference East Division player of the week honors on Monday.

Pierce, a 6-foot, 218-pound junior tailback, was named the division's offensive player of the week. Brown, a 5-5, 170-pound junior tailback, earned the division's specialist of the week.

Pierce rushed for season-best 189 yards and three touchdowns in Friday's 34-16 victory over Kent State. This is his fourth offensive player of the week honor this season and eighth of his career.

Brown tied a school record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He also returned two punts for 24 yards and rushed 11 times for 32 yards.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com

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