TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe has surfaced as the
leading candidate to replace Louisville football coach Bobby
Petrino, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Sunday night.
Petrino informed his Louisville team on Sunday that he's
accepted the head coach's position for the Atlanta Falcons. An
official announcement is expected on Monday.
Kragthorpe was at the American Football Coaches Association
Convention in San Antonio Sunday and could not be reached for
Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham, contacted by the Tulsa
World Sunday night, deferred to a statement he released last
October. The statement said speculation about the future employment
status of a head coach "can be damaging" and that he was not
going to comment on hypothetical discussions until there is a
change in employment status.
Kragthorpe, 41, has led TU to three bowl games in four years and
his team won the 2005 Conference USA championship. He is close
friends with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, a
relationship established when the two were together at Northern
Kragthorpe was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator
for the Lumberjacks from 1990-93, and Jurich was NAU's athletic
director from 1988-1996.
Kragthorpe was considered a leading candidate to replace Petrino
when the Louisville coach spoke with LSU about its opening two
years ago. Louisville (12-1) is coming off a Big East Conference
championship season and defeated Wake Forest 24-13 in the Orange
The Cardinals are expected to finish in the top five in the
final polls and could make a national championship run next season.
Jurich released a statement saying that his school is "going to
move quickly in hiring our next coach to keep our momentum going."
Kragthorpe's name has been linked to numerous vacancies this
season, but he's often squelched rumors.
"I'm not interested in leaving Tulsa," Kragthorpe said last
October. "My family absolutely loves living here. If I'm the head
coach for the next 10 years, I can think of nothing better."