Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/1/11
A source with connections to the Arizona State football program said the quest to hire University of Houston coach Kevin Sumlin as the teams next coach is almost a done deal. Sumlin will likely coach the Cougars in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday before any announcement is made, but it is clear that Sumlin or an intermediary and ASU officials have been talking for a while. Mark Brand, Arizona State's associate athletic director for media relations, denied reports that an offer had been made. The same source said Sumlin would like to bring co-offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury with him from Houston, but recently hired Washington State coach Mike Leach may also be making a play for Kingsbury. Kingsbury was the first quarterback to play in the "Air Raid" offense under Leach at Texas Tech. If Leach does lure Kingbury to Pullman, Wash., Sumlin might choose to retain offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. Sumlin and members of his staff visited Mazzone during an off-season camp two years ago and reportedly loved the Valley. One potential hitch in the hire could be Texas A&Ms decision on the future of coach Mike Sherman. If that job opens up, Sumlin could find it more attractive. Leachs 2.2 million annual salary on a five-year deal would be a starting point for Sumlins compensation. ASU is considered a more attractive job, and the school should have more money to spend than Washington State. There is also the expected revenue from the launch of the Pac-12 Networks in August to factor into the hire. Sumlin, 47, has a 35-16 record in four seasons at Houston, including a 12-0 mark heading into Saturday's game against Southern Miss. A victory in that would almost assuredly earn Houston its first BCS bowl bid. Case Keenum has put up record-setting passing totals while quarterbacking Sumlin's offense at Houston. Prior to Houston, Sumlin was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, directing a Sooners' offense that also piled up gaudy offensive stats.
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