The search continues for Arizona State's new head football coach just two days after Dennis Erickson was relieved of his duties.
On Monday, reports circulated that ASU had indeed targeted Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin as their top candidate, and that talks had already started.
Wednesday night, Arizona Sports' Paul Calvisi tweeted the following:
Multiple sources confirm ASU has made contact w/ reps for Kevin Sumlin & they are "down the road." Ready to spend $2.5M per yr.
The real nugget there is the amount ASU is reportedly ready to spend. Erickson made $1.5 million this season. Just last week, the University of Arizona hired Rich Rodriguez as their new head coach, and he agreed to a five-year, $9.55 million contract, or about $1.9 million per season (including money from IMG and Nike).
Sumlin signed a six-year deal with Houston back in January of 2010, and his reported salary for the 2011 campaign is $1.2 million.
The 47-year-old Sumlin is in his 4th season at Houston, and has the Cougars on the doorstep of their first ever BCS bowl bid. This is the 3rd season under Sumlin's watch that the Cougars rank in the top two nationally in total offense. Led by record-setting quarterback Case Keenum, Houston ranks first in the nation in total offense (613.3 yards per game) and points (52.7 per game).
Calvisi's tweet also suggests that talks are advancing between the two sides despite Sumlin's quote earlier this week. "No one has contacted me from anywhere in the country about a coaching job anywhere. Even if they tried, at this point, I wouldn't even talk to them. We're in the middle of the season," he said.
Houston will host the Conference USA Championship Game on Saturday against Southern Mississippi.