(Updated 2:30 p.m.)
Athens — OK, you can officially remove another name from the list of candidates for Georgia’s open defensive-coordinator job: Vic Koenning was introduced as Illinois’ new defensive coordinator at a press conference in Champaign, Ill., this afternoon.
While Georgia discussed its DC job with Koenning, his reported salary with Illinois — $325,000 — would suggest UGA didn’t aggressively target him. That’s almost the same salary Willie Martinez was making ($325,815 plus bonuses), and indications are that Georgia is prepared to go well beyond that figure for the right hire.
“There was some dialogue [with Georgia],” Koenning said at today’s press conference, “and it made for an interesting last 16, 18 hours, you might say. But when push comes to shove, the character and the drive and the enthusiasm that [Illinois] coach [Ron] Zook exhibited makes sure there was no doubt in the outcome.”
A couple of hours before Illinois’ press conference, Georgia coach Mark Richt passed when asked to shed light on Georgia’a interest in Koenning.
“I think everything is just –- this whole search stuff -– I’ll just say there is nothing to shed,” Richt said. “I’ve got nothing to shed on it.”
Richt did not signal that his search is any closer to resolution than on Wednesday, when he said it might last into the new year. He noted that many prospective candidates are committed to completing the season with their current teams. That would apply to college coaches whose teams are in bowls, as well as to NFL coaches.
“It’s just a really crummy time of year to be trying to do what we’re doing here,” Richt said, “but that’s just part of it right now.”
He did say Georgia’s three staff openings are generating a lot of interest.
“I know I’ve got a stack of stuff [from] an awful lot of people,” he said. “It’s more than just the D-coordinator job too -– there are lot of position coaches looking –- but we’ve got to get the D-coordinator thing squared away before we move forward to anything else.”