FAU’s long list of possible coaches includes Leach

Florida Atlantic’s athletic director says his long list of

possible candidates to succeed coach Howard Schnellenberger

includes former coaches Mike Leach, Randy Shannon and Jim

Leavitt.

The 77-year-old Schnellenberger, the coach since the program’s

first season in 2001, plans to retire at the end of this year. The

program reaches a milestone Saturday when it christens a $70

million, 30,000-seat on-campus stadium.

Athletic director Craig Angelos said Wednesday he’ll begin a

formal search for Schnellenberger’s successor soon and hopes to

hire someone around the end of the season.

Leach coached at Texas Tech, Shannon at Miami and Leavitt at

South Florida. All were fired within the past two years.

”They’re great people, and I’m trying to cast a wide net,

whether it be a current head coach, former head coach or current

assistant coach,” Angelos said. ”I’ve talked to people

informally, and I’ve compiled a notebook of people I wanted to talk

to, but I haven’t really started looking at it too much yet. After

Oct. 15, I’m sure I’ll spend a lot more time on it.”

Leach went 84-43 in 10 seasons at Texas Tech before he was fired

in December 2009 following allegations he mistreated a player who

had a concussion. Leach denied the allegations and sued for

wrongful termination.

Shannon went 28-22 in four seasons at Miami and was fired a year

ago. The program is now immersed in an NCAA investigation stemming

from allegations a Ponzi schemer provided money, sex, cars and

gifts to 72 players over a nine-year period ending in 2010.

Leavitt was fired in January 2010 after a school investigation

concluded he grabbed one of his players by the throat during

halftime of a game and slapped him in the face, then lied about it.

Leavitt, who went 95-57 as the only head coach in the first 13

years of the program, received $2.75 million in the settlement of a

lawsuit he filed against the school.