Mariucci’s ‘had no contact with Arkansas’

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Didn’t really expect to see that in a headline, did ya?

In a report by Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com Sunday, he wrote that “[s]ources tell me that former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci is interested in the Arkansas head coaching job.”

That serves as news to the current NFL Network analyst, who told Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com that he “hadn’t heard about” the speculation connecting him to the Razorbacks vacancy and that “[i]t comes as a complete surprise to me.”

Mariucci last served as a coach — head or otherwise — in 2005, completing the third of his three seasons with the Lions.  The last time he coached at the collegiate level?  At Cal in 1996, when he led the Golden Bears to a 6-6 mark before leaving to take over the 49ers.

Despite the fact that he’s been away from the coaching game for nearly seven years, Mariucci said he’s open to a return to the sidelines — if it’s the right fit.

“It has to be the right situation,” Mariucci told Dodd. “I haven’t ruled it out [coaching again]. I enjoy what I do now. If something that comes up that makes sense, but I’ve had no contact with Arkansas.”

Here’s to guessing Mariucci won’t have much if any contact with UA in the future either.

Athletic director Jeff Long is expected in the not-too-distant future to make a decision on whether the football program will go with a permanent replacement for Bobby Petrino or take the interim coach route in 2012, although it appears the latter option is the most likely — and prudent — course of action.  In addition to Mariucci, the likes of TCU’s Gary Patterson, USF’s Skip Holtz, Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn — the favorite among gambling types — and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini have all, at least publicly, interest/contact in the vacancy.

(Photo credit: NFL Network’s Rich Eisen)