Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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Is Candle headed to Central Florida?


Toledo head coach Jason Candle runs onto the field to greet Akron head coach Terry Bowden seconds after winning the MAC Championship football game at Ford Field in Detroit.

Blade/Lori King Enlarge

It was all but inevitable. A suitor has come calling on Jason Candle.

The Orlando Sentinel reported the Toledo football coach is atop Central Florida’s shortlist to replace the Nebraska-bound Scott Frost.

We could not confirm details of the reputed courtship — I do not believe there has been much of one yet — but it would neither be surprising if the Knights came hard after Candle or if Candle gave the gig a look.

Central Florida is as good of a Group of Five job as there is, with the Orlando school boasting a 45,000-seat on-campus stadium, lush recruiting grounds, and big-time financial commitment. Frost, who led the Knights to a perfect season and a berth in the Peach Bowl before bolting for his alma mater, earned about $2 million per year. Candle earns $675,000 at Toledo.

The guess here is the 38-year-old Candle — a sharp offensive mind, a skilled recruiter, and a respected leader who led the Rockets to their first Mid-American Conference championship since 2004 — stays and is one of the top coaching names after next season. But if UCF makes a push, nobody could blame the second-year coach for striking while the going is good.

All you could do is wish him the best. That’s the way the game is played in the MAC, where coaches almost always parlay big seasons into bigger jobs. Since 2006, eight conference coaches — Brian Kelly, Turner Gill, Butch Jones, Mike Haywood, Dave Doeren, Dave Clawson, Dino Babers, and P.J. Fleck — captured the conference title, then left for bigger gigs.

Will Candle be next in line?

Contact David Briggs at dbriggs@theblade.com419-724-6084, or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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