Rumors swirled Sunday night that Bowling Green football coach Dino Babers had reached a deal and was expected to be named to the same position at Central Florida.
The initial report, published by Josh Newberg and Ryan Bartow of 247sports.com, stated that Babers was “expected to be the next head coach at UCF. An official announcement could come as soon as Monday.”
On Monday, Babers formally refuted the claims that a deal had been reached.
“I just want to talk about the report last night,” Babers said during his weekly press conference. “I think it was 247, I’m not even sure where it comes from. It was completely false. There are no legs to it at all.
“I haven’t signed anything,” Babers said. “I am not going anywhere, OK. I have no secret deals, no above deals, no verbal deals. I have no deals. My deal is getting back Friday against Northern Illinois and trying to win a championship.”
Early Tuesday morning it was reported by Brandon Helwig, the publisher of UCFSports.com, that UCF had hired Oregon offensive coordinator to be its head coach.
Helwig, via Twitter, confirmed the news through multiple sources, “both inside and outside UCF.”
The Falcons, who finished the regular season 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Mid-American Conference, play Northern Illinois in the MAC title game Friday at 8 p.m. at Ford Field.
UCF recently wrapped up an 0-12 season.
Babers has become a hot commodity in the coaching ranks after guiding Bowling Green to 17-9 record to date in his two years, while collecting two MAC East titles.
His name has been brought up as a candidate for numerous jobs including, but not limited to, Illinois, Maryland, Miami (FL), Purdue and UCF.
Helwig reported that Babers interviewed with UCF on Saturday.
Babers did not shy away when asked if he has been in discussions with other schools.
“I speak to schools all the time,” he said. “I speak to schools. … I’ve spoke to the University of Hawaii about who they should hire. The athletic director asked me because I’m an alumnus of that school. So I speak to schools all the time. But no, there’s nothing going on.”
Babers’ contract, which has a buyout of $200,000 after today, says that he must have permission from Director of Athletics Chris Kingston to speak with other schools.
“Per his contract, he has my permission to talk to other schools,” Kingston told the Sentinel-Tribune in the text message. "I hope he stays. He has done a tremendous job leading us to December, and preparing for the future."
Babers’ contract states that the director of intercollegiate athletics shall not unreasonably withhold permission for Babers to talk with other schools.
According to a source familiar with the meeting, Babers was up front with his players Sunday night and at Monday’s practice, reassuring them that he wants to see Bowling Green through its game Friday night, and that he has not verbally agreed to coach anywhere other than Bowling Green past Friday.
Babers’ message was similar to what he told the media Monday morning.
“Sure, I’m worried about what’s written in the press,” Babers said. “I’m worried because I want to make sure it’s all accurate and not inaccurate. But when it comes to our football family, our Ohana, our La Familia, all I have to do is call. I will not lie to those people. I will not lie to my guys. And they know when I tell them something, it’s gospel. So everybody else can speculate, and they can write and say the things they want to do.
“When I talked to the senior leadership, and when I talked to those young men last night, and I told them what I told them, the story was done.
“I’ve turned down jobs because I want to play in the MAC championship game,” he continued. “I’ve lost jobs because I told them that I will play in the MAC championship game. I’m not going to trade what I want most for something in the moment. You know what I want most? Have you figured it out yet? I want to play in the MAC championship game.”
Babers did leave the door open to what his future holds after Friday’s game. When asked if his mindset changes about other jobs following the game he said, “Sure it does. How did you like honesty? There you go.”