For the second time in a year, another university is looking at Southern football coach Dawson Odums as a candidate for its vacant head coaching position.
Last season, it was North Carolina Central that interviewed Odums, who turned down his alma mater before signing a new contract with the Jaguars.
On Friday, Bethune-Cookman received permission from Southern Athletic Director William Broussard to talk to Odums, who has taken the Jaguars to consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference championship games, winning the 2013 title and losing to Alcorn State 38-24 two weeks ago.
The Wildcats are searching for a replacement for Brian Jenkins, who resigned to become head coach at Alabama State, one of Southern’s fellow SWAC members, on Wednesday.
Bethune-Cookman seems to have a greater sense of urgency about filling the opening than Odums does. Wildcats Athletic Director Lynn Thompson told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on Wednesday that he planned to fill the position quickly.
“We have focused in on a few people who have what we feel it takes to be our next head coach,” Thompson told the paper. “This is not a cattle call. ...
“We are moving rapidly. It could be within the next 48 or 72 hours. Within the week, Bethune-Cookman will have a new head coach on board and working.”
Odums, meanwhile, was Christmas shopping in Baton Rouge on Friday night when contacted by The Advocate. He said he has not scheduled an interview with the Wildcats, with whom he was defensive line coach from 2005-07.
“I can’t disclose details of the conversation (with B-CU),” Odums said. “Either I or my agent will talk with my A.D.”
Odums’ agent, Burton Rocks, said the “process is continuing.”
Broussard declined comment beyond confirming that he had given the Wildcats permission Friday morning.
B-CU was paying Jenkins $265,000 per year after he received a raise two years ago when he was a finalist for the Southern job before the Jaguars promoted Odums from interim coach to head coach.
After leading Southern to its first SWAC championship in 10 years in 2013, Odums signed a four-year contract that included a 25-percent pay raise to $175,000 per year.
B-CU, which finished second between Alcorn State and Southern in the final Sheridan poll last week, won four Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships and earned three FCS playoff bids in Jenkins’ five seasons. His record was 46-14, including 34-6 in the MEAC.
Thompson told the News-Journal that he had three candidates, “plus a wild card.” The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported that Bethune-Cookman had received permission to speak with Tennessee State coach Rod Reed, but Reed and TSU agreed to an extension Friday night.
At least one of the candidates is a current Wildcats assistant coach, and all of the candidates have ties to B-CU, Thompson said.
The website www.FootballScoop.com identified assistant head coach Terry Sims as a member of Jenkins’ former staff that is a candidate to succeed him. It also named Odums, UCF running backs coach Danny Barrett and Miami (Ohio) running backs coach Autry Denson.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.