News about Tulane’s football future broke out of North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, but it had nothing to do with athletic director Troy Dannen’s tight-lipped search for a coach.
Wake Forest released its nonconference schedule, revealing a Thursday night season opener against Tulane on Sept. 1 in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
It will be the fourth consecutive year Tulane has started on a Thursday following games against Duke in 2014, Tulsa in 2013 and Jackson State in 2012.
On paper, Tulane’s new coach will face a much easier schedule outside of the American Athletic Conference than the recently fired Curtis Johnson did in the last two years. The Wave also will host to Southern on Sept. 10 and travel to Massachusetts on Oct. 1 (the matchup was added by outgoing athletic director Rick Dickson after Tualne canceled a game at Mississippi State). Tulane will also host Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 8.
The combined 2015 record of Tulane’s three 2016 FBS nonconference opponents is 10-26.
Louisiana-Lafayette finished 4-8, while Wake Forest and UMass went 3-9. Southern was 6-5, but the Wave never has lost to an FCS team.
Johnson faced five Power Five conference teams in the past two years and lost in lopsided fashion to all of them.
The identity of Johnson’s successor was no clearer Thursday night than it was a day earlier, when sources confirmed a report by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com that Dannen was interviewing two candidates Wednesday and three Thursday, all in New York.
Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz was scheduled to talk to Dannen on Thursday.
Other names that have surfaced include Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
The Advocate could not confirm Dannen had conducted interviews with any of them.
The News-Star in Monroe reported that Lashlee interviewed for the open Louisiana-Monroe job but was not a finalist.
When Dannen was introduced as Tulane’s new athletic director last Friday, he emphasized that coaches who won at high-end academic institutions usually had previous head coaching experience, but he did not rule out hiring a hot-shot assistant.