North Carolina assistant now expected to be North Texas choice

North Carolina assistant Seth Littrell is a finalist for the head coaching job at North Texas.
North Carolina assistant Seth Littrell is a finalist for the head coaching job at North Texas. AP

TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and North Carolina assistant Seth Littrell are at the center of a debate over who will be the next head football coach at North Texas, according to people familiar with the situation.

A person familiar with the thinking at UNT said Littrell would be the choice. Insiders believe that the Tar Heels want to wait on Littrell’s announcement until after Saturday’s ACC championship game against Clemson.

That timeline perhaps led to a rise of confusing reports that had sources in Fort Worth believing Meacham was headed to North Texas.

Meanwhile, TCU’s other co-offensive coordinator, Sonny Cumbie, has been linked to Texas coach Charlie Strong, who is expected to seek a makeover of the Longhorns’ offense following a second straight disappointing season.

A source, asked if TCU would be able to keep Cumbie from UT, said, “Yes.” But no decisions about a promotion or increase in pay for Cumbie have been made.

TCU officials did not answer requests for comment.

Meacham and Cumbie teamed to install the Air Raid offense at TCU two years ago, hired by coach Gary Patterson following two stalled seasons for the Horned Frogs in their first two years in the Big 12.

With Cumbie also serving as quarterbacks coach, Trevone Boykin went from emergency quarterback as a sophomore to full-time quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate as a junior, breaking numerous school records in two years while the Horned Frogs went 22-3.

Meacham also coached the inside receivers, and despite losing Deante’ Gray to a knee injury in the spring and veteran Ty Slanina mid-season, the Horned Frogs continued to post a top-five offense.

KaVontae Turpin set a Big 12 freshman record with four touchdown catches in a game this season, and running back Shaun Nixon converted to slot receiver and finished third on the team in receptions.

Both coaches were hired in Fort Worth on two-year contracts, a TCU source said.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram