News on Sunday of the death of Jim Carlen, who coached college football at three widely known schools, brings to mind one of those twist-of-fate stories concerning who gets hired where.
After the 1969 season, Texas Tech began searching for a new football coach. The Red Raiders zeroed in on two candidates — one a sitting head coach and one a top assistant.
Carlen was the head coach. He was at West Virginia at the time. The assistant was Tom Osborne, who Bob Devaney was trying to keep at Nebraska as his probable successor.
Osborne went to Lubbock, Texas, to interview after Nebraska smashed Georgia in the Sun Bowl to cap the 1969 season.
Texas Tech decided to go with Carlen, who went 37-20-2 in five seasons and twice was voted Southwest Conference coach of the year before leaving for South Carolina in 1975 as coach and athletic director.
As for Osborne, who often has said he was quite interested in the Tech job? Things worked out pretty well for him and Nebraska.