Keenan Bailey has emerged as a potential candidate for the offensive coordinator vacancy at East Carolina.
According to a report from Brad Crawford of 247Sports, Bailey interviewed with Pirates head coach Mike Houston this week and is considered one of three finalists to become the program's offensive coordinator, a position left vacant after Houston and East Carolina moved on from Donnie Kirkpatrick on Nov. 25.
Bailey arrived at Ohio State in 2016 and spent his first seven years in the program as an offensive intern (2016-18), quality control coach (2019-21) and special assistant to Ryan Day (2022). This past offseason, Day promoted Bailey to tight ends coach – his first full-time coaching position – after Kevin Wilson accepted a head coaching position at Tulsa.
"Keenan is an excellent coach," Day said when he promoted Bailey. "He's a really sharp young man who's going to do unbelievable things in his career. And the relationships he's built over time with former players, current players, recruits and family have been excellent. He's got a very bright future ahead of him."
The Buckeyes' tight end room has made plenty of plays under Bailey in 2023. In the regular season, Cade Stover collected 41 receptions for 576 yards – the third-most ever in a single season for an Ohio State tight end – and five touchdowns, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as the conference's Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year honoree. Gee Scott Jr. also had a career-best season as a pass-catcher, recording nine catches for 62 yards and one score.
According to Crawford, interviews at East Carolina are expected to conclude this week with a hire expected in the near future. Crawford reported that the Pirates want to have a play-caller in place to pursue a quarterback and other offensive weapons in the transfer portal following recent departures, including the team's top signal-caller in 2023, Mason Garcia.
Bailey is the second Ohio State assistant who reportedly interviewed for a vacant coaching position this week. On Wednesday, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach, Bruce Feldman and Chris Vannini reported that Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is among the candidates to become Duke's next head coach, though that search reportedly remains “in the early stages.” Knowles was previously the Blue Devils' defensive coordinator from 2010-17.
Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye had also been viewed as a potential candidate for the head coaching job at Indiana, but that vacancy was filled Thursday when the Hoosiers hired James Madison’s Curt Cignetti.