Jack Del Rio has has been mentioned but he says he's not interested:
Moore has 'no deadline’ to hire coach
By Cecil Hurt
TUSCALOOSA | Although rumors continue to swirl around the vacant head football coaching position at the University of Alabama, UA director of athletics Mal Moore declined to speculate on any possible timetable on Wednesday night.
“There is no deadline," Moore told The Tuscaloosa News. He then declined to comment on any further speculation concerning candidates or a timetable for the search.
Three candidates -- Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, Nick Saban of the Miami Dolphins and Rich Rodriguez of West Virginia -- continue to attract the most attention, even though all three have indicated that they are happy with their current position.
Spurrier has not commented since he issued the following statement through the South Carolina Sports Information Office on Tuesday.
“I have no intention of leaving South Carolina," Spurrier said in the statement. “It’s always flattering when a South Carolina coach is rumored for these big-time programs. This one will die down in two or three days, too."
Speculation has not died down, however, although there has been no confirmation of reports that UA officials have been in contact with Spurrier.
A host of other candidates have been speculatively linked to the job.
At least two candidates, whose names have not been prominently mentioned even in the flurry of speculation, denied interest on Wednesday.
Jack Del Rio, the head coach of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, was one of those candidates.
“Let me put it to bed," Del Rio told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I’m very happy with the work that we have here in Jacksonville. I love working for [owner] Wayne Weaver and I’m not interested."
Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton also issued a statement, saying that UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, an Alabama graduate, had not been contacted.
Although Crimson Tide supporters have been anxious for a new coach since the announcement of Mike Shula’s/sdismissal on Monday, it is not unusual for coaching searches to last far longer.
In 2002, the Crimson Tide searched for two weeks after the Dec. 5 departure of head coach Dennis Franchione until the Dec. 19 hiring of Mike Price. In 2000, UA announced on Oct. 30 that head coach Mike DuBose would not be retained, and did not name a new coach until Franchione was announced on Dec. 4.
Recent searches at other schools have also lasted for several days. In 2004, Notre Dame went 11 days between the firing of Tyrone Willingham and the hiring of Charlie Weis.
Perhaps the most prominent example in recent years of an extended search occurred at Nebraska, when Frank Solich was fired on Nov. 29, 2003, and his replacement, Bill Callahan, was not named until Jan. 9, 2004, because of NFL considerations.
IN OTHER news related to the UA coaching search, the Black Coaches Association was still awaiting a response Wednesday from Alabama officials to a letter regarding potential black candidates to replace Shula.
Floyd Keith, the group’s executive director, said he sent a general list of black coaches to Alabama on Monday seeking feedback on the university’s criteria in order to narrow the list down.
“I’m still waiting to hear from the athletic director and/or the president," Keith said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He said he had received responses to similar requests from officials at Miami, North Carolina State and Tulane -- schools also seeking a new coach.
“I’ve spoken to all of those folks. They [the firings] all happened about the same time," Keith said.
The university fired Shula late Sunday night, the same day North Carolina State dismissed Chuck Amato. Tulane fired Chris Scelfo on Tuesday and Miami fired Larry Coker last Friday.
“The University of Alabama will hire the best coach it can find," Alabama athletics spokesman Doug Walker said Wednesday. “To do otherwise would be a great disservice to the student-athletes involved."
The Crimson Tide drew fire from civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson four years ago after the university hired Shula instead of runner-up Sylvester Croom, who is black. Both were longtime NFL assistants who played for Alabama.
Croom was hired at Missis-sippi State about six months later, becoming the Southeast-ern Conference’s first black head football coach.
Keith said his organization wants an “inclusive and diverse search process" and didn’t have a beef with Alabama over that decision.
“Their issue was they chose to hire Shula and didn’t hire Croom," he said. “They inter-viewed Croom and we were happy with that. I never had an issue with Shula.
“We don’t treat this job any differently than the other 12 that are open now," he added.
The executive director of a Birmingham organization geared toward improving public schools, however, urged Ala-bama athletic director Mal Moore to hire a black coach.
“The time is now and the place is right for the University of Alabama to earnestly con-sider and hire an African-American head football coach," said Ronald E. Jackson of Citi-zens for Better Schools. He is a 1972 Alabama graduate.
None of the candidates prominently mentioned in con-nection with the Alabama job are black. But Moore has not released any of the names un-der consideration.
Alabama trustee Finis St. Johns said he was not familiar with the BCA’s letter. He reiter-ated Moore’s statement that a hire could take some time.
“I don’t expect it to be this week or any day now," said St. John, chairman of the trustees athletic committee.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Reach Cecil Hurt at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0225