Miami Coaching Job Sparks Interest

Wednesday, January 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — There seems to be plenty of interest in Miami's head coaching position.

Athletic director Paul Dee responded to dozens of phone messages, faxes, and e-mails Tuesday, one day after the Hurricanes lost coach Butch Davis to the Cleveland Browns.

``There's always a group of people you have in mind,'' Dee said. ``But you never know where interest may come from. We've had some pretty interesting inquires, let me put it that way.''

Though Dee would not reveal any of the interested parties, he said interviews could begin as early as Wednesday.

``We're getting started,'' he said. ``We've got our legs down, we dusted off the rule book — the how-to, the idiot's guide to hiring coaches.''

Some of the coaches thought to be on Dee's list include: Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, former Georgia coach Jim Donnan, Colorado State's Sonny Lubick and Marc Trestman, a former Miami assistant who spent the last three years as the Arizona Cardinals' offensive coordinator.

Alvarez might be Miami's No. 1 choice.

He interviewed for the job in 1995, but Miami hired Davis instead. Since then, Alvarez has led the Badgers to two Rose Bowl berths. In addition, Donna Shalala, who will become Miami's president this summer, was Wisconsin's chancellor when the Badgers hired Alvarez to rebuild the program in 1990.

``He is a terrific coach; he's done a lot of good things,'' Dee said. ``Usually, when you think of the Big Ten, you think of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. But they've become a player in that conference, and coach Alvarez has done an outstanding job there.

``Whether he would be the person that we would turn to is something we would want to take a look at.''

Dee scoffed at the notion of bringing back retired coach Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Hurricanes from 1984-88 before leaving for the Dallas Cowboys. Two other possible replacements also were dismissed Tuesday.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said he has no interest in coaching at Miami, where he was an assistant during 1986-93. ``I've got a better job than that now,'' Tuberville said.

And former Auburn coach Terry Bowden was not among the 60 or more calls Dee has received in two days.

``We haven't (talked) and I don't know that we would at this point,'' Dee said, sounding like he might have a short list in place.

Like years past, Dee said he may seek advice from some of the nation's premier coaches. Dee talked to Bobby Bowden, Lou Holtz, and Joe Paterno before hiring Davis.

He did the same thing last year when basketball coach Leonard Hamilton left Miami for the Washington Wizards. Dee consulted Rick Pitino before hiring Tulane's Perry Clark.

Bowden, Holtz, and Paterno may get calls again.

``Certainly they're still the people that are the senior people in the profession and we probably will talk to them if it's possible. They are recruiting now,'' Dee said.

Dee said he would like to have a coach in place before next Wednesday's national signing day. But he also will not rush to hire someone without an extensive search.

The search could end down the hall at offensive coordinator Larry Coker's office. Coker was named interim coach Monday but probably would join Davis in Cleveland if not given the head coaching job at Miami.

After weeks of repeatedly insisting that he would stay at Miami, Davis signed a five-year contract with the Browns.

``There's a little bit of sadness in the sense that there's some great kids in the program,'' Davis said. ``But that program will survive. They've gone through this transition. There will be another good coach. It's a great university with great academics. There's not a good time to ever to make a change. You have to make the change when the change is right to make.

``They'll be one of the most exciting, best teams in college football next season, and they will replace Butch Davis.''