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Tommy Bowden interested in vacant West Virginia job


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Like father, like son.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia turned to the task of finding a new football coach Monday, and the Mountaineers already have at least one very interested candidate -- Terry Bowden.

Bowden, 52, who grew up in Morgantown, has been out of coaching since quitting at Auburn during the 1998 season. His hunger for coaching has been regenerated in recent years and has made it known he would like to return to West Virginia, his alma mater.

"I made a full commitment to get back into coaching almost two years ago. Coming home to West Virginia would obviously be the dream job for me," Bowden, a college football analyst on radio and the Internet, said in a statement released by his publicist.

When reached at his home Monday in Orlando, Fla., Bowden wouldn't say whether he's been in contact with the Mountaineers since Sunday, when Rich Rodriguez was named coach at Michigan.

"Anytime you've been involved with analyzing football, you talk all the time. When you're involved as a coach, you don't," Bowden said. "I wouldn't want to talk about anybody I've talked to.

"Obviously I've got a lot of friends there. I've had a lot of well-wishers call, and that's about it. That's all I'd like to comment. My statement's about all I can give."

Bowden's father, Bobby, coached the Mountaineers from 1970-75, going 42-26 before leaving for Florida State.

Terry Bowden lettered at WVU under coach Frank Cignetti as a running back in the 1977-78 seasons.

Like Rodriguez, Bowden was the nation's youngest head coach when he took his first job at NAIA Salem in 1983, five years before Rodriguez held a one-year stint there. Bowden won two West Virginia Conference championships in 1984 and 1985 and coached at Samford from 1987 to 1990, building the Bulldogs into a top Division III and I-AA program before taking over at Auburn in 1993.

His first two Auburn teams won 20 straight games, including an 11-0 season in 1993 when the Tigers were already on probation for violations before his arrival. He compiled 47 wins over six seasons before resigning on Oct. 23, 1998, after learning he was to be fired at the end of the season following the team's 1-4 start.

Bowden's brother, Clemson coach Tommy, had hired Rodriguez as his offensive coordinator at Tulane in 1997. Rodriguez followed Tommy Bowden to Clemson in 1999.

Another coach who is interested in West Virginia is Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, said his agent, Bob Lattinville, although he said no contact has been made with the Mountaineers.

Also being mentioned is Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, a Clarksburg native who played for Terry Bowden at Salem and was on Bowden's staff at Auburn along with Tommy Bowden.

But Fisher has a $2.5 million buyout clause in his contract if he leaves Florida State before Jan. 9, 2011. FSU officials on Dec. 10 announced Fisher had agreed to become Florida State's "head coach-in-waiting," but the contracts were not signed until Friday.

WVU has no provision for a football search committee similar to its process for hiring a president last year, said Steve Goodwin, chairman of the WVU Board of Governors.

"The football coach works for the athletic director and will be hired by the athletic director," Goodwin said Monday.

However, WVU President Mike Garrison is sure to be involved.

"I guarantee it. He's ultimately responsible," Goodwin said.

New football coaches usually aren't hired right away at major colleges. Last year, 21 FBS schools with coaching vacancies took an average of about 15 days to hire a replacement. Five of the vacancies were filled in a week or less.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong didn't immediately return a telephone message Monday.

In addition to hiring a new coach, Pastilong also must name someone to lead No. 11 West Virginia (10-2) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 against No. 3 Oklahoma (11-2).

It won't be offensive coordinator Calvin Magee or secondary coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson. Rodriguez introduced them at his Michigan news conference.

Rodriguez said he wouldn't coach the Mountaineers in the bowl because he didn't want to be a distraction.

"The attention should be on the team. But I have not talked to West Virginia University about that," he said.

Leaving was distraction enough in a state whose fans once embraced their homegrown coach but now label him as a traitor.

One caller even used a holiday spin, inserting a "g" and an "n" into Rodriguez's first name to spell "Grinch."

Rodriguez's $4 million buyout clause in his West Virginia contract still must be worked out. When Michigan lured basketball coach John Beilein away from West Virginia last April, his contract had a $2.5 million buyout clause. Under an agreement with West Virginia, Beilein agreed to pay $1.5 million to the WVU Foundation.

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Didn't realize that RR's buyout clause was so high, and if I were WVU, I would not budge because Michigan will pay for it if they want RR that badly. I'd be p.o.-ed about the fact that UMich has come to Morgantown twice and stolen our head coaches.

In any event, I think Terry Bowden is a very attractive candidate for the head coach position. He'll be more successful at WVU than he could've ever been in the SEC and he won't have to directly recruit against his father and brother in the south (although he'll be looking to get a handful of Florida kids every season).

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LawDawg (12/17/2007)
Didn't realize that RR's buyout clause was so high, and if I were WVU, I would not budge because Michigan will pay for it if they want RR that badly. I'd be p.o.-ed about the fact that UMich has come to Morgantown twice and stolen our head coaches.

In any event, I think Terry Bowden is a very attractive candidate for the head coach position. He'll be more successful at WVU than he could've ever been in the SEC and he won't have to directly recruit against his father and brother in the south (although he'll be looking to get a handful of Florida kids every season).

Well RR will have to pay a portion of his own buyout just like Beilein had to pay 1.5 million of his 2.5 million buyout. The funny thing was one reason Beilein left WVU was to get away from RR because they didn't get along at all. Now he is stuck with him.. LOL that should be fun.

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freakyfalcon (12/17/2007)
Headshot (12/17/2007)
SacFalcFan (12/17/2007)
your thread title is incorrect.. you have the wrong bowden mentioned.

Yea I know, I can't edit my thread title though:(

Yeah I was about to say "Welcome AJ Harmon to the Dawgnation" if Terry Bowden was thinking about bolting to WVU.

Ok, again.....once and for all:

Terry Bowden - Older brother, former Auburn HC, WVU alumn & possible WVU HC candidate

Tommy Bowden - Younger brother, current Clemson HC, not a WVU HC candidate

:);)

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