TCU’s Franchione Talks to Alabama
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Alabama athletic director Mal Moore left Texas not knowing if he would fill the Crimson Tide’s coaching vacancy with Texas Christian coach Dennis Franchione.
While Franchione wouldn’t confirm Thursday night that he was offered the Alabama job, he said he hoped to have everything straightened out by the weekend. He did not go back to Tuscaloosa, Ala., with Moore.
``We just talked,″ Franchione told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. ``I hope to have all of this over with before the weekend.″
The Crimson Tide have offered Franchione $1.2 million to $1.4 million a year for at least five years, sources said in Friday’s newspaper.
After returning to Alabama on Thursday night, Moore told WBMA-TV of Birmingham that talks went well and he expected a response from Franchione on Friday.
Alabama is looking to replace Mike DuBose, whose resignation took effect at the end of an 3-8 season in which the team started ranked No. 3. Miami’s Butch Davis and Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer already have rejected the job.
Alabama also is reportedly pursuing Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris, and longtime Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews has openly campaigned to be a candidate.
Franchione has taken the 1-10 team he inherited at TCU three years ago and posted three straight winning seasons, reaching a bowl each time. This year’s team is 10-1, ranked No. 13 and headed to the Mobile Alabama Bowl to play Southern Mississippi on Dec. 20.
Sources told the newspaper that a list of Franchione’s potential successors circulated within the Texas Christian athletic department includes TCU assistants Gary Patterson _ who appears to be players’ top choice _ and Mike Schultz.
The Horned Frogs’ first practice for the bowl was cut short Thursday. As the team huddled after a 75-minute practice, Franchione told of his plans to talk to Moore, prompting some players to chant ``Stay Fran Stay.″
The coach also told his players he expected a better effort from them when they practiced again Friday, indicating then he planned to be there as well.
Franchione rejected Missouri, where his close friend Mike Alden is the athletic director. His name has also been linked to several other jobs, including Arizona State, one of four schools that would only have a reduced buyout of the coach’s current contract.
Alabama is not among those four schools, and would reportedly have to pay $1 million to buy out Franchione’s TCU contract, which runs through 2005.
Before meeting with Moore, Franchione told The Associated Press he was intrigued by the opportunity.
``You know how much I enjoy the tradition of college football,″ Franchione said. ``I want to listen to what the University of Alabama has to say.″
Franchione views Alabama as one of those traditional programs and didn’t seem too concerned about the recent problems and a possible NCAA inquiry into the Crimson Tide.
If Franchione doesn’t go to Alabama, he’ll have a new contract at TCU.
TCU athletic director Eric Hyman and Franchione both said there have been discussions about a new contract, but no agreement has been reached. The current deal was negotiated after the 1998 season, when the Horned Frogs beat Southern California in the Sun Bowl after the coach’s first season.
The new proposal reportedly includes a substantial raise from about $700,000 to $1 million per year. His contract would also be extended two more years, through 2007.