Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Decision disappointing, leaves coach asking why

Cites graduation of players as plus

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Rick Minter lost his job Monday, but he went out with his own say.

Hours after the University of Cincinnati football coach was informed that his services were no longer needed, Minter conducted an emotional press conference that brought him near tears as he recounted the way his 10-year career at UC ended.

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"Am I leaving with the terms I wished? No, absolutely not," Minter said during a 14-minute press conference. "Disappointed in the choice. Disappointed in the decision. Disappointed in not being told the exact, definite reasons why, but I reserve that that's their decision. ... It makes people a little more skeptical when they say if you do certain things right, you'll be OK. That's not exactly true.

"We've graduated our student-athletes here in very high numbers, in the top 15 percent in the country. Way, way unheard of before I got here. But that doesn't matter. You've got to win. They may tell you, you need to graduate your players, but the reality is you've got to win big behind that. I'm upset and I'm disappointed. I'm not bitter at any individual. Cincinnati has been good to me and my family."

UC football coach Rick Minter speaks to members of the press after being relieved of his position Monday.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
Minter was offered an administrative position with the University, but said he hadn't decided whether or not he would accept it. UC athletic director Bob Goin said the school will honor Minter's remaining contract, which is scheduled to pay him a base salary of $155,000 for the next three years.

Minter coached UC to bowl games in four of the last six years, but never won more than eight games in a season. He attributed part of UC's marginal success to the challenges of recruiting against Big Ten and Mid-American Conference programs in the area.

"This is a hard job," Minter said. "I'll be the first to tell you or the next guy, it's a hard job. Never had to say that publicly, but it's always out there. It's a difficult place. It's a metro school in the heart of the Big Ten. As big of a thorn in our side has always been the (Mid-American) Conference, bless their hearts. Now that I'm no longer the coach at UC, I can wish (Miami University coach) Terry Hoeppner great success."

Minter met briefly with the players Monday afternoon before meeting with the press.

"What could I tell them?" he said. "I told them my heart goes out to them."


E-mail ddow@enquirer.com

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