Thursday, December 18, 2003

LSU, OSU assistants top candidates for UC job



By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Louisiana State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio have emerged as the leading candidates to replace Rick Minter as the University of Cincinnati's head football coach.

But UC athletic director Bob Goin said Wednesday night that other candidates are still being considered.

He said no one has been offered the job and that he's not close to offering it to anyone.

"There's a lot of good interest," Goin said. "Every day it changes."

It appears that former Nebraska coach Frank Solich is no longer a serious candidate.

Goin confirmed that he has flown to Baton Rouge to talk to Fisher, who was unable to fly to Cincinnati because he's preparing the Tigers for the Jan. 4 national championship game against Oklahoma.

"He's really strong, a good coach," Goin said.

Fisher, 38, would seem to be a good fit for the Bearcats program. He has ties to UC, having worked there as offensive coordinator in 1999 under Minter.

He has been the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at LSU since leaving UC after the 1999 season.

Last season, he guided the Tigers offense to an average of 350 yards and 25 points a game. LSU scored 30 or more points seven times.

Goin would not characterize his talks with Fisher as an interview.

"It was more of an interest-level deal," Goin said. "I think there's interest."

Dantonio is in his third season as Ohio State's defensive coordinator. In his first at Ohio State, the Buckeyes ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in passing defense and scoring defense. The Buckeyes' defense was a major reason they won the national championship last season.

Both coaches are still involved in preparing for bowl games, with Ohio State scheduled to play in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.

Goin said he's willing to wait to find the right person for the job. "If it takes until after the BCS games, that's what we'll do," he said.

E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com



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