Almost two dozen college head-coaching jobs have come open since October and Rick Neuheisel hasn't even gotten an interview. The former Washington coach was fired in June 2003...
Almost two dozen college head-coaching jobs have come open since October and Rick Neuheisel hasn’t even gotten an interview.
The former Washington coach was fired in June 2003 after it was learned he bet in a college-basketball pool. The NCAA investigated both Neuheisel and the Huskies’ football program but did not penalize the coach.
Now he wants back in the coaching business. But unlike other coaches felled by scandal such as UTEP’s Mike Price and Central Florida’s George O’Leary, the doors have not opened for Neuheisel.
“It has tarnished me and made it difficult for me to get an interview in the open marketplace,” Neuheisel told The Associated Press.
Neuheisel has sued Washington for wrongful termination. A trial is set to begin Jan. 24.
“I’m eager for it to begin and for the facts to come out,” he said.
The university argues that Neuheisel broke his contract by being dishonest.
Neuheisel also was frustrated by how long it took the NCAA to finally make a decision on his case.
“It was 504 days, but I wasn’t really counting,” he said. “I don’t mean to convey anything by that except that’s a long time to be in limbo.”
Neuheisel’s name often gets tossed around when jobs come open, but he says he hasn’t been a candidate for any openings.
“It hasn’t been for lack of effort,” he said.
It’s hard to argue with Neuheisel’s record. He is 66-30 in eight seasons with Colorado and Washington. After four seasons with the Buffaloes, he was wooed to Washington. Neuheisel was 33-16 at UW with a Rose Bowl victory.
Neuheisel said one of two things needs to happen for him to get another shot as a college head coach.
“An athletic director or a president or chancellor at a university has to be willing to sit down and talk to me and find out what took place,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, I’ll have to go through the legal process and get the story out there on the table.”
Maybe the closest thing Neuheisel has had to an interview came after Mississippi fired coach David Cutcliffe. Ole Miss AD Pete Boone said he had two telephone conversations with Neuheisel about the coaching vacancy.
Of the 21 jobs that have come open this season, only the two latest — at Syracuse and LSU — have not been filled. Many of the coaches hired have far fewer credentials than Neuheisel.
“It’s extremely frustrating. I’ll leave it at that,” he said.
Neuheisel spent this season working as an analyst for College Sports Television. His contract is up next week.
• Southeastern Louisiana’s Hal Mumme was hired as coach by New Mexico State. NMSU fired Tony Samuel last month after a 5-6 season. Samuel went 34-57 in eight years. Mumme is 97-64-1 in 14 seasons and has taken teams to the postseason seven times. He was 12-11 in two seasons at Southeastern Louisiana, including 7-4 this season. Mumme was 20-26 in four years at Kentucky.