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O'Leary Reportedly Notre Dame's Pick

December 09, 2001|Times Wire Services

Notre Dame appears to have found its man to replace the fired Bob Davie as football coach.

Georgia Tech's George O'Leary, 55, reportedly has agreed in principle to become the Fighting Irish's coach. An official announcement could come within two days, according to an ESPN report.

New England Cable News reported Saturday night that Notre Dame had offered the job to O'Leary. Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White was not available for comment. White reportedly was in Atlanta on Saturday.

"We've stuck to this all week. Regardless of what comments people have made, Kevin said we won't confirm, deny or discuss any of them. The next time there is something official from him is when we are ready to announce a coach," John Heisler, Notre Dame's associate athletic director, told the Associated Press.

O'Leary is 52-33 in seven season at Georgia Tech, including a disappointing 7-5 record this season.

The Yellow Jackets, who began the season with bowl championship series aspirations, will play Stanford on Dec. 27 in the Seattle Bowl.

The appointment of O'Leary would cap a whirlwind week of speculation that swept through the professional and college coaching ranks.

Jacksonville Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin, who previously coached at Boston College, was interested but was not contacted.

Oakland's Jon Gruden and San Francisco's Steve Mariucci's each issued midweek statements saying they were not interested in the opening.

Stanford Coach Tyrone Willingham reportedly was on Notre Dame's short list, as was Oregon's Mike Bellotti, who went as far to say that he met with White but indicated that he was not interested in the job.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops also issued a statement that he was not interested in coaching the Irish.

O'Leary, twice named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, reportedly has a five-year rollover contract that pays him $1.2 million annually.

The ESPN report said that although some contractual hurdles remained, O'Leary and Notre Dame had agreed to the framework of the deal.

The report indicated that O'Leary, who could not be reached for comment, planned to address his team this morning of his decision to take the job.

Georgia Tech Athletic Director Dave Braine could not be reached for comment.

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