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RICHARDS: Riley leaning toward Alabama job

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Darryl Richards

 
   
 
Former football player and current New Orleans Saints assistant coach Mike Riley is leaning toward returning to his alma mater, a source close to the negotiations said Wednesday. Riley, who played for Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant as a defensive back in the early 1970s, was offered the job by athletic director Mal Moore, The Birmingham News and The Tuscaloosa News reported in Thursday's editions. Both reports, quoting anonymous sources, said Riley would inform Moore of his decision Thursday. Riley is taking a very close look at an program that was hit hard by NCAA sanctions this year and could be in for more sanctions if recent testimony in a court case is substantiated. Former coach Dennis Franchione cited the possibility of more sanctions as one reason why he left Tuscaloosa for last week. Riley is also trying to decide if his future is in college football or the NFL. If Riley takes the job, may turn to coach Mike Price. Price said Tuesday that he hadn't heard from officials but didn't close the door on leaving Pullman for another position. athletic director Jim Sterk said officials have not asked for permission to speak to Price and he reiterated that Price signed a new contract in September. "I don't expect Mike to be going anywhere," Sterk said Wednesday. "I would really be surprised." Another possibility may be Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, who quarterbacked to a Pac-10 title and a Rose Bowl appearance in 1983. Neuheisel said Monday that he didn't expect to hear from officials but that could change. Neuheisel may have to take a considerable pay cut to live in a place with a higher cost of living. Neuheisel is one of the highest-paid coaches in the country, earning $1.5 million a year. may pay a new coach up to $1 million a year. Other possibilities at include 's Walt Harris, 's June Jones, coach Ron Turner, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and 's Dan Hawkins. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tagged: Illinois, Boise State, Washington State, UCLA, Alabama, Texas A&M

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