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Meyer to meet with Notre Dame

Discussion planned today on Ute coach changing jobs

Published: Thursday, Dec. 2 2004 9:31 a.m. MST

Urban Meyer's future is being discussed at the University of Utah and will be Thursday in a meeting between Meyer and Notre Dame officials.
The New York Times reported late Wednesday that the Ute head football coach will meet with Notre Dame officials to discuss taking the open Notre Dame gridiron position.
The Times' source said that if Meyer were hired by the Irish he still would like to coach Utah in its bowl game, which is expected to be the Fiesta Bowl. That decision would be made by Utah officials.
"We've had other conversations and we'll continue to do so," said Utah athletic director Chris Hill, who declined comment on reports that the Utes may lose their football coach.
"All I can tell you is that Urban has done a great job at Utah. I realize people are going to be interested and we'll do everything we can to keep him," said Hill. "And I never put myself in a position to confirm or deny rumors from other schools. A response would come from those parties involved. That's all I can tell you."
Wednesday afternoon, Meyer delivered a "no comment" on the situation.
Lou Holtz and Bob Davie, his former bosses at Notre Dame, have been less guarded in their remarks. Each spoke with Meyer over the weekend, but not specifically about coaching the Irish.
"He would be a great fit for Notre Dame," Holtz told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
Davie, an ESPN analyst, said if he speaks to Meyer again he'll advise him to look closely at the schedule.
"The bottom line, go somewhere or stay where you are now if it's the place that gives you the best opportunity to win football games," Davie said in a SportsCenter segment.
Speculation, though, is strong that Notre Dame officials want Meyer to replace the fired Tyrone Willingham as head coach of the Fighting Irish. A CBS Sportsline columnist has indicated that a deal already may have been reached. The report, however, has yet to be verified.
"If something definitive happens then I'd be willing to comment on it. Right now, things are just out there as rumors and speculation," said Hill. "I don't want to comment on other jobs and speculate on that. We've got a great job here at the university. It's a great institution. We've got great facilities and I think we've got a great future."
Meyer's unpredictable future has already proven costly.
Prize recruit Josh Portis, a highly touted prep quarterback out of Woodland Hills, Calif., has reportedly withdrawn his commitment to sign with Utah. He cited an inability to get a straight answer from Meyer concerning the coach's future with the Utes as the reason for his decision.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to coach Meyer yet," Portis explained to the recruiting-based Web site Rivals.com. "They haven't really returned my calls."
As of late Tuesday, Portis indicated that he had not spoken with Meyer since Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder, who has 4.57 speed in the 40, now lists Kansas State, Maryland, Louisiana State, Oregon and Washington as his top choices.
CBS Sportsline said that Portis plans to enroll in college mid-semester and must make a final decision in the next two weeks.

OTHER COACHES: Meyer said hiring good people is something he's done very well. He's not surprised that assistants Kyle Whittingham and Mike Sanford are being considered for vacancies at BYU and UNLV, respectively.
"I think when you hire coordinators, you hire people who can become head coaches. I think, without question, Kyle Whittingham is going to be a terrific head coach, and I think Mike Sanford is going to be a terrific head coach," said Meyer. "I think down the road I have other coaches on our staff that, as they move up the ranks, will be head coaches."

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes are scheduled to practice today at the Spence Eccles Field House . . . Quarterback Alex Smith has been named the Football Academic All-American of the Year by ESPN The Magazine and College Sports Information Directors of America. Smith is a finalist for the Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp and Cingular Wireless/ABC Sports Player of the Year awards . . . Safety Morgan Scalley became Utah's first two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. The Utes are the only team in the nation to have two representatives.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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