Major shakeups in coaching ranks

SPOKANE, Wash. — Bill Doba said Monday he will not return as football coach at Washington State after a 5-7 season in which the Pacific 10 Conference team missed going to a bowl game for a fourth consecutive year.

In what was billed as a mutual decision, Doba and WSU athletics director Jim Sterk said Doba decided during a Monday morning meeting that he would step down.

Doba, 67, blamed widespread speculation that he would be fired for damaging his ability to recruit, and said he wanted to take a break after four decades of coaching. He was 30-29 in five seasons at WSU.

"I felt with all the negative press and Internet, and all the rumors, it was difficult, and with my age, to go out and recruit," Doba said during an emotional news teleconference from Pullman. "I have no regrets and no animosity."

Sterk insisted Doba's departure was on the coach's terms.

"He felt it was best for the program to step down at this time," Sterk said.

Sterk said Doba was not interested in another position at the university.

"He's ready to go fishing," Sterk said. "His Saturdays have been busy in the fall for a long time."

Washington State will launch a nationwide search for a replacement, Sterk said. Former WSU coach Mike Price, now coach at UTEP, would be considered for the job if he were interested, Sterk said. The school will also seek minority candidates, Sterk said.

Doba is leaving after an emotional 42-35 weekend win over archrival Washington that gave him a 3-2 record against the cross-state rivals from Seattle.

Doba's 30-29 mark made him one of only a handful of coaches to have a winning career record at WSU. That list is led by O.E. Hollingbery (93-53 from 1926-1942) and Price (83-78 from 1989-2002).

But the WSU situation wasn't the only major coaching shakeup at the college level.

Georgia Tech fired Chan Gailey, the ex-Dallas Cowboys coach, while Texas A&M hired Mike Sherman, the ex-Green Bay Packers coach. Arkansas' Houston Nutt also departed days after an emotional win.

Indiana gave interim coach Bill Lynch a four-year contract after he led the Hoosiers to their most successful season in 14 years. Duke fired Ted Roof, who went 2-3 as an interim coach in 2003 to earn the full-time job then won just four more games the next four seasons.

At Southern Mississippi and Colorado State, two longtime, successful coaches were on their way out after disappointing years. Southern Miss' Jeff Bower resigned after 14 straight winning seasons and 10 bowl invitations in 11 years. Colorado State has offered Sonny Lubick a job as an associate athletic director but school officials stopped short of saying he has been fired or has resigned.

Sherman, an assistant head coach with the Houston Texans for two seasons, will return to the school where he was the offensive line coach from 1989-93 and in 1995-96 under R.C. Slocum. He replaces Dennis Franchione, who resigned Friday.

Sherman signed a seven-year contract that will pay him $1.8 million a year.

Gailey was 44-32 in six years at Georgia Tech. He never lost fewer than five games in a season and was 0-6 against rival Georgia.

Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will take over as interim coach for the bowl, and he will be a candidate for the job permanently.

Rumors of Nutt's departure surrounded the program after the loss last winter of key recruits and a popular assistant coach. Trouble mounted for the coach after the Razorbacks lost their first three Southeastern Conference games.

Arkansas rebounded to finish the regular season 8-4 and knocked LSU out of the nation's No. 1 spot with a 50-48, triple-overtime victory Friday. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring will coach the team in its bowl.

Nutt, who resigned Monday, went 75-48 at Arkansas since being hired in December 1997.

"Houston's decision to resign was neither forced, or encouraged, or requested," Chancellor John A. White said.

Lynch replaced the late Terry Hoeppner in June and led Indiana to a 7-5 regular season. The Hoosiers are in position to receive their first bowl bid since 1993.

Lynch is the fourth coach at Indiana since 2001, following Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo and Hoeppner, one of Lynch's closest friends.

Roof went 6-45 at Duke. The Blue Devils lost at least 10 games in three straight seasons, including a winless 2006.

Bower spent 29 years at Southern Miss as a quarterback, assistant and head coach. He was 119-82-1 in 17 seasons and had been in the same job longer than all but three coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Only Penn State's Joe Paterno (42), Florida State's Bobby Bowden (32) and Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (21) have longer tenures.

At Northern Illinois, Joe Novak, who spent the last 12 seasons building the program, retired Monday, two days after the Huskies finished 2-10.

Novak, 62, spent 16 years at NIU, including the past 12 as head coach. He compiled a 63-75 record while leading the Huskies to two bowl games, seven straight winning seasons (2000-06) and three upset wins over top-25 teams. In 2003, the Huskies beat No. 15 Maryland and No. 21 Alabama and were ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation, while setting a school record with 10 wins.

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