Rich Rodriguez has reportedly been offered the opportunity to be the next man to try to replace Bear Bryant at Alabama.
West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez has an offer to become the next head football coach at the University of Alabama, sources close to the hiring process told the Press-Register today. The offer from Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore to replace the fired Mike Shula was made this morning.
Terms of the contract offer were not made available, but multiple sources familiar with the situation said it is in the neighborhood of the most lucrative in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville is the highest paid coach in the SEC with an annual salary of $2.2 million. That is double the $1.1 million Rodriguez currently makes per season.
Rodriguez is considering the offer, according to the sources. He was scheduled to fly to Jacksonville, Fla., today for a Gator Bowl function. A West Virginia official said the flight was scheduled to leave Morgantown at 11:30 a.m. Central Standard Time.
His answer is expected soon, perhaps as early as today. He did not immediately return a call from the Press-Register.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers are desperately trying to convince him to stay: “West Virginia University is spending millions of dollars to upgrade its football facilities to ensure that coach Rich Rodriguez stays in Morgantown.”
UPDATE: ESPN’s Ivan Maisel reports that Miami might be getting into the mix, too.
The pace of negotiations between Alabama and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez is forcing Miami to decide deciding how badly it wants to pursue him. Miami athletic director Paul Dee has been told that if he is interested in hiring Rodriguez that he needs to make a contract offer as soon as possible, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiation said Thursday morning.
Dee received permission from West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong to speak with Rodriguez only Wednesday. However, Rodriguez has been adamant with both schools that he does not want this process to drag out. When a representative of Miami contacted Rodriguez to set up an interview, the coach asked to get an offer on the table, the source said.
Alabama, meanwhile, has not made an offer to Rodriguez yet. Athletic director Mal Moore encountered some delays in returning to Tuscaloosa from New York on Wednesday. Upon landing on Wednesday afternoon, according to The Tuscaloosa News, Moore said, “Both sides are working.”
If true, this obviously gives Rodriguez more leverage. Miami is almost certainly the more attractive position, given their recruiting base.
Regardless, there are at least half a dozen first rate candidates out there and Rodriguez is by no means a clear standout among them. There’s no reason for either Miami or Alabama to make a hasty decision.
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