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Speculation centers on LSU assistant Fisher

Posted: Tuesday November 25, 2003 10:56PM; Updated: Wednesday November 26, 2003 1:43AM
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton would like to hire a replacement for retiring coach Jackie Sherrill by the end of the week.

"We are not going to let the timetable drive the decision, but certainly that would be ideal," he said Tuesday.

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Sherrill announced on Oct. 17 that he would not return for a 14th season at Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs (2-9, 1-6) finish their season Thursday night at home against No. 17 Mississippi.

Templeton said the search has moved along at the rate he had hoped, but as has been the case throughout, he was stingy with details.

At the start of the search, Templeton said he had a list of about a dozen candidates.

"The list has been narrowed, but we are not going to discuss the number on that list," he said.

"We're definitely not going to discuss the names. I don't think that does us any good and certainly doesn't do the coaches any good, particularly those coaches that are still competing. There are coaches still competing."

Most of the speculation has centered on LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who interviewed for the offensive coordinator's position at Mississippi State in 1999. Sparky Woods ended up getting the job.

No. 3 LSU plays Arkansas Friday and can clinch the SEC West title and a spot in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 6.

Fisher has expressed interest in being a head coach, but has not commented specifically on the Mississippi State job.

Fisher was quarterbacks coach at Auburn when he interviewed at Mississippi State. He ended up becoming offensive coordinator at Cincinnati for a year and has been at LSU since 2000.

Fisher has hired agent Jimmy Sexton of Memphis, Tenn. Sexton represents LSU coach Nick Saban, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

Templeton would not say whether he has interviewed Fisher or any other candidate.

"I think in this day in time you've got to respect the people you're talking to and you want the people that you want to talk to to at least listen to you," Templeton said. "The only way you can do this is to do it very quietly.

"I've talked to a lot of people."

If the Bulldogs don't hire someone soon, Auburn could be joining them in the search for a new coach.

Auburn officials have said they will decide by next week whether to retain Tuberville.

Templeton said Auburn's situation has no bearing on Mississippi State's.

"I've got enough chips at Mississippi State I don't need to worry about (Auburn Athletic Director) David Housel's chips," he said.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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