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Posted: Friday December 2, 2011 5:49PM ; Updated: Friday December 2, 2011 5:49PM

Houston has 'proactive' approach for keeping Sumlin

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HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston athletics director Mack Rhoades says he'll continue to talk with Kevin Sumlin as the Cougars' football coach is mentioned as a candidate for several vacancies around the nation.

The No. 7 Cougars (12-0, 8-0) are trying to complete the program's first undefeated season and land its first Bowl Championship Series berth in Saturday's Conference USA championship against No. 24 Southern Miss (10-2, 6-2). Speculation surrounding Sumlin intensified when nearby Texas A&M fired Mike Sherman late Thursday.

Rhoades is confident that the Cougars won't be distracted by the rumors about Sumlin. And he says dealing with speculation is part of his job and should not detract from the magnitude of Saturday's game.

Rhoades says he'll be "proactive" in making Sumlin understand how much he's valued by the university.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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