Out of the running
Donnan, Kruczek withdraw names from Kentucky openingPosted: Friday December 27, 2002 6:45 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan and Central Florida coach Mike Kruczek both withdrew from consideration for the Kentucky job Friday, while the status of Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe was more vague. The 57-year-old Donnan, who works for ESPN, met with Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart this week but pulled out of the running, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site Friday.
A message left for Donnan was not immediately returned.
Central Florida posted a statement on its Web site late Thursday saying Kruczek was no longer a candidate for the job. Barnhart approached the 49-year-old Kruczek about the position last week.
Kentucky is seeking a successor to Guy Morriss, who resigned on Dec. 9 to become the coach at Baylor.
Barnhart said he also contacted Cutcliffe last week. Cutcliffe was in Shreveport, La., Friday for the Independence Bowl between Ole Miss and Nebraska. He brushed off reporters after arriving at the stadium.
When asked for comment about the rumors that he continues to be a candidate to leave Mississippi for Kentucky, he said, "Don't bother me with that stuff right now."
Mississippi Athletic Director Pete Boone said Friday that he and Cutcliffe hadn't spoken about the coach's possibility of leaving for Kentucky since Saturday, when the school issued a statement saying Cutcliffe was not a candidate for the Wildcats' job. In the statement, Cutcliffe was quoted as saying he would stay at Mississippi.
Boone said he would be surprised if Cutcliffe left.
"I thought it was a dead issue," Boone said before the Independence Bowl.
Kentucky is the only Division I-A program currently without a coach. Barnhart said the day after Morriss resigned that he wanted to have a replacement named by Christmas.
Donnan's knowledge of offense and recruiting ability were considered appealing for the Wildcats. He was 40-19 in five seasons at Georgia and won four bowl games before being fired in 2000. Donnan later received a $2.3 million settlement from Georgia.
He was replaced by Mike Richt, who just signed a $1.5 million-a-year extension that will keep him in Athens through at least 2010.
Kruczek has a 33-23 record in five years as UCF's head coach, including winning seasons the past three years. In his first season, Kruczek led UCF to a 9-2 record, its best ever.
"I am committed to continuing the building process at UCF," Kruczek said in the school's statement. "I have a lot of time and effort invested in the UCF program and feel I have unfinished business."
The Wildcats have two years of NCAA sanctions left, limiting the next two recruiting classes to 18 and 22 signees, respectively. Kentucky went 7-5 this season, but it was prohibited from accepting a bowl invitation.