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Raiders zero in on next head FB coach

December 17, 2005

Over 100 applicants have contacted Southern Oregon University about its head football coach vacancy and &

about 10&

have been interviewed, SOU athletic director Dennis Francois said Friday.

The school is keeping the names of candidates secret until the long list is whittled down to a few finalists. No timeline for a hire is set in stone, but Francois said ideally the Raiders would have a new coach by the start of winter term, Jan. 9.

&

The bottom line is, we don&

t want to rush the process in terms of finding the right individual for the job,&

Francois said.

A nine-member committee is responsible for screening the applicants and conducting preliminary phone interviews. When its work is done, the committee, made up of SOU administrators, coaches, staff and community members, will present a short list to Francois. Finalists will be invited to SOU for a more extensive interview and a tour of the campus.

Francois said the school has received some &

stellar applications and resumes&

since the search kicked off last spring.

&

I&

m confident that we will have a quality coach, somebody that will be able to lead our program in a wonderful way,&

he said. &

We&

ve got some challenges ahead of us, but some great opportunities as well to bring our program back to the national prominence that it has experienced in the past.&

The Raiders are looking to replace former head coach Jeff Olson, who resigned in April to become defensive coordinator at North Medford High. SOU defensive coordinator Shay McClure took over as SOU&

s interim head coach for the 2005 season. The Raiders finished the season 1-9, losing three games by eight points or less including one in overtime.

The Raiders are 9-20 since advancing to the 2002 national quarterfinals, a game which SOU lost in heartbreaking fashion to Carroll (Mont.) after blowing a 31-14 fourth-quarter lead.

SOU posted an advertisement for the position on the Web. According to the ad, candidates are required to have a Bachelor&

s degree and a minimum of three years of college coaching experience, with a Master&

s degree and head coaching experience

preferred.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 3020 or joe.zavala@dailytidings.com.