Saints' Riley turns down Alabama head coach's job

Saturday, December 14, 2002

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama's search for a football coach took another frustrating turn Friday when New Orleans Saints assistant coach Mike Riley rejected the job offer.

Riley said Alabama athletic director Mal Moore refused his request for more time to consider a similar position at UCLA. He plans to visit UCLA after the Saints' home game against Minnesota on Sunday.

Riley, speaking at the Saints' practice field, called himself a "pretty deliberate person."

"I asked Alabama about an opportunity to wait a little bit," he said. "They exercised their prerogative and said they needed to go on."

Alabama athletic director Mal Moore offered Riley the job after Dennis Franchione left for Texas A&M last week. UCLA fired coach Bob Toledo on Monday.

"I know the players are very anxious and I know our fans are very anxious," Moore said Friday. "We want them to be assured that we will get the best person for this job, and I think that's what's important."

Moore said he has contacted "10 or 15 different people" but would not say how many he interviewed. He does not think the Alabama job has become unattractive because of NCAA sanctions and high expectations.

"There's been a lot of interest in this job -- I mean, a lot of interest -- from all over the country," Moore said. "It just takes time."

The 49-year-old Riley played defensive back for the Crimson Tide under Bear Bryant in the early 1970s, but Riley's family still lives in Southern California.

Riley has spent much of his career on the West Coast. He was USC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for four years before becoming coach at Oregon State.

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