CHICAGO -- Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins is playing it coy.
Widely regarded as the leading candidate for the Notre Dame job, Cremins broke his week-long silence yesterday and added fuel to the speculation by what he refused to say and how he said it.
Cremins would not say if he had been contacted by Notre Dame, and he refused to rule out replacing Digger Phelps, who retired after only his third losing season in 20 years.
"I'll let you read whatever you want into that," he said. "From my standpoint, it's something that personally I might look into."
Cremins made his comments in Columbia, S.C., where he was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. He's a graduate of South Carolina, where he played point guard.
"Truthfully, I'm more embarrassed than flattered," he said of reports he was headed for Notre Dame. "I think everybody is way, way ahead of themselves."
Cremins' public stance is unusual. He has had coaching offers before and has quickly pulled himself out of consideration.
Georgia Tech athletic officials said that athletic director Homer Rice has had no contact with Notre Dame about talking to Cremins.
Notre Dame athletic director Dick Rosenthal has said he won't be hurried into a decision,
By outward appearances, Cremins, 43, would fit well at Notre Dame. He is an Irish Catholic from the East, took the Georgia Tech program to national prominence after taking over a 4-23 team in 1981 and is considered an excellent recruiter.
"To an Irish Catholic guy, coaching at Notre Dame is the ultimate," said his mentor, Frank McGuire, who coached Cremins at South Carolina.
Southern Methodist coach John Shumate, a former All-American and assistant coach at Notre Dame, has had preliminary discussions about an interview with Rosenthal, but a specific date hasn't been set.
A decision is not expected until next week, at the earliest.