Mids' Johnson denies talking with N.C. State

Coach also linked to Alabama job

Navy works on extension

College football

December 06, 2006|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,[Sun reporter]

Navy football coach Paul Johnson would not confirm or deny yesterday that he has been contacted about the vacant head coaching positions at North Carolina State and Alabama, although Johnson insisted he has not spoken with any officials from either school about the job.

Johnson dismissed a report by ESPN.com that he had talked with N.C. State athletic director Lee Fowler, who is aiming to replace recently fired Chuck Amato. Johnson, a North Carolina native, did not deny an ESPN.com report that Chuck Neinas, a consultant hired by N.C. State to aid in the school's coaching search, had called Johnson to gauge his interest in coaching the Wolfpack. Johnson also is rumored to be a candidate to coach Alabama.

Sources close to Johnson said Navy is pursuing a new contract with its five-year coach. Johnson, who has signed two new deals since coming to the academy in 2001, makes about $1.3 million per season, including incentives. He is signed through 2012, and his contract carries an automatic annual rollover clause.

"My take is this: I haven't talked to anybody at N.C. State or anywhere else about any job," said Johnson, who did not deny possible interest in coaching at N.C. State or Alabama. "In my time in the coaching profession, I've been asked 8 million times are you interested in something? It's happened every year since I've been here.

"That doesn't mean you're not going to talk to somebody who's interested in you. I've got a really good job. I like living here. I can't answer hypotheticals."

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, who hired Johnson after he went 62-10 and won two Division I-AA titles at Georgia Southern, said he has not been contacted by anyone interested in Johnson.

"I see Neinas is dragging a fishing net to see who he can gather," Gladchuk said. "Everyone is so desperate for a good football coach. It doesn't surprise me that Paul's name is being bandied about all over the country.

"We have continually expressed our gratitude to Paul. He's our guy. He works perfectly for us. We'd like to keep him around forever."

Johnson, 49, has a 37-24 record at Navy, including a 35-14 mark during the past four seasons. The Midshipmen will face No. 23 Boston College on Dec. 30 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, Navy's unprecedented fourth consecutive postseason appearance.

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and University of Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutliffe reportedly are candidates for the N.C. State job.

Meanwhile, The Mobile Register reported that West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez has become the top candidate to coach the Crimson Tide and met yesterday with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore. ESPN.com reported last night that Alabama would make a decision within three days whether to offer Rodriguez the job.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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