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December 8, 2006

Rod stays put

According to University of Alabama athletics director Mal Moore, West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez has rejected an offer to replace Mike Shula as the Crimson Tide's head coach.

"I received word this afternoon that Coach Rodriguez has chosen to remain the head football coach at West Virginia," Moore said in a statement released by the university on Friday afternoon. "I fully respect his decision and wish him the best. I want to remind everyone of what I said at the outset of this process: my only objective is to get the best person available to lead the Alabama football program.

"I remain determined to bring to our program a proven head coach with impressive credentials. While I am hoping to conclude the search soon, following a timeline is not my main priority. Hiring an outstanding head coach to lead our players is the most important thing, and that will continue to be my only objective."

According to a source close to the situation, Moore and Rodriguez's agent, Mike Brown, had agreed in principal on a deal to bring Rodriguez to the Capstone. The deal, however, still required Rodriguez's final approval.

Reports out of West Virginia Friday had Rodriguez negotiating with WVU officials on a new deal.

Rodriguez, who has compiled a 49-24 record in six seasons at WVU, will hold a press conference this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. CT.

As for Alabama, the search for Shula's replacement continues. Navy's Paul Johnson and Wake Forest's Jim Grobe are two coaches who will likely be mentioned in connection with the opening. Moore might also choose to wait and see how the NFL ranks shake out.

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