Search For AD Almost Near Conclusion

<b>Dr. Ed Richardson</b>

Auburn's interim president comments on making a decision on the new athletic director and football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Auburn, Ala.--Look for Auburn to announce its new athletic director by Tuesday.

That is the word from Auburn University's interim president, Dr. Ed Richardson, who said on Friday night that he is having a difficult time making a decision on who to pick for the job.

"We have done background checks, we have done all kind of checks," Richardson said. "We are just really down, as somebody said, to ‘almost flip a coin.' It is that close."

Richardson is expected to choose between Auburn's senior associate athletic director for development, Jay Jacobs, Dan Radokovich, senior associate athletics director at LSU, Greg McGarity, who is associate athletic director for internal affairs at the University of Florida and former AU football kicker Scott Etheridge, a television executive with NBC.

The four finalists for the job are Auburn's senior athletic director for development Jay Jacobs, Florida assistant athletic director Greg McGarity, LSU assistant athletic director Dan Radokovich and former Auburn football player Scott Etheridge, and executive with NBC television. Jacobs and Radokovich may be the leaders.

Richardson said he has heard concern that hiring Jacobs, a former Auburn football player, will give the impression that the university's board of trustees is making the hire.

"I hear that," Richardson says. "I hear equally, if I don't appoint an Auburn person then I am not doing the right thing, either. The board is not involved in this. Hal (special assistant for athletic affairs Hal Baird) and I have done this entirely. We haven't talked to the board, other than I am required to consult with them. I told them when I consulted with them earlier in the week that I can't decide. That is basically what I said. We are down here and I cannot make a decision.

"I am going to make a decision, unless something happens this weekend, like the candidate withdrew or whatever, then talk to him on Monday and hopefully we will be able to release it on Tuesday."

Richardson, who spoke at a ceremony on Friday evening at Toomer's Corner honoring 12-0 Auburn football team, had praise for head football coach Tommy Tuberville at the event and after it. The president says that he plans to stay in contact with Tuberville with rumors abounding that LSU and other colleges might be interested in hiring the SEC Coach of the Year away from Auburn. He notes that Tuberville is the person he wants leading the Auburn football program because of the team's success both on and off the field. "I want to make sure we won't let something slip through," Richardson says.

Tuberville enters the field at the SEC Championship Game with his Tigers.

Richardson says he has talked to Tuberville recently. "We have focused entirely on assistant coaches," Richardson notes. "He and I have talked and we agreed that after the season we will sit down and do that (look at Tuberville's contract). Obviously, it was a tremendous season and he should be rewarded accordingly. We are just in an environment where you just have sort of weigh whether it is big bonuses or length of contract. There are several variables we will have to look at.

"Obviously, it has been a tremendous season and he is certainly deserving of a very substantial award and we will do that, but he is more concerned, as I am, with assistants those teams that are looking now that their seasons are over," Richardson adds.

Auburn will wrap up its season on Jan. 3rd when the Tigers play Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

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