Syracuse, Auburn express interest in Turner Gill

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Buffalo coach Turner Gill, fresh off an improbable Mid-American Conference title, is a candidate for coaching vacancies at Syracuse and Auburn.

University at Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he provided both schools permission to interview Gill. Manuel said no other schools have contacted him, and added he’s been traveling so he did not have an update on whether Gill has interviewed for either of the two vacancies.

Syracuse is seeking to replace Greg Robinson, who was fired after four seasons. Orange athletic director Daryl Gross interviewed East Carolina coach Skip Holtz in New York City on Monday, while New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone has had two interviews. Marrone played for Syracuse, was a captain in 1984, and is very interested in the position.

Gill is among at least six candidates have interviewed for the Auburn job, according to The Birmingham News. The others reportedly include Tulsa coach Todd Graham, Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, Ball State coach Brady Hoke, Georgia assistant Rodney Garner and Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix.

Auburn is seeking to replace Tommy Tuberville, who resigned last week.

Gill, the former Nebraska star quarterback and 1983 Heisman Trophy finalist, has emerged as a hot commodity after turning around what had been a laughingstock of a program. Buffalo went 10-69 in its first seven seasons in the MAC prior to Gill taking over as a first-time coach three years ago.

The turnaround became complete when the Bulls (8-5) upset previously undefeated No. 12 Ball State 42-24 in the MAC championship game at Detroit on Friday.

Gill has also been traveling on scheduled recruiting trips and unavailable for comment. He is scheduled to attend a news conference in Toronto on Thursday to promote the International Bowl, in which the Bulls will face Connecticut on Jan. 3, in what will be Buffalo’s first bowl appearance.

Manuel said he’ll respect whatever decision Gill makes, but hopes he’ll return next season.

“I’m just looking forward to their being a strong possibility that he’ll be here. I’m just thinking positively,” Manuel said. “If he does go, then he’s left us in a much better position.”