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Friday, December 6, 2002
Buffs' offensive coordinator interested in Utes' job

Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado offensive coordinator Shawn Watson may be headed to the Mountain West Conference as a finalist for the open Utah Utes head coaching job.

"Utah is very interested in Shawn,'' Colorado coach Gary Barnett said on Thursday. "And Shawn is interested in Utah.''

Watson, who is helping Colorado prepare for Saturday's Big 12 title game against Oklahoma, has already acknowledged having contact with Utah officials. Utah athletics director Chris Hill has refused to name his top candidates but has said he wants a new coach in place by Christmas.

Watson spent three seasons as head coach of Southern Illinois, compiling an 11-22 record there before being hired by Barnett at Northwestern in 1997.

He has coordinated a CU offense that ranks 29th in the nation this season, averaging 404.2 yards per game. Colorado's rushing game ranks sixth in the country, eating up 250.8 yards per contest. Colorado's 30.2 points per game ranks 38th in the nation.

Utah, which finished 5-6 this season, was 88-63 in 13 seasons under former coach Ron McBride, who was fired on Nov. 25.

The Utes were 10-11 in Mountain West conference play over the past two seasons and were 17-17 overall during that period.