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Sunday, November 23, 2003
Updated: November 24, 11:43 AM ET
Report: AD has another job for Solich

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Frank Solich is not considering retiring after the Cornhuskers' final regular-season game.

"That's never crossed my mind," Solich told reporters Sunday after Nebraska's practice at Cook Pavilion.

Solich commented after the Lincoln Journal Star, citing three unnamed sources, reported Sunday that the 59-year-old coach could be forced into retirement after Friday's game against Colorado.

Solich declined to comment directly on the report.

"We're excited about trying to finish up the season well, so it really doesn't make sense to comment, especially on anonymous-source type of information," Solich said.

Solich compared the story to unsigned letters he receives that are critical of him.

He said he just throws them away.

Though the Huskers have won eight games -- one more than last year -- Solich has come under fire for the way the Cornhuskers have looked in their three losses.

In a 41-24 loss at Missouri, the Huskers led 24-14 after three quarters and then gave up 27 straight points.

In a 31-7 loss at Texas, the Huskers were inexplicably flat while rushing for just 53 yards and generating a total of 175 yards.

The 38-9 loss to Kansas State was Nebraska's worst at home since 1958.

Solich said speculation about his future takes away from his team's preparation for Colorado.

"If you keep answering questions about it, it becomes pretty distracting," he said. "We're moving on. We're going to address football-related questions and questions referring to the upcoming game against Colorado."

Solich wouldn't say whether he had discussed the Journal Star story with his team.

Solich said he has spoken with athletic director Steve Pederson a number of times this season, but he wouldn't say whether his future was discussed.

Athletic department spokeswoman Chris Anderson said Pederson would not comment on Solich's status.

"Steve Pederson has made it very, very clear that he's not going to comment on this," Anderson said.

The Journal Star cited anonymous sources close to the football program in reporting that Pederson will try to persuade Solich to formally announce his retirement after the Nebraska-Colorado game Friday.

"We're not going to respond to rumors," Anderson said.

The Journal Star's sources, identified as Nebraska boosters, said Pederson wants to offer Solich a job in the athletic department and a lucrative buyout package. Solich makes $1.1 million a year in a contract that runs through the 2005 season.

Another unnamed booster told the paper that following the 38-9 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 15, Pederson walked to the Nebraska skyboxes to reassure boosters that his office would take action.

Pederson, in his first year as Nebraska's athletic director, denied to the newspaper that he has spoken to anyone about a plan to force Solich's retirement. Some of the program's biggest boosters also denied hearing of such a plan.

Solich, in his sixth season as Nebraska's coach, has a 57-22 record.

However, the Huskers have been inconsistent since Solich took over the program after former coach Tom Osborne retired at the end of the 1997 season.

Nebraska won the Big 12 title in 1999 and played for the national title in 2001. Last year, the team finished 7-7, the first time since 1961 without a winning record.