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Friday, January 9, 2004
Callahan to be introduced today

By John Clayton

Former Oakland Raiders head coach Bill Callahan accepted the head coaching position at Nebraska Thursday after a crazy week in which the Cornhuskers tried to hire Mike Zimmer, the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator.

Starting offensive lineman Mike Erickson told The Associated Press that Callahan was introduced to players in a meeting Friday. Callahan will be formally introduced as the 'Huskers coach at an afternoon news conference.

"I'm excited about having coach Callahan. I'm just excited to have a coach again," Erickson said. "They kept their promise to tell the players about this first. I'm pleased with the way it was handled."

Once Callahan heard through his agent, Gary O'Hagan of IMG, that Zimmer pulled himself out of the running for the job, Callahan pushed for it. A former offensive line coach at Wisconsin, Callahan has always desired to be a head coach in college, and there had been some thought he would be considered at Notre Dame if the job there ever opened.

Callahan met the past two days with Nebraska officials and was offered the job Thursday afternoon. Terms of his agreement were not available.

Callahan became Oakland's coach after Jon Gruden left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. In his first year in charge, Callahan took the Raiders to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Bucs.

Despite severe cap problems, the Raiders kept the bulk of their roster together for a second run at the Super Bowl this season, but everything fell apart. Oakland finished 4-12 amid considerable locker room sniping about Callahan.

As a former offensive line coach, Callahan could bring an aggressive running offense to Nebraska along with the option of using forms of the West Coast offense.

At least three NFL teams were considering Callahan for offensive coordinator positions.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.