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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
'Evaluation process' already over

Associated Press

PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young football coach Gary Crowton's future was pending Tuesday.

Coming off his third straight losing season, BYU administrators met with Crowton on Monday night and were still considering the future of the program on Tuesday.

A decision by BYU President Cecil Samuelson appeared likely within days and a news conference was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

"All I can say is the evaluation process of the football program has been concluded," said athletic department spokesman Jeff Reynolds, who would not elaborate.

Associate athletic directors Tom Holmoe and Peter Pilling, who are overseeing the program, did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Crowton's run at BYU started with promise. The former Cougar assistant had introduced a potent passing attack in three years at Louisiana Tech, guiding the Bulldogs to a 21-13 record before taking a job as offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears.

After two seasons in the NFL, Crowton got the call to come home in December 2000 and replace LaVell Edwards, who had coached the Cougars for 29 years.

The Cougars opened Crowton's first season with 12 consecutive wins and seemed to begin a promising new era, then the program went in a three-year tailspin. The Cougars ended that year with a 72-45 loss at Hawaii -- after complaints about not being considered for a BCS game -- then a 28-10 loss to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl.

That was followed with a 5-7 season in 2002, largely attributed to young players and injuries and a turnaround was expected quickly. But it didn't happen.

The 2003 season was BYU's worst in 30 years, finishing with a 4-8 record -- its second straight losing finish. The Cougars won only one game at home and ended the season with a 3-0 loss to rival Utah, ending a 28-year run of not being shut out.

And while Utah has continued to draw attention as a rising team, BYU has continued to struggle.

BYU finished this year with a 5-6 mark, and was shut out of a third straight bowl appearance by the Utes, who embarrassed the Cougars 52-21 on Nov. 20.

Crowton's future seemed to take another shot when athletic director Val Hale, a fellow Orem native and former high school teammate, was abruptly fired Sept. 8.