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Player arrests among the reasons Kramer is staying

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Montana State football coach Mike Kramer
said Friday he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the
head coaching job at the University of Idaho, and acknowledged the
drug-related arrests of one player and two former players played a
role in the decision.

"This is simply not the time for me to leave Montana State,"
Kramer said in a written statement. "We are at a point in time
where our current players deserve to know whether I'll remain, and
where the recruits we've spent months trying to bring into the
Bobcat program need to know. Idaho is a special place to me, but my
heart is here."

Kramer, who grew up in Colton, Wash., and played football at
Idaho, spoke with Idaho athletic director Rob Spear by telephone on
Tuesday and interviewed with him Thursday.

Kramer, 52, said he made the decision to stay at MSU on the
drive home from Moscow, Idaho.

"And I called Mr. Spear last night at 10:30 and said, 'I will
not be a candidate for the head coaching position at your
university,"' Kramer said at a press conference Friday morning.

Spear, in an e-mail to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, wrote: "We
discussed the position and had a very good visit. At the end of the
day, we mutually agreed it was not the right move for Mike or for
the University of Idaho."

Kramer acknowledged this week's arrest of current player Andre
Fuller and former players Eddie Sullivan and Derrick Davis on
drug-related charges had a role in him not getting the Idaho job.

Another former player, John Lebrum, was arrested in June along
with former Bobcat basketball player Branden Miller and charged
with murder in the shooting death of Jason Wright.

"I told Rob that this situation at Montana State requires my
leadership," Kramer said. "I'm talking about the arrest and the
ongoing legal situation of Andre Fuller, and even our ex-players,
because the last thing I want to do is leave a program with the
feeling that there's some work undone. I want to get this issue
resolved."

MSU athletic director Peter Fields, reached in Chattanooga,
Tenn., where the national championship game was being played Friday
night, told the Chronicle: "Now it's time for us to sit down and
evaluate our program."

Kramer met with his coaching staff Friday morning to discuss the
recent arrests.

"We talked at length about the process we're involved with
right now in regard to the arrest of Andre and what it means to
us," Kramer said. "I think I have a long process ahead of me to
reassure our university, our university community, the fans, the
boosters, that this is not a program run amok."

Junior linebacker Will Claggett said it is more important than
ever for the football players to set a good example and regain the
public's trust.

"We're going to go out there and do everything we can and do
the right thing for the community, whether that be volunteering or
setting a good example," Claggett said. "Just sitting back and
being a football player isn't going to cut it any more."

Kramer had expressed interest in the Idaho job vacated when
Dennis Erickson left for Arizona State. Erickson left for ASU just
10 months after returning to Idaho, the school that gave him his
first head coaching job in 1982.

Former Michigan State and Idaho head coach John L. Smith
withdrew his name from consideration. Washington State defensive
coordinator Robb Akey has also been interviewed.

Kramer's first Montana State team went 0-11, but he has since
coached the Bobcats to three Big Sky Conference championships in
five seasons. The Bobcats advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA
Division I-AA playoffs this season, winning the school's first
playoff game in 22 years.

Idaho, which went 4-8 this season, hasn't had a winning season
since 1999, while Western Athletic Conference rival Boise State has
turned into a national power.