Tice: UW job could lure him from NFL
Ex-Seahawk, now coaching Vikings, a long shot in search

By TED MILLER
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice said yesterday that there are only two or three college coaching jobs that might lure him away from the NFL.

And yes, he was aware his name had been connected -- if tenuously -- to the University of Washington's search for a new coach.

"Certainly (Washington) would be one of those," he said. "I feel I gave you enough ammo right there to read between the lines, as they say. Who wouldn't want to come home?"

Tice, who played 10 of his 14 NFL seasons for the Seahawks, said he hasn't been contacted. He sounded like he would like to chat with UW athletic director Todd Turner, though he said he is focused on the Vikings.

"Wouldn't it be a lifelong dream to be able to work in the city where my two children were born?" he said "But I have a job here, and I'm under contract until Jan. 31, and I want to finish the job I started here."

If the 7-5 Vikings, who host the Seahawks on Sunday, don't make the playoffs, Tice might be available Jan. 17, the last day of the regular season.

Perhaps hiring Tice, 45, could become a two-for-one deal, with the Huskies also getting current Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

Tice has no college coaching experience, but Linehan was a UW assistant from 1994-98, serving as offensive coordinator the final three years, and has made other stops at Idaho, UNLV and Louisville.

Linehan, 41, also has been noted as a potential candidate.



While Turner implied this week that he's reluctant to wait until the end of the NFL season to hire a coach, it wouldn't be out of the question to make contact during the season.

For example: Notre Dame has been granted permission to interview Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clement tomorrow morning, The Associated Press reported.

Still, Tice is a long shot at best.

While many names continue to fly around, only two previously reported candidates can be confirmed: former Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham and Boston College coach Tom O'Brien.

Willingham is expected to talk further with Turner this week. His agent, Ken Landphere, has not responded to messages left by the Post-Intelligencer.

O'Brien and Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo would not confirm or deny to the Boston Globe that Washington had made inquiries, essentially an admission that the Huskies have made contact.

O'Brien is 56-39 in eight seasons with a sterling record for graduating his players. On the other hand, he has no ties to the West Coast, and the Eagles have finished ranked in the Top 25 only once during his tenure.

As for other potential candidates, Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr., a former UW player, reiterated that he isn't interested in the job. Spokesmen at Texas Tech, Connecticut and Bowling Green said Mike Leach, Randy Edsall and Gregg Brandon, respectively, have not been contacted.

A source suggested yesterday that the UW -- if unhappy with its present possibilities -- might make a run at Butch Davis, who has said he wouldn't coach next year after resigning his post with the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris is a leading candidate at Stanford, but the UW can offer significantly more money. Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie is pursuing the Ole Miss job, so he also might be in play.

With Urban Meyer, who is leaving Utah for Florida, California's Jeff Tedford, Louisville's Bobby Petrino and Boise State's Dan Hawkins out of contention, the known part of the Huskies' wish list is much shorter than it was two weeks ago.

Maybe Tice, who still has a home in the Seattle area, will end up on it.

"I love Seattle," he said. "I think everybody who knows me knows that."

P-I reporter Ted Miller can be reached at 206-448-8017 or [email protected]