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Thursday November 30, 2000

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The long list of requirements

By Ryan Finley

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Livengood gives specifics on hiring of new UA football

The next UA head football coach will need to be many things to many people.

In a press conference yesterday, UA athletic director Jim Livengood said off-the-field successes will be as important to the hiring process as a history of winning. football games.

"The next coach will act with care and concern for his players... a good citizen," he said. "We live in an era where this wasn't the case five, 10, 15, 20 years ago.

"We will be doing - and are doing right now - background compliance checks. Were there any problems, NCAA-wise, with any part candidate? Were there any problems that could be embarrassing to the university, to Wildcat athletics or to the individual?"

Livengood and his self-described "gathering committee" have begun searching for a replacement for Dick Tomey, who resigned last Friday following the Wildcats' 30-17 loss to Arizona State at Arizona Stadium.

Livengood said that his hiring committee will search to replace Tomey with a coach that values winning on the field while maintaining high graduation rates for players.

"(Applicants must have) a demonstrated ability to work in a diverse environment," he said. "That ability needs to be demonstrated. (A candidate must have) genuine concern for academic and graduation rates. I have every reason to believe that we'll be held accountable to every one of these."

Livengood said that the next Arizona football coach will have to have an "ability to be successful" on the field, as well. Livengood said that the committee would prefer - but not require - that the next head coach have Division I coaching experience.

"To be successful translates into having more marks in the (win) column than in the (loss) column," he said.

If Livengood and his committee have their way, the next Wildcats coach will bring dynamic, offensive football to Tucson.

"(They must be) offensive-minded (and) understand offensive football," he said. "This is a day and age in which we live in - people thrive on excitement and thrive on those kinds of things. We need to live in that real world. Does it mean that we don't care about our defense anymore? No, it doesn't mean that at all."

Many of the widely-rumored candidates are former quarterbacks coaches and would likely run a pass-oriented offense that mirrors the offensive sets used at schools like Clemson and Oklahoma.

"It doesn't mean that we haven't had a great offense in the past," Livengood said. "(Having an offensive-minded coach) does mean passing. It doesn't mean the west coast offense, but it means throwing the ball and throwing underneath. There are a lot of creative things going on out there."

Livengood said that - first and foremost - a commitment to Arizona will be a top priority for UA's next head coach.

In an interview Monday, Missouri associated head coach Ricky Hunley - a rumored candidate for the vacant UA job - said that he thought many candidates saw the coaching job as a stepping stone to a better position.

Livengood would prefer to hire someone with a commitment to the long-term goals of the program.

"He must be truly committed to intercollegiate athletics, not someone who thinks they just want to play around with college athletics," Livengood said. "He must have the ability to hire a good staff that will be committing to this university."

Ryan Finley can be reached at