Buffalo coach Gill interviews at Auburn, Syracuse

Published 7:40 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turner Gill interviewed for coaching vacancies at Auburn and Syracuse, raising the possibility he might leave Buffalo after turning around the school’s football program in only three seasons.

“Maybe my work is done here, I don’t know that,” Gill said Thursday at a news conference to promote the International Bowl in Toronto. “There’s some things that are probably going to happen, but I don’t know when.”

Gill’s Bulls (8-5) face Connecticut (7-5) at the Rogers Centre on Jan. 3. He confirmed his visits with Syracuse and Auburn, and noted that there are other programs in the mix, though he wouldn’t say which ones.

What’s clear is that the former Nebraska star quarterback and 1983 Heisman Trophy finalist has emerged as a valuable commodity. Before he arrived in 2006, the Bulls had gone 10-69 in their first seven seasons after joining the Mid-American Conference.

Buffalo is coming off its biggest victory, having upset previously undefeated No. 12 Ball State 42-24 in the MAC championship game at Detroit on Friday.

Auburn is seeking a replacement for Tommy Tuberville, who resigned on Dec. 3 after 10 seasons. Gill was among at least seven candidates to have interviewed for the job, according to The Birmingham News.

The others reportedly in the Auburn mix include Tulsa coach Todd Graham, Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, Ball State coach Brady Hoke, Georgia assistant Rodney Garner, Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix and TCU’s Gary Patterson.

Syracuse fired coach Greg Robinson after four seasons. New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone interviewed for the job, and East Carolina coach Skip Holtz was considered a candidate until withdrawing his name Thursday.

Gill acknowledged his uncertain future could prove a distraction for his Bulls players as they prepare to make the program’s first bowl appearance. But he maintained he’s focused on playing Connecticut.

Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel said he has no sense of which direction Gill is leaning. Manuel said he’ll respect whatever decision Gill makes, but hopes he’ll return next season.

Bulls quarterback Drew Willy credited Gill for instilling confidence and belief in the team.

“We know we can win now, we’ve seen it on the field,” Willy said.


AP freelance writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.