Shula Ousted Sunday Night, Report Says

Mike Shula has been dismissed as head coach of the University of Alabama football team and will not be back for the 2007 season, according to a report Sunday night from Tuscaloosa News sports editor Cecil Hurt on its web site

Shula's reported firing came when University of Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore and Shula met Sunday night, after a post-Thanksgiving weekend football squad meeting to discuss bowl preparation, and is expected to be announced on Monday, the report said. It was reported that the firing took place after a meeting between Moore and UA President Robert E. Witt earlier on Sunday to finalize the decision.

Players attended a 9 p.m. meeting Sunday night at Bryant Hall Academic Center which last approximately 15 minutes. According to multiple people in attendance, the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary – standard operating procedure for confirming that players returned from the holiday weekend and laying out the schedule for the coming week.

Shula's apparent firing had not been confirmed by University as of 3:05 a.m. Monday, and messages left had not been returned. Athletics Director Mal Moore and University President Robert E. Witt have not answered questions on Shula's future since Alabama's 22-15 loss to Auburn on November 18. Moore, following a report from ESPN saying Shula would be retained, issued a statement Wednesday saying every aspect of the program continued to be evaluated.

Shula was hired in May of 2003, and has compiled a 26-23 record as Alabama's head coach. It is not clear whether Shula will remain to coach the Crimson Tide in any bowl game Alabama might be invited to, most likely the Independence or Liberty Bowl.

Shula's contract, which was renegotiated and approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this year, called for a $4 million buyout if he was fired.

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