AU Official Admits Contact With Louisville Coach

Auburn University president Dr. William Walker says he flew to the Louisville area to meet with Bobby Petrino prior to Auburn's football victory over Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn University president Dr. William Walker issued a statement on Tuesday night that he and other Auburn officials met with University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino two days before Auburn's regular season-ending victory over Alabama.

Walker is scheduled to meet with current Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville early next week after the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss Tuberville's status as head coach of the Tigers. Auburn posted a disappointing 7-5 regular season mark and Tuberville's security as head coach has been a subject of debate before and after the victory over Alabama.

Walker issued this statement:

"As a part of my considerations regarding the football coaching situation, I flew to Louisville last Thursday night to meet with Bobby Petrino. This meeting was arranged by a search firm that is assisting me as I deliberate this issue.

"Coach Petrino has been mentioned as a candidate for the job should it become available. I have made no decision and am considering my options. This visit was a part of that process.

"I was accompanied by Athletic Director David Housel and, at my request, Earlon McWhorter, President Pro Tem of the Board of Trustees and Byron Franklin, a member of the Board who has played college and professional football and knows the game as well as anyone. No one else went with us.

"I am continuing to evaluate the football program, my goals for that program and options that may be available to me and Auburn University."

Bobby Petrino is shown during a practice session last season when he served as QB coach and offensive coordinator for the Tigers.

Petrino served as offensive coordinator for Tuberville last season after moving from the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. He had issued statements denying that he had discussed the job with Auburn officials. His Louisville team finishes the regular season on Friday vs. the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.

Dr. Walker's office has been busy receiving phone calls, faxes and emails this week from Auburn fans who have opinions on the coaching situation at AU.

Neither Walker nor athletic director David Housel were a part of the locker room postgame celebration following Auburn's victory over Alabama on Saturday night, which is traditionally the case when the Tigers defeat their archrival. Tuberville closed the locker room to everyone with the exception of players and coaching staff members.


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