Price offically out, Sumlin looking around

MIKE PRICE, WITH PLENTY of support from old players but a mostly negative reception from alums and a lukewarm one inside Bohler Gym, formally bowed out of the WSU coaching sweepstakes Saturday. Meanwhile, one of the remaining candidates to succeed Bill Doba seems to have a sweepstakes of his own underway.

Price told the El Paso Times his pursuit of the WSU job has "been kind of blown out of proportion" and that he is "not going to Washington State -- I'm staying at UTEP. I really like it here; I love it here."

Price said he had no contact with WSU aside from a phone call from search committee chair Bill Moos the day that Doba stepped down, but the Seattle Times reported he also had a call with WSU athletic director Jim Sterk. Sterk had said in a number of interviews that Price was of potential interest but not "first and foremost" on the list.

The notion of Price returning to Washington State generated largely negative reviews on the Cougfan.com message boards. In addition, a number of columnists weighed in against the idea.

"(Washington State) is my school, a lot of former players wanted me back, but it's best that I stay here and make it work here," Price told the El Paso Times.

UTEP athletic director Bob Stull told the El Paso Times that Price had no intention of leaving UTEP and that the idea of him returning to WSU was driven by "so many friends and former players who wanted to see him back." Price himself never refuted his interest in interviews over the last 10 days and was believed to be lobbying for the job.

MEANWHILE, KEVIN SUMLIN the co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma who, according to published reports, interviewed in Pullman on Friday, is shaping up as a popular candidate for several jobs. The one-time WSU graduate assistant also has interviewed at Houston for their vacant head coaching job and is believed to be a leading candidate for the offensive coordinator's post at Texas, reports the Norman Transcript.

CF.C's calls to Sumlin over the past week have not been returned.

Two other candidates have been reported to have interviewed with WSU: Eastern Washington coach Paul Wulff and former Michigan State and Idaho coach John L. Smith.

Another well-regarded assistant coach believed high on WSU's list, UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, has been named interim head coach of the Bruins for their bowl game in place of fired Karl Dorrell. He is thought to be a contender to permanently replace Dorrell.

Repeated calls to WSU for comment about the search have not been returned. The university, or a source or sources within it, appears to be using the Spokesman-Review as the conduit for communicating on the matter.

The Spokesman reported, citing unnamed sources within the Athletic Department eight days ago, WSU was down to seven main candidates. Sumlin and Walker have since emerged as candidates through other media sources following the publication of the Spokesman's list.


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