Neuheisel ends speculation

It's been a busy day for Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel. Amidst rumors of being one of the finalists for the vacant San Francisco 49'ers head coaching position and dealing with a couple of coaching vacancies on his current staff, Neuheisel killed two birds in one fell swoop. Monday he released a statement expressing his desire to stay at Washington and he also hired a new quarterbacks coach. It's a familiar face to Husky fans - John Pettas.

Neuheisel delivered a statement through, Washington's official athletics website, Monday about his interest in the vacant San Francisco 49'ers head coaching position. Here is text of his statement:

"I want to respond to the speculation that I am a candidate for the head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers. I have not been contacted by anyone from the 49ers organization about the position.

"I want to reiterate what I have said in the past. I am the football coach at the University of Washington and I am very happy with my position and I am not interested in coaching anywhere else."

The release of this statement was to counter reports out of the Bay Area and Seattle that had Neuheisel as a finalist for the 49'ers. Skip Bayless of the San Jose Mercury News had Neuheisel as a finalist along with New York Jets Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell.

Dave 'Softy' Mahler of KJR in Seattle apparently was able to confirm rumors of Neuheisel being in San Francisco this weekend and also taking a flight out of San Francisco to Seattle last night. Bill Schwartz of KOMO, also in Seattle, spoke with Neuheisel this morning, who reiterated he was taking some time off and vacationing in Sun Valley.

It was also widely reported that Pettas, offensive coordinator under John L. Smith at Louisville, was the leading front-runner for the quarterbacks coach position vacated by Steve Axman. Axman left Washington last month to become the UCLA offensive coordinator under new Head Coach Karl Dorrell.

Pettas became a front-runner because of his association with Washington and the fact that he was not retained by Smith when he left Louisville to take the Head Coaching position at Michigan State. That position was filled by former San Jose State Head Coach Dave Baldwin.

"We're very fortunate to hire someone with John's background for this position," Neuheisel said today through "He has a very good knowledge of our offense and our players, so this will make for a very smooth transition."

Pettas was a grad aide at UW in 2001 before heading to Louisville. Before his one-year stint in Seattle, Pettas spent five seasons at Arizona State where he saw time as both running backs and quarterbacks coach before serving as the Sun Devils' offensive coordinator for the 2000 season. Top Stories