Zook rumors fly
By Ian Fisher Independent Florida Alligator

Gainesville, FL (U-WIRE) -- Ron Zook may have a new job today. Then again, maybe not.

Zook denied reports that have him expected to be named as the coach of Illinois today.

"I have not been offered the job at Illinois," Zook told the Florida Times-Union Saturday. "That's all speculation. I don't know that's going to happen."

Illinois interviewed Zook last Tuesday after firing Coach Ron Turner on Nov. 22.

Illinois state affirmative-action laws prohibit Zook from being hired before 5 p.m. today, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times reports that Zook is expected to be announced as the Illinois head coach on Tuesday. Illinois finished its season 3-8, Turner's third consecutive losing season.

Turner finished his eight years at Illinois with a 35-37 overall record, having only one successful year. In 2001, Illinois won the Big Ten and made the Sugar Bowl.

However, Zook was reportedly contacted by Mississippi last Thursday, a day after David Cutcliffe was fired.

Zook will meet with Ole Miss officials early this week, the Times-Union reported, citing an anonymous source.

Mississippi chose to let Cutcliffe go despite a 44-29 overall record and a 25-23 record in the Southeastern Conference.

Zook had still not decided whether he would coach the Gators in the Peach Bowl. The Gators will play Miami on Dec. 31 in Atlanta. Calls to Zook's cell phone Sunday night went unanswered.

(C) 2004 Independent Florida Alligator via U-WIRE


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