January 27, 2004

All Football Coach Finalists Withdraw

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With all three finalists removed from the candidate pool this week, Cornell’s head football coaching situation remains unresolved.

Marc Trestman, former Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator, was named the quarterbacks and assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins yesterday. Steve Nelson, the head coach and athletic director at Curry College in Milton, Mass., has also been eliminated from consideration after opting to remain with the Colonels.

The third finalist, former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, was offered the job by athletic director Andy Noel late Friday night. Gilbride, however, declined the job after being offered the position of quarterbacks coach of the New York Giants.

“Kevin was offered a job by Coach [Tom] Coughlin with the Giants,” Noel said. “He wasn’t able to tell me that yet on Saturday because it wasn’t official, but to say I was surprised is a big understatement. We had fully expected that he would be on campus for our football banquet on Saturday night.”

Gilbride previously worked under Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Trestman, who was also considered a top candidate by various athletic officials, withdrew from consideration Friday. Contrary to some media reports, Trestman was never officially offered the job because he decided to pursue the opening in Miami late last week.

“[Trestman] had a very tough decision to make between us and Miami,” Noel said. “We had some very candid and honest discussions, and he decided that his family situation would just be better in Miami.”

Nelson withdrew from consideration due in large part due to pressures from Curry College’s administration to come to a timely decision.

“Steve Nelson had to give the administrators on his current campus an idea of what he planned to do with his future,” Noel explained. “He obviously knew about the other candidates, and he didn’t want to burn any bridges at Curry.”

With the three finalists having now withdrawn from consideration, the search process has restarted. School officials will resume consideration of other candidates who had not previously been offered on-campus interviews.

“We lost our top two candidates, but now we’ll move to the next person on the list, and then the next, and then the next. For the last 48 hours, we’ve been working with a particular individual,” Noel said. “Cornell Athletics officials remain optimistic that we will find an excellent coach to lead our program.”

While no timetable has been set for the completion of the search process, which is now just over two months old, Noel expects that the new head coach will be selected in “the very near future.”

Archived article by Owen Bochner