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Old 03-05-09, 04:02 PM
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Texas-San Antonio hires Coker

Larry Coker to coach Texas-San Antonio football team - ESPN

Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO -- Former Miami coach Larry Coker has been hired to lead the new Texas-San Antonio football program, his first coaching job since the Hurricanes fired him in 2006.

UTSA announced the decision Thursday. A news conference is scheduled for Friday.

Texas-San Antonio plans to play its first season in 2011 in the Football Championship Subdivision. Coker was among three finalists for the job, along with Tulsa assistant Paul Randolph and Northwest Missouri State coach Mel Tjeerdsma.

Coker's hiring was first reported by San Antonio television station WOAI.

A phone message left at Coker's home in Florida on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Coker, who has been working for ESPN as a college football analyst, went 60-15 with the Hurricanes and led them to the 2001 national championship. He was fired in 2006 after a tumultuous season in which the team went 6-6.

That season was marred by problems off the field, including an infamous brawl during the Florida International game that resulted in the suspension of 31 players. Coker has talked of returning to coaching since being fired, and his name has been linked to several openings.

In a 2007 interview with AP, Coker said it only took "about 30 seconds" before Miami's 2006 brawl with FIU came up during interviews for coaching jobs elsewhere.

Coker reached the pinnacle of college football in 2001, guiding Miami to a 12-0 record and a national championship victory over Nebraska in his rookie season as a head coach.

Now, the 60-year-old Oklahoma native will pilot a program just getting off the ground.

San Antonio is the largest city in the nation without an NFL or Division I-A football team. UTSA has about 28,000 students, and an overwhelming majority approved a referendum in 2007 that served as a major step in establishing a football program.

The Roadrunners plan to play in the Alamodome, the 65,000-seat downtown stadium built in 1993 that never attracted an NFL franchise like the city hoped.

Coker won the Big East each of his first three seasons at Miami. He started off coaching in the 1970s at an Oklahoma high school before moving on to assistant jobs with Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Ohio State.


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