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Former Ford assistant backs up report

By Denny O'Brien

Holland Press Conference

Listen to the replay of Terry Holland's Tuesday Press Conference, in which he discussed East Carolina's search for a football coach (recorded by Brian Bailey): Select clip...

A report in The Post and Courier of Charleston, SC, that former Clemson and Arkansas head coach Danny Ford has been offered the East Carolina coaching job apparently has credence, if a contention by a one-time Ford employee turns out to be substantiated.

A former Ford assistant at Clemson has confirmed that ECU athletics director Terry Holland has offered the job to Ford and that Ford is interested, a well-connected source has told

According to the account, the former assistant says that Holland did not issue a timetable with the offer and that Ford is taking a couple of days to ponder the opportunity.

Conversely, sources close to East Carolina say that Ford has not been offered the job.

Ford, 56, spent 11 years as the head coach at Clemson, a period that included the 1981 national title and five Atlantic Coast Conference crowns. reported on Monday that Ford had apparently contacted former ECU coach Ed Emory, now head coach at Richmond County High, to relay his interest in the Pirates job.

Ford has been absent from the game since 1997, when he retired from coaching after a five-year run at Arkansas. The Razorbacks finished with consecutive 4-7 seasons to close out his tenure in Fayetteville.

The report in The Post and Courier casts a new dimension on speculation surrounding East Carolina's search for a successor to recently fired football coach John Thompson.

According to several sources, it was believed that former South Carolina assistant Skip Holtz, who visited Greenville for an interview, was the frontrunner for the job.

Outgoing Florida Gators coach Ron Zook and William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock also were believed to be in the running, while sources have said that ECU had initiated a dialogue with former Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham, an Eastern North Carolina native. Willingham was fired by the Irish on Tuesday.

02/23/07 11:30 AM

Compiled from staff reports. A story from The (Charleston, SC) Post and Courier was used as a reference in writing this article. ©2004 and other publishers. All rights rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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