Air Force's Bzdelik reportedly weighs Colorado offer
DENVER -- The Air Force Falcons and Colorado Buffaloes are eager to know whether Jeff Bzdelik is going to be roaming their sidelines next season.
Bzdelik, who is 50-16 in two seasons at the academy, is being courted by Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn to revitalize the Buffaloes' program. Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh has said he'll do everything in his power to keep Bzdelik from bolting to Boulder.
Jeff Bzdelik has enjoyed great success at Air Force, taking the academy to new heights. Before coaching in Division I college basketball, he was 73-119 in 2½ seasons with the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
Neither AD returned phone calls from The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Late Tuesday night, Colorado announced a news conference for Wednesday to introduce their new coach, but did not elaborate.
The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Springs Gazette, citing sources it didn't name, reported Tuesday afternoon that Bzdelik had agreed to the Buffaloes' offer.
The Denver Post reported on its Web site that Bzdelik told Air Force players at a 5 p.m. meeting he was still undecided about his future, according to several players who attended the meeting.
"Jeff Bzdelik is still the head coach at the Air Force Academy," said Troy Garnhart, the Falcons' sports information director.
Garnhart said Meuh has spent several days trying to talk Bzdelik into staying.
"He's not told us he's leaving Air Force. We're still talking with him and have been numerous times today. We very much want him to stay as our head coach," Garnhart said. "If that changes, I guess it's up to Colorado to announce something."
Bzdelik is believed to be the only coaching candidate to visit the Boulder campus during Bohn's nearly six-month search to replace Ricardo Patton, who took over at Northern Illinois after closing out his CU career with a 7-20 record during which the Buffs failed to win consecutive games for the first time since 1971-72.
Bzdelik, whose name has been linked to the Buffaloes job from the moment Patton announced his resignation, effective at season's end, on Oct. 25, toured the CU campus on Monday and met with Bohn, Chancellor Bud Peterson, football coach Dan Hawkins and members of the basketball coach search committee.
He also met with some of the basketball team's returning players, a sign some of them took to mean he'll soon be hired.
Tom McGrath, CU's assistant to the athletic director, issued a statement saying "the process went well and we hope to have an announcement soon."
The Boulder Daily Camera reported that some big boosters received voice mail messages from the school Monday night inviting them to a gathering Tuesday night where they could meet the new basketball coach. The voice mails did not identify who the coach would be.
David Plati, Colorado's sports information director, said there was an e-mail that went out to private donors discussing the possibility of a get-together should a new coach be in place but that he had just spoken with his athletic director Tuesday afternoon and "as of now, we don't have a new coach."
If Bzdelik takes the Colorado job, Air Force would find itself searching for a coach for the third time in four years.
Bzdelik presumably would be offered about $800,000 a year over five years. His salary at Air Force was $315,000 and his total compensation was about $450,000. Patton earned $750,000 last season, his 11th at the school.
Bzdelik led Air Force to the NIT semifinals last week, losing to Clemson to finish 26-9. The 26 wins were a school record. The Falcons went 24-7 in his first season at Air Force, the best mark in the 50-year history of the program. They lost to Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Before Air Force, Bzdelik, 54, spent 2½ seasons as coach of the Denver Nuggets after serving as an assistant at Miami and Washington and as a scout for Denver and the New York Knicks.
He and his wife have a son and daughter in high school in the Denver area, and one reason he took the Air Force job was because he wouldn't have to uproot his family.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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