No Minter in Bearcats' Big East future

Updated: December 1, 2003, 7:08 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati fired football coach Rick Minter on Monday and offered him another position within the athletic department.

Minter was fired three days after the Bearcats (5-7) ended their season with a 43-40 loss to Louisville.

Minter has been at Cincinnati for 10 years, and with a 53-63-1 record had the most wins and losses in Bearcats' history. He had three years remaining on his contract.

Minter took Cincinnati to bowl games four of the past six seasons but had come under increasing criticism for failing to create a larger fan base and national profile.

There was more pressure on Minter to produce a consistent winner when Cincinnati accepted an invitation last month to leave Conference USA for the higher-profile Big East.

Big East officials mentioned that Louisville and South Florida -- two other Conference USA teams making the switch -- have developed a following.

Minter took note then that Cincinnati was the only one of the three schools not mentioned.

"We seem to be the least-mentioned of all the schools in football," he said. "They talked about South Florida and they talked about the excellence of Louisville. We have a tremendous opportunity here."

After a 3-0 start this year, the Bearcats lost seven of their final nine games for their first losing season in four years.

Only 11,993 fans -- slightly more than one-third of the stadium's capacity -- showed up on a cold, snowy afternoon to see the final game. One banner during the game pleaded, "Minter Please Step Down."

Athletic director Bob Goin declined to say what new job Minter has been offered.

"I believe he has some administrative talent," Goin said. "We'd be happy to have him do that."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press