RUSTON, La. -- Jack Bicknell just concluded his fifth season
as Louisiana Tech's football coach, but whether he gets the
opportunity to return for a sixth is still undecided.
Bicknell met with school president Dan Reneau and athletic
director Jim Oakes to discuss his future and the program's
progress. After the meeting, Oakes was noncommittal about
"We just visited about the direction of the program and
discussed the season," Oakes said. "It's all part of a process to
evaluate where we are with the football program and where we want
to go. We discussed the good and the bad. We hope to have a clear
statement about our direction soon."
Bicknell's future came into question following the Bulldogs'
second consecutive losing season. Tech finished the 2003 season
with a dismal 49-14 loss to Rice, which left the Bulldogs with a
5-7 overall record and sixth-place finish in the Western Athletic
Conference after finishing 4-8 in 2002.
"We had high hopes for this season and with this senior team we
thought we could reach a bowl and that obviously didn't happen and
we're all disappointed by that," Oakes said. "We continue to have
high expectations for the program and continue to strive to have a
football program that has an annual goal to participate in bowl
Bicknell was promoted in 1998 as Tech's 30th head coach after
two seasons as the offensive line coach under Gary Crowton.
Bicknell is 27-32 overall in his five years, including an 8-3
record his first season and a 7-5 mark in 2001 when the Bulldogs
claimed the WAC championship. Tech earned a berth in the
Humanitarian Bowl, where it lost to Clemson, and Bicknell was named
WAC Coach of the Year.
Bicknell has also authored three of the biggest wins in school
history, a 29-28 win over Alabama in 1998, a 39-36 season-opening
win over Oklahoma State in '02 and this season's 20-19 win over
After Monday's meeting, Bicknell said he would be surprised if
he were not allowed to return.
If Tech fires Bicknell, it would be obligated to pay $450,000 to
buy out the remaining three years on his contract.
Bicknell signed a five-year contract extension after winning the
WAC in '01 that pays him a base salary of $150,000 per season.