Bicknell meets with school president, AD

Updated: December 2, 2003, 8:54 PM ET
Associated Press

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 Bicknell's status.

"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 games."

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 Michigan State.

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.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press