Ex-Raider coach arrived in Lincoln on Wednesday

Updated: January 8, 2004, 10:57 PM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Former Oakland Raiders' coach Bill Callahan accepted the Nebraska football job Thursday after interviewing with the school, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported.

Callahan's agent, Gary O'Hagan, said the coach told him earlier Thursday that he likes Lincoln and was interested in the job.

Callahan met with Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson in the afternoon. Callahan told the Lincoln Journal Star that he planned to be in town for the day.

Nebraska associate athletic director Mark Boehm said earlier Thursday the search for a new Nebraska football coach would be over soon.

Boehm filled in for Pederson at the Nebraska Special Olympics Breakfast of Champions on Thursday in Omaha. He said Pederson missed the event because his interview with Callahan was not completed Wednesday night.

"I tell you this, this will come to a close shortly," Boehm told The Associated Press.

Pederson has acknowledged interviewing Arkansas coach Houston Nutt and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer turned down an offer from Nebraska on Monday to remain in the pros, Dallas coach Bill Parcells said. Last week, Nutt rejected Nebraska's $2 million offer.

Pederson also expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders, but Saunders wanted to continue his career in the NFL and withdrew from consideration.

Callahan's flight was late getting to Lincoln on Wednesday, which required the interview be continued Thursday, Boehm said.

Callahan's meeting with Nebraska officials comes only a week after he was fired by the Raiders following a 4-12 season.

The Huskers have been looking for a coach since Frank Solich was fired Nov. 29 -- a day after leading the Huskers to a 9-3 regular season.

Callahan, who led the Raiders to the Super Bowl two years ago, was fired by Oakland shortly after quarterback Rich Gannon criticized Callahan and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman for a bad offensive system.

Callahan would be a perfect fit for Nebraska, O'Hagan, said Tuesday night.

Interviews reportedly were held Wednesday with interim Nebraska coach and defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, quarterbacks coach Turner Gill, and other candidates.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press