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Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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UW Football

Lawyers, UW brass still talking

Seattle Times staff reporter

Discussions between Rick Neuheisel's lawyers and Washington officials continued yesterday, but little was said by any of the actors in the Montlake soap opera that began almost two weeks ago.

UW athletic director Barbara Hedges said she would not comment on discussions with Neuheisel's representatives, but did say a new football coach would be named "soon."

Two of Neuheisel's lawyers, Jerry Crawford and Phil Roeder, flew back to Des Moines, Iowa, after a heavy day of meetings Sunday.

Hedges, meanwhile, decided at the last minute to play in a booster golf tournament at Washington National in Auburn.

As for the coaching search, Hedges said, "We will have something to say very soon. I'm not going to say (today), but very soon."

Keith Gilbertson, UW's offensive coordinator, also played in the golf tournament. All indications are that Gilbertson will be named to replace Neuheisel, who was told he was being fired last week.

"I don't know anything about anything," Gilbertson said last night at the golf course.

Hedges said again last night that Gilbertson's participation in a 1999 Final Four pool in the Huskies' football office with a $3 entry fee will not affect her decision. Hedges also said she's talked with one coach outside the UW staff.

"I've gotten a number of calls, but I've only talked to one person, and that was only to hear them express interest in the position," said Hedges, who would not say who the outside coach was.

Hedges already has said that all nine of Neuheisel's assistants will be retained.

Washington hosts a Nike All-Star camp for prospective high-school recruits Friday at Husky Stadium — the first time it has hosted such an event.

It also hosts its high-school football camp Saturday through Tuesday. The camp, still officially named the Rick Neuheisel Football Camp on the school's Web site — is a key part of UW's recruiting season. It is the one time that coaches are free to interact with high-school players without many restrictions. It is common for high-school players to commit on the spot during the camp.

"We may have the need to get back to Seattle later this week," Roeder said. "Who knows? It's one of those things where something could happen (today) or by the end of the week. There is no hard-and-fast timetable to this."

Though Neuheisel made an appeal Saturday for Washington to keep him as coach — offering to resign with no settlement if found guilty by the NCAA of a major infraction for gambling — most figure his lawyers are negotiating a settlement and laying the groundwork to take action against the NCAA.

Crawford also worked for Larry Eustachy, former Iowa State basketball coach, last month. Eustachy was suspended after pictures of him drinking at a college party in Missouri were published in a newspaper.

Eustachy was initially suspended with the Iowa State athletic director recommending he be fired. Eustachy had five days to appeal to the president's office, during which time Crawford publicly said that he was working to allow Eustachy to keep his job. But on the day of the deadline to appeal, the school agreed to a settlement of $960,000, avoiding a potentially drawn-out legal fight.

Neuheisel was suspended with pay last Thursday with Hedges saying he was being terminated with "just cause."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2003 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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