NU Football: Callahan hoping for new contract

LINCOLN - The agent for Nebraska football coach Bill Callahan said "we hope and expect that Bill will get an extension" as Callahan's six-year contract passes its midway point.

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Bill Callahan
Locked up through 2009, Callahan is the only Big 12 head coach who doesn't have an original contract or extension that takes him at least through the 2010 season.

Gary O'Hagan, part of Minneapolis-based IMG, wouldn't put a timetable on when discussions might take place. He said he and Callahan haven't asked to meet with Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson, although he said it's "probably timely" for the matter to be addressed.

"Usually the school would offer it," O'Hagan said. "I think things just evolve, to tell you the truth."

Callahan has posted seasons of 5-6, 8-4 and 9-5 since becoming NU head coach, including his first Big 12 North title in 2006. He signed a six-year deal worth $1.5 million annually when he was hired Jan. 9, 2004, although his salary is now closer to $1.7 million.

Callahan referred questions to O'Hagan.

"He's worried about spring practice and next season," O'Hagan said. "He doesn't worry about (negotiation) matters. That's very low on his totem pole."

Pederson on Thursday declined specifics of where NU and Callahan might be as far as future discussions. Pederson commented: "We're very happy with the job that Bill and his staff have done with our football program at Nebraska."

Although Callahan has improved his win totals the past two seasons, he has yet to match the Huskers' record from the season before he arrived (10-3 in 2003). Last season, NU reached 6-1 and No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and was minutes from upsetting No. 5 Texas, only to see the Longhorns escape with a 22-20 victory.

"I think they've definitely shown progress every year," O'Hagan said. "They were pretty close to having a spectacular year last season."

Among other Big 12 North coaches, Mark Mangino of Kansas and Gary Pinkel of Missouri both signed extensions last fall that take them through either 2010 or 2011. Dan Hawkins at Colorado and Ron Prince at Kansas State are signed through 2010, and Gene Chizik starts at Iowa State with a six-year contract.

Among coaches in the South, Mack Brown of Texas has a contract that runs through 2014, Dennis Franchione of Texas A&M; through 2012 and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma through 2011.

O'Hagan doesn't believe Callahan's current status would be a factor in recruiting.

"I don't think three years (left) is a problem," he said. "If it's one year, I think it's an issue."

Agent disputes Ostergard comments

LINCOLN - Gary O'Hagan said he recommended Bill Callahan to Steve Pederson shortly before Callahan was hired as Nebraska football coach, disputing comments made by former Husker athletic trainer Doak Ostergard.

O'Hagan, Callahan's agent, said he was representing another client who had been offered the NU job and turned it down. Although O'Hagan didn't say specifically, he was referring to Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

When Zimmer decided to stay in Dallas, O'Hagan pitched Callahan, who had recently been fired as head coach in Oakland.

"I asked Steve why he liked that coach (Zimmer) so much, and Steve went through the reasons," O'Hagan said. "As Steve went through the reasons, I said Bill was just as good of a fit.

"Certainly the recommendations from the past players played a role, could have played a role, but to suggest that the trainer played an integral role in the process might be an exaggeration."

Ostergard told the Associated Press last week that it was "ironic the way it turned out," considering he notified Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm of Callahan's interest in the Husker position. Former NU players John Parrella and Adam Treu had told him Callahan wanted Nebraska to know he would consider coming to Lincoln.

"A number of players called to support Bill," O'Hagan said. "I think that certainly helped, but I don't think it was a make-or-break part of the process."

Mar 4, 2007 1:15 am
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