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Trustees await word from UA’s Witt, Moore on Shula

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP) &045; University of Alabama trustees are waiting for recommendations from UA president Robert Witt and Athletics Director Mal Moore on Coach Mike Shula’s future with the Crimson Tide.

No announcement is expected through the Thanksgiving weekend while Witt spends the holiday with his family.

McMahon, in the Virgin Islands to watch the Alabama basketball team play in the Paradise Jam final, said there has been &8220;no board meeting, no committee meeting and no private discussion on this.&8221;

Alabama wrapped up a 6-6 regular season with a 22-15 loss to Auburn on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, dropping Shula’s record against the Tigers to 0-4 &045; the only Tide coach to ever lose four in a row to Auburn.

Shula’s overall record in four seasons is 26-23, but this season the program fell back from its 10-2 mark in 2005 and still has not beaten Auburn or LSU. The Tide’s 24-16 home loss to Mississippi State on Nov. 4 also disappointed Tide fans.

Witt and Moore are expected to meet with Shula soon to discuss the direction of the program.

Shula is guaranteed a $3 million buyout, plus $200,000 for every year remaining on his contract, which would put the final tab in the neighborhood of $4 million. That money would come from sources other than state funds.

Added athletics committee member Peter Lowe: &8220;The trustees are looking for a response from Mal and Dr. Witt.&8221;

Several members of the committee pointed out Alabama is still awaiting word on its bowl future, and one went so far as to say that Shula &8220;coached a pretty good football game on Saturday.&8221;

Alabama is guaranteed a berth in an SEC-affiliated bowl if two SEC teams are involved in Bowl Championship Series games. The Crimson Tide would also be virtually assured of a bowl berth with SEC ties if South Carolina loses its regular-season finale at Clemson on Saturday.

The Gamecocks (6-5) played in last year’s Independence Bowl, and the bowl based in Shreveport, La., which has the final pick of qualified SEC teams, leans toward SEC West teams when they are available.

The bowl limbo and the upcoming holiday are expected to give Witt and Moore time to fully assess the Tide football program before making any decision and passing it to the board.