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New York Times: Byrne targeted Urban Meyer for Arizona job

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne keeps searching. Photo by Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com

If the following is true, then you know Arizona Wildcats athletic director Greg Byrne isn’t afraid to aim high as he searches for a replacement for Mike Stoops, who was fired at midseason.

According to a story from Pete Thamel of the New York Times:

Urban Meyer met with Arizona’s athletic director, Greg Byrne, in Miami early last week to discuss the Wildcats’ job, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, but ultimately decided he was not interested. The person said that Meyer, who has expressed his desire to return to coaching, was intrigued but informed Byrne in a telephone call Monday night that he was not going to pursue the job.”

Meyer is the most desirable coaching free agent, leaving Florida — where he won two national championships — after last season because of health reasons. The question is: Will he coach again next season and where?

Meanwhile, there has been little news leaking from Byrne’s coaching search, which is into its second month. He said in October he hoped to have a new coach in place soon after the end of the regular season.

The usual names mentioned as potential targets are former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, Boise State coach Chris Peterson, Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora.

As more coaching jobs become open, Byrne is going to have competition for the top-tier guys … and, who knows, he might soon be competing against Arizona State, which has lost two in a row heading into Saturday’s rivalry game with the Wildcats. Coach Dennis Erickson’s contract runs through the 2012 season.

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