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'Bama Hires TCU's Franchione

Alabama has hired TCU football coach Dennis Franchione to turn around the Crimson Tide, opting for someone with no ties to the school.

Franchione said he and Alabama athletic director Mal Moore have agreed to a seven-year deal worth between $1.2 million and $1.4 million a year.

Alabama spokeswoman Janet Griffith confirmed Franchione's hiring.

Franchione replaces Mike DuBose, who resigned Nov. 1, effective at the end of the season. Alabama finished 3-8, the Crimson Tide's worst record in 45 years.

Franchione, who has coached TCU to three straight winning season, couldn't pass up the opportunity at tradition-rich Alabama.

"It went faster than I thought it'd go," said Franchione, who first met with Moore on Thursday. "It's been a wonderful three years. People have been great to us. There's not any kind of negative to TCU whatsoever for me.

"It's just the University of Alabama," Franchione said, speaking in Fort Worth, Texas.

He said he hoped to coach the 13th-ranked Horned Frogs (10-1) through the Dec. 20 Mobile Alabama Bowl.

Franchione inherited a 1-10 team at TCU three years ago and has taken the school to bowl games each season.

The Horned Frogs' first practice for the bowl was cut short Thursday. As the team huddled after a 75-minute practice, Franchione told of his plans to talk to Moore, prompting some players to chant "Stay, Fran, stay."

Franchione rejected Missouri, where his close friend Mike Alden is the athletic director. His name has also been linked to several other jobs, including Arizona State, one of four schools that would only have a reduced buyout of the coach's current contract.

Alabama is not among those four schools, and would reportedly have to pay $1 million to buy out Franchione's TCU contract, which runs through 2005.

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