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Cowboys' Job Still Up In The Air


Terry Donahue returned to California on Tuesday after another round of interviews, apparently leaving the Dallas Cowboys no closer to landing a new coach.

The former UCLA coach had a third meeting with Jones before catching an early-morning flight home, heightening speculation that things did not go well.

Still, only Jones, sons Stephen and Jerry Jr., and Donahue know for sure. And the latest developments leave the Cowboys into a fourth week of their search for a successor to Barry Switzer

Jones, who hired Jimmy Johnson and Switzer although they had no NFL coaching experience, did not return calls. He had said a new coach would be hired by mid-week, but whatever happened with Donahue seemed to rule out an imminent decision.

"There is no timetable estimate for the near future. I'm not a liberty to say whether there will be more interviews," team spokesman Rich Dalrymple said.

Jones also claims to have a "mystery" candidate he can fall back on if all else fails. And he insists he will have a coach that will have the players and fans "sitting up in their seats."

Donahue was set to fly to Indianapolis on Thursday with the Cowboys for the NFL combine and it wasn't known if that trip was still planned.

Green Bay offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis and former San Francisco coach George Seifert have had two interviews each. Lewis got to spend two nights at the Jones palace while Seifert has yet to be summoned there.

"I haven't talked to Jerry since last Friday," Lewis said. "It's frustrating waiting."

Donahue had a 20-year career at UCLA but never won a national title as had Johnson and Switzer, who quit Jan. 9 after going 6-10 in his fourth and final season as the team's coach.

Donahue, who coached Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in college, resigned from UCLA after the 1995 season. He has been working as a college football analyst for CBS.

Dallas also needs an offensive coordinator to replace Ernie Zampese, who has gone to New England, and a running backs coach to replace Joe Brodsky, who has gone to Chicago.

Jones would like to interview Brian Billick, who was Minnesota's offensive coordinator last year but whose status is unresolved for next season. Jones has yet to get permission to interview Billick, who has said he would like to come to Dallas.

Complicating the issue is the fact that the Vikings are in the process of being sold to a group led by author Tom Clancy.

Donahue, 53, took UCLA to 13 bowl games, with a record of 8-4-1 in the postseason games. However, his teams never won a national title, as Johnson did at Miami and Switzer did at Oklahoma.

In 1987, Donahue turned down a $2.4 million, five-year offer from the Atlanta because of "deep family ties" in California.
At the time, he also said the offer was a "chance to go to a neat city with a great job. I don't think an opportunity like that is going to be presented to me again."

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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