SAYING YES TO FLORIDA FOOTBALL

Strong declines Notre Dame offer

All of the Florida players are declared academically eligible for the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl game against Miami.


Published: Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 1:14 a.m.

Just like his new head coach did a few weeks ago, Florida defensive coordinator and interim head coach Charlie Strong is saying no to Notre Dame.

Strong is expected to turn down a lucrative offer from Notre Dame to be the school's defensive coordinator under new head coach Charlie Weiss. Strong will remain at UF as the Gators' co-defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, who turned down a chance to be Notre Dame's head coach earlier in the month.

The news has not become official yet because Strong has not had a chance to inform Weiss of his decision. Weiss is the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, who played in Miami on Monday night.

According to sources, Notre Dame tried to lure Strong to South Bend with a two-year contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $250,000.

Strong will be sharing the defensive coordinator's responsibility at Florida with former Notre Dame defensive line coach and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Strong and Mattison worked together at Notre Dame in the late 1990s on Lou Holtz's coaching staff.

Also Wednesday, Strong learned that all of his players will be academically eligible for the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl game against Miami. Strong said several times earlier in the week that he anticipated the Gators would not have any academic casualties.

The Gators broke for Christmas after a morning practice Tuesday and will report in Atlanta on Christmas night.

In other news, there is an arrest warrant out on sophomore defensive end Steven Harris for violation of probation. Harris has been on probation since August after being cited for driving with a suspended license earlier in the year, according to court documents. Harris was responsible for paying fines and court costs totally $258 by Nov. 6, but has not made any payments.

The arrest warrant was issued by the Alachua County Court last week. Harris can avoid arrest by paying the $258 in full.

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