Louisiana State coach Mike Archer, in a teary farewell, said Thursday he will resign at the end of the season. The Tigers, a disappointing 4-5, play Saturday at Mississippi State before meeting Tulane on Nov.24 in their traditional finale.
"What I did is in the best interest of the football team," Archer, 37, said during a brief news conference. "It's in my best interest. I need to get on with my life. They need to get on with theirs."
Archer, who was an assistant coach at Miami when the Hurricanes won their first national title in 1983, was the youngest Division I-A head coach when he was hired four years ago. He has a 26-17-1 record in his first head coaching job.
On Wednesday night, Baton Rouge's WBRZ-TV reported Archer would be fired at the end of the season.
"To be a head football coach, you have to recruit," Archer said. "I felt like the report has killed recruiting.
"I must emphasize that I was not put under any pressure to resign. We leave here with our heads held high."
LSU athletic director Joe Dean said that about six weeks ago he hired a national executive search firm to produce a list of candidates, should that become necessary. He said hiring the firm probably added fuel to the rumors that Archer would be fired.
Archer would not comment on what he thought of Dean starting a preliminary search.
Dean said Archer's contract, which has two years left at $88,400 per year, will be honored.
Archer sported the best first-year record by an LSU head coach in 1987 when the Tigers were 10-1-1 and went to the Gator Bowl. That was followed by an 8-4 record in 1988 and 4-7 in 1989.
On Thursday, Archer said the football program needed to regain stability.
"In the eyes of a lot of people in this country, the way things are handled here are a joke," Archer said as a large group of his players applauded.
Irish nix Jankovich's national title plan
CORAL GABLES _ University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich spent most of last weekend on the phone scrambling unsuccessfully to produce a "national-championship package" with the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Miami, Notre Dame and the CBS and NBC television networks.
Under the arrangement, the team ranked higher at the end of the season between Miami and Notre Dame would've played second-ranked Colorado in the Orange Bowl. The other team would've gone to the Cotton Bowl.
But top-ranked Notre Dame, which saw no advantage in waiting until after its final two games, agreed to accept an Orange Bowl invitation. Third-ranked Miami had to settle for the Cotton Bowl.
"If I was Notre Dame, I definitely would have agreed to the package," Jankovich said. "You don't want to be apologetic about your team. You have to earn a chance to play in a title game. If I'm in the same situation two or three years from now, I'll practice what I preach."
Notre Dame spokesman John Heisler said he understands "what Sam is saying. But his problem is with the system, not Notre Dame.
"If Miami had one or two less losses, then they would have this option."
Around the nation
Kent State: Coach Dick Crum, whose teams have won only six games in three seasons, was fired Wednesday night. Crum, who previously coached at Miami of Ohio and North Carolina, had a 1-9 record this season and will coach the team Saturday in its season finale against Eastern Michigan.
Texas A&M: Six players and a former player have been charged with misdemeanor theft of service in alleged misuse of telephone charge cards. Head coach R.C. Slocum said the players won't be suspended for Saturday's game at Arkansas.
Ivy League: ESPN's contract with the conference has expired, and the cable network says it plans to beef up its Big Ten coverage next season. But ESPN senior vice president Loren Matthews said there may be room for two or three Ivy games.