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'Bama strikes again: Shula fired

Long famed for titles, bowls and legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Alabama is gaining a reputation for something far less complimentary: coaching turnover and turmoil.

With the firing of Mike Shula on Monday, Alabama is again on the market for a head coach, its fourth in six years.

"It's what Alabama is known for right now," defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "One day we're going to find the right fit who's going to come in here and turn the program around."

Athletic director Mal Moore said he wants a "proven winner." Defensive coordinator Joe Kines will be interim coach for the bowl-eligible Crimson Tide.

Alabama thought for a time it had the right fit with Shula. Although he had no head coaching experience, he was a former Tide quarterback and son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.

And the Tide rewarded Shula with a lucrative contract after last year's 10-2 season, clearly thinking the situation was looking up.

But a 6-6 season, ending in three straight losses - to SEC weakling Mississippi State along with LSU and Auburn, two Western Division rivals Shula never could beat - signaled the end. Shula was a combined 0-for-8 against LSU and Auburn and is the only Tide coach to lose four straight to Auburn.

Moore and university president Robert Witt decided Sunday afternoon to fire Shula and start over again.

Moore praised Shula on Monday for providing "stability for our program through four years of NCAA probation" that ends Feb. 1.

"However, we did not make progress on the field this season," Moore said, "and have not been able to maintain the positive momentum necessary to return Alabama football to a place among college football's elite programs."

Moore didn't name any potential candidates for the job but said he was beginning a national search.

The most high-profile names on Tide fans' wish list - South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and the Miami Dolphins' Nick Saban - both said they were staying put.

Shula, 41, said he was "deeply disappointed" in Moore's decision. He maintained he left Alabama in better shape than the program he inherited, which was weakened by NCAA sanctions, when he replaced a fired Mike Price in May 2003.

Police seize weapons from Pata's apartment

Miami-Dade homicide detectives seized an assault rifle, shotgun, handgun, ammunition, folding rifle stock and two color photos from the apartment of slain Miami football player Bryan Pata, court documents say.

What, if any, role the weapons play in the homicide investigation remained unclear. Police declined to comment.

Pata was an avid gun collector who wanted a career in law enforcement, his family has said. He had a concealed weapons permit for a handgun. No permit is required for the shotgun and rifle.

The Miami defensive end was shot in the back of the head Nov. 7 in front of his Kendall apartment.

ARIZONA: Co-offensive coordinator Mike Canales resigned.

CINCINNATI: Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was appointed interim head coach.

IOWA STATE: Texas defensive co-coordinator Gene Chizik was introduced as head coach.

MICHIGAN STATE: Mark Dantonio, a former Spartan assistant who spent the past three seasons as head coach at Cincinnati, was officially named head coach.

NORTH CAROLINA: Butch Davis was formally introduced as head coach.

TCU: The Horned Frogs will represent the Mountain West against an at-large team in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 19 in San Diego.

UTAH: The Utes will represent the Mountain West against a Conference USA team in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

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