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Northern Illinois University football coach Lee Corso dismissed as...

DE KALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois University football coach Lee Corso dismissed as speculation reports that he is a leading candidate to become coach of the new Orlando Renegades of the U.S. Football League.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Sunday that Corso is the 'leading candidate' for the job to lead the Renegades. Corso met Friday night in Chicago with Renegade owners Don Dizney and Jim English.

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'I had dinner with some people I've known for a long time. We didn't talk about me leaving at all,' Corso told Public Radio station WNIU-FM on Monday.

Corso, who was fired two seasons ago from the head coaching job at the University of Indiana, is in his first season at NIU. The Huskies are 3-4-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the Mid-American Conference.

'About one-third of the conversation was about me and the USFL and my feelings about it,' said Corso, who during the year between coaching jobs worked for ABC-TV as a USFL color commentator.

Corso, struggling for a .500 record in his first year with the Huskies, termed the discussion over the USFL post a 'distraction.'

Last year, the Division I-A school won the MAC crown and the California Bowl under Coach Bill Mallory. Corso was hired last January after Mallory was picked to run the Indiana program.

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Later facing The Huskie Club, NIU's sports booster organization, Corso also was noncommittal.

'I can't speculate on it because it hasn't happened,' he said, but noted he has aspirations to coach a pro team.

'I've been coaching college football for 25 years and some day I'd like to be a professional football coach,' Corso told the boosters. 'There's a hell of a lot of guys who'd like to be professional football coaches.'

Corso said the meeting with the USFL owners was approved by NIU Athletic Director Robert Brigham.

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