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Iowa won the Holiday Bowl but may lose a...

By MIKE BARNES, UPI Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO -- Iowa won the Holiday Bowl but may lose a coach. San Diego State lost the game but thinks it gained something just by being there.

Hayden Fry, who coached the Hawkeyes to a thrilling 39-38 victory over the Aztecs Tuesday night, may be following former Iowa basketball Coach George Raveling to Southern Cal to accept the vacant football job.

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Then again, he may not.

'We're in a holding pattern right now,' Fry said Wednesday morning when reached at his hotel. 'I don't know how much longer we are going to wait. My coaching staff is interested in looking into it. Something should happen in the next few days.'

Fry has spoken with USC Athletic Director Mike McGee but no appointment was made. He has been given permission from Iowa Athletic Director Bump Elliott to talk about the job.

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Fry said he will remain in San Diego this week for a coaches association meeting that begins Sunday. That could give him an opportunity to meet with McGee.

The Trojans are looking to replace Ted Tollner, whom they fired Dec. 8. Tollner is staying on to coach the team in Thursday's Florida Citrus Bowl.

When USC needed a basketball coach to replace Stan Morrison this year, they turned to Iowa. The lure of the big city -- plus big money - appealed to the cosmopolitan Raveling.

Might that also appeal to Fry?

'He's not going to leave,' said Rob Houghtlin, whose game-winning 41-yard field goal with no time remaining Tuesday night gave the Hawkeyes a 9-3 record. 'Hayden Fry loves Iowa. His players love him. The state loves him. There ain't nothing in Los Angeles.

'What I'm saying is no university in the world can offer him what Iowa offers him. Money's not an issue with Coach Fry. He's such a genuine man. If they offer him so much money, he won't go.'

Still, Iowa fans are viewing the team's future with much trepidation. Meanwhile, the Aztecs and their faithful look forward to the days ahead.

San Diego State knows it has made great strides. The Aztecs won their first Western Athletic Conference crown, appeared in their first bowl since 1969 and finished 8-4 under first-year Coach Denny Stolz.

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'This was like the Super Bowl for us,' said fullback Corey Gilmore. 'We were trying to be the first team at State to win a big bowl game. This does mean a lot for us for the future. We'll be able to recruit a great deal better players who'll be coming here instead of USC or UCLA.'

Despite the absence of two starters, San Diego State played well. Anthony Conyers, the club's top wide receiver, tested positive for cocaine and was suspended last week.

And shortly before Tuesday night's game, the Aztecs announced cornerback Clarence Nunn tested positive for use of methamphetamines. The team disputed the test results, saying they were caused by a nasal spray Nunn was using to relieve the flu.

Methamphetamine is also known as crystal meth, and is described on the street as 'a poor man's cocaine.' David Cawood, the NCAA Director of Communications, Tuesday told a San Diego Union reporter: 'If you're naive enough to believe he's out of the game because of a nasal inhaler, then you write it.'

On Wednesday, Nunn held a news conference and said he was an innocent victim of the NCAA's drug-testing policy.

'I have nothing to hide,' he said. 'The NCAA should come up with some kind of a list for the common names of the drugs. I just want to clear my name because last night they said two San Diego State athletes would not be eligible, Anthony Conyers for cocaine, and Clarence Nunn.'

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