CLEMSON, S.C., Dec. 9 -- Passed over for the head coaching job at Tulane, offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez Wednesday opted to follow the departed Tommy Bowden and join the football staff at Clemson. Rodriguez was in line for the head coaching position when Bowden left to take over Clemson after an 11-0 season with the Green Wave. But when Georgia assistant Chris Scelfo was given the job, Rodriguez decided to follow Bowden. 'My prayers have been answered with the hiring of Rich Rodriguez,' Bowden said. 'As a head coach, there are a lot of other things besides Xs and Os that you have to be involved in from a public relations standpoint. This will give me a larger comfort zone in those areas with the addition of Rich.' Rodriguez molded the Tulane offense into a powerful unit behind pupil Shaun King, who led the nation in passing effiency this season, throwing for 3,232 yards and 36 touchdowns. Before joining Tulane for the 1997 season, Rodriguez was the head coach at Glenville State College in West Virginia and led the school to the 1993 NAIA Division I championship game. His teams led the conference in offense six times, led the nation in 1993 and '94, and compiled a 45- 36-2 record. But the ties to West Virginia -- and not Louisiana -- likely cost Rodriguez the Tulane head coaching job. Instead, the administration opted for Scelfo, a Louisiana native they felt would be committed to staying with the program for the long haul.
Scelfo will coach the Green Wave on New Year's Eve in the Liberty Bowl without the help of Rodriguez. Bowden already named former South Carolina head coach Brad Scott, Rodney Allison, Burton Burns, Reggie Herring, Jack Hines, Thielen Smith, Rick Stickstill and Ron West as assistant coaches. Though the school said no positional assignments have been determined, Rodriguez is expected to be offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Tigers. Under Rodriguez at Glenville, Chris George became the all-time leading receiver in college football with 430 catches for more than 6, 000 yards. He started his coaching career in 1985 at his alma mater, West Virginia, and stayed within the state as an assistant at Salem College the following two seasons. He became the youngest head coach in the nation in 1988 when he took over the Salem program at age 24. He went back to West Virginia in 1989 as linebackers coach before leaving for Glenville.