SEATTLE, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- University of Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel has admitted that he did interview for a similar post with the San Francisco 49ers.
Neuheisel admitted he had lied in reading a statement to Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter John Levesque, who overheard him tell a friend he had spoken to 49ers officials in a cellphone conversation at a San Francisco airport.
"When you originally asked me, I denied any involvement," Neuheisel told Levesque. "I did so based on an agreement of confidentiality with the 49ers. I replied I had not had any contact with them when in reality I had, and I regret that a great deal. At the request of the 49ers, I had traveled to San Francisco on Sunday and met with (General Manager) Terry Donahue, (owner) John York and (consultant) Bill Walsh. I feel badly that I've misled anyone. I was only trying to keep the confidentiality I had agreed to, but in the past couple of days that confidentiality agreement weighed against my character and my credibility. I made the decision that I need to set the record straight."
The fact that Neuheisel lied initially has not sat well with supporters of Husky football.
"He was extremely remorseful when I talked to him," Ron Crockett told the paper. "I trust what he told me. I've got faith in him and I haven't turned on him in this situation."
For now, at least, he has the support of Athletic Director Barbara Hedges, who he did not tell about the interview.
"The reality is we all have an obligation at a public university to be straightforward and honest," Hedges told the paper. "The important thing is Rick has apologized, and we, as a university, have accepted his apology. Probably he has hurt his credibility. He will work very hard to repair that."
An apparently agitated Lee Huntsman, the school's interim president, has spoken with Neuheisel about the fiasco.
"I think it's relevant that the university has high expectations of all its personnel," Huntsman, who wouldn't divulge details of the talk, told the Seattle Times. "I'm satisfied he understands that. (Also) I've had extensive communication with Barbara. I'm very satisfied with the way she has managed her responsibility."