Tollner Rejects Cleveland Offer

by Staff

Footballhead coach chooses to remain at SDSU for his eighth season overreturn to the NFL

Once again, the National Football League has failed to lure awaySan Diego State’s head football coach.

Yesterday morning Ted Tollner turned down an offer from ButchDavis, new head coach of the Cleveland Browns, to be their assistanthead coach/offensive coordinator.

“I believe it was the right thing for me to do for this program,”Tollner said. “I think the question is where you want to be. Where isyour gut, where is your heart right now.

“Then you see it through.”

There appears to be a sense of unfinished business. Of not winninga conference title outright since 1986. Of not appearing in amid-major bowl. Of not being a consistent draw at Qualcomm Stadium.

Before last season began, Tollner said he would like nothingbetter than to finish his career having helped make the Aztecs ahighly-respected Division I program.

True to his word, he will continue toward that goal.

“We’re not happy with what happened last year,” Tollner said. “Andthere is no way I could walk away from that. I want to see thisthrough.”

After consecutive eight-win seasons in 1995 and 1996, rumorsabounded that Tollner would return to the NFL — where he spent sevenseasons (three with the Chargers and two each with the Bills andRams).

That prompted SDSU Executive Director of Athletics Rick Bay tosign him to a 10-year contract, in an effort to promote continuity.

“Ted’s reputation speaks for itself,” Bay said. “To have anopportunity like that is a greater testimony to what people think ofhim.”

Overall, Tollner has spent 15 seasons on Montezuma Mesa, with thefirst eight (1973-80) as an assistant under Claude Gilbert, and thelast six as head coach. In 1998, after beginning the year 0-3,Tollner regrouped his team and won seven of the next eight games, enroute to a Las Vegas Bowl bid.

With bountiful experience (19 returning starters), the Aztecs areexpected to contend for another bowl bid during the upcoming season.

One of those returnees, junior wide receiver J.R. Tolver, saidTollner is the man to get the team to the next level.

“I think it’s great that he’s back,” he said. “I mean we all havea bad taste in our mouth from last year. He knows we are a step awayright now, and I think he’s going to help see to it that we get overthe top next season.”