Dawg Sports has learned that the latest candidate to fill the head coaching vacancy at the University of Alabama has declined to take the job.
Travis Rice, 32, informed Dawg Sports in an exclusive interview that he had "heard his name mentioned" and been contacted "through back channels" about the prospect of succeeding the recently fired Mike Shula as the head coach of the Crimson Tide football team.
Rice is the latest candidate to have spurned the Tide, following in the footsteps of Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Jim Grobe, Rich Rodriguez, Donald Rumsfeld, Jay Leno, and the entire cast of "Arrested Development," each of whom publicly announced that he, she, or they would not accept the job.
Rice, a former reporter and current high school teacher, is best known in the sports world as the co-host of "The Dawg Show," a television program devoted to Georgia Bulldogs football which aired on local cable in Henry County from 1999 to 2004.
For the entire six-year run of "The Dawg Show," Rice appeared on the program alongside current Dawg Sports author T. Kyle King, a longtime family friend. Rice is married to King's sister-in-law, whom Rice met when both he and his future bride were members of the King wedding party.
Although none of the foregoing makes him even remotely qualified to be a head football coach at the Division I-A level, Rice's resume also includes stints as an assistant coach for his daughter's T-ball and softball teams. In the latter capacity, he helped guide a 10-and-under girls' softball squad to a runner-up finish in the county-wide playoffs.
After paying his dues during a three-year stint as an assistant coach, Rice was promoted to head coach of a girls' team in the local youth association basketball league. Since entering teaching, Rice also has served one year as a middle school track coach.
"I coached middle school track," Rice explained, "but we practiced at the high school."
While some among the Crimson Tide faithful have questioned whether Rice's resume really has prepared him for the rigorous demands of coaching Bear Bryant's former football team, Alabama athletic director Mal Moore has pointed out that Rice has approximately as much coaching experience as Shula did at the time he was hired.
"If Trav had a last name like 'Spurrier' or 'Stoops' or 'Schottenheimer' or 'Schnellenberger,' I wouldn't be hearing any complaining," grumbled the increasingly surly Moore to inquiring reporters.
Rice was pleased to report that, although he never seriously considered accepting the Alabama job, he was able to parlay his feigned interest in the position into a hefty raise from his present employer, as Rice's principal nearly doubled his previous salary in order to keep him in a high school classroom.
Rice, who teaches advanced placement courses, said he was unwilling to give up the opportunity to work with college-caliber students for the chance to coach University of Alabama athletes.