Originally created 04/10/03

Zook says he wants to prove himself before getting extension



It's common for a coach to ask an athletic director for a contract extension. Ron Zook took a different approach.

The Florida coach went to Gators AD Jeremy Foley and asked him not to give him an extension on the five-year deal he signed last year.

"He said he didn't want to talk about that," Foley said Wednesday. "He said, 'I want to prove my stripes and we'll do it when I do."'

Coming off a tumultuous 8-5 rookie season, Zook will head into 2003 with four years left on the five-year, $5.1 million deal he signed when Foley hired him to replace Steve Spurrier.

Like many athletic directors, Foley has often tried to keep multiple years on his coaches' contracts so others can't use a short contract against them in recruiting.

"But the purpose of the contract isn't to keep it at a five-year base forever," Foley said.

He said the two were talking about the issue, and Zook immediately stopped any talk of an extension.

"Certainly it shows what kind of person he is," Foley said in an earlier interview with Florida Today.

Zook did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.

Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan also has four years left on his contract, and Foley said the two will sit down soon to talk about an extension.