Former Redskin coach George Allen has been approached by Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown about the possibility of becoming head football coach at the University of Kentucky.
Both Allen and a Kentucky athletic department spokesman confirmed yesterday that Allen has talked to Brown about the possibility of replacing Fran Curci, the Wildcats' coach the past eight years.
Randy Stacy, Kentuck's assistant sports information director, said, "Yes, he has been contacted," but declined further comment.
In its editions yesterday, the Lexington (Ky.) Leader quoted Allen, 59, as saying he had spoken with Brown about the coaching job, but that "we talk about a lot of things." Commenting on the matter would be "inappropriate" at this time, Allen told the newspaper, adding that he had been a guest at Brown's home last weekend.
Neither Allen nor the university's athletic director, Cliff Hagan, was available to comment to The Washington Post yesterday.Frank Ashley, Brown's press secretary, said "It's inappropriate to discuss it at this time."
Allen did tell United Press International: "We've talked about it, but there is nothing serious. I have a (sportcasting) contract with CBS and they have a coach. I've known the governor and Phyllis (George, the governor's wofe) from trips to the Derby. There's really nothing serious."
However, a source close to the governor said Brown and Otis Singletary, university president, had discussed hiring Allen six months ago. "A guy like George Allen doesn't come along every day," the source said, adding that he did not "know what the time frame is, whether it's next week, next year or the year after."
Allen coached the Redskins from 1971 until 1978, when he was fired and replaced by Jack Pardee. He has been out of coaching since the Los Angeles Rams fired him in the summer of 1979. His name also has been linked to a number of other coaching vacancies, college and professional.
For the last two seasons, Allen has worked as a color analyst on NFL telecasts for the CBS network. Phyllis George also works for CBS Sports as a member of the "NFL Today" staff.
Happy Chandler of Lexington, the 82-year-old former baseball commissioner and two-time Kentucky governor who has also been a member of Kentucky's athletic board for 46 years, said yesterday the board has not discussed making a coaching change. He also said Allen's name had not been brought up, but that he also had heard Brown was interested in getting Allen to coach the team.
"That's what I've heard, that the governor wants to replace Curci with Allen," said Chandler, a Curci supporter. "But Curci just had bad luck last season. Replacing him and not extending the contract wouldn't have been an issue if only a few more games had gone his way last season."
Brown and Curci reportedly have a strong dislike for each other, stemming from Curci's refusal to join Brown's gubernatorial campaign in November 1979. Brown, one of the major financial donors to the university and a longtime athletic booster, had been instrumental in bringing Curci, formerly a University of Miami coach, to Kentucky in 1972.
A Curci endorsement was especially important to Brown because Kentucky Basketball Coach Joe B. Hall had publicly supported another Democratic candidate, Terry McBrayer. Curci said at the time that he didn't feel politics and athletics should mix.
Since 1972, Kentucky's football program has been tainted by personel problems and several off-the-field incidents, including one player's conviction on a negligent-homicide charge in 1974.
Seven other players were suspended from the team two years ago after being charged with raping a student, accoarding to the Kentucky athletic department. Another three players, including one who shared quarterback duties, were suspended last spring for a food fight in a university cafeteria. Also, two months ago, two players were indicted on sexual-assault charges.
Curci's record last season was 3-8. In eight seasons, his record is 44-43-2. There are reports that Brown's friends are trying to raise money to buy up Curci's contract. The 22-member Kentucky Athletic Board did not routinely extend Curci's five-year contract another year in December.Curci has about 3 1/2 years remaining on the contract.
"There is no question that Brown has been dissatisfied with Kentucky's football program," the source said. "There's been a lack of discipline and numerous off-the-field controversies . . . You don't solve a problem by continuing to put up with it."