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Coach Russ Huesman watches his team during the first day of football practice for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

LATESTRuss Huesman has accepted an offer to become the head coach at Richmond.

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UPDATE: Huesman spent Tuesday night in Richmond, meeting with Keith Gill, the school's athletic director. A decision is expected today.

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga did everything it could to make itself a formidable player in the Russ Huesman sweepstakes.

Now all the UTC officials and fans can do is wait. The same thing goes for Richmond.

As expected, the Richmond administration targeted Huesman as the replacement for football coach Danny Rocco, who left Tuesday to become the head coach at Delaware.

Reports started to circulate late Monday evening that Rocco was expected to leave the Virginia school, and Huesman — the Spiders' defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2008 — was widely considered the top choice.

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Richmond, which finished 10-4 this year and fell in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, is a private school and doesn't have to release salary figures, but it was believed that Rocco earned $437,672 a year as the program's head coach.

A source told the Times Free Press that Richmond was prepared to offer Huesman, who makes $230,738 a year with a base of $180,000, a salary in the $430,000 range.

Simple, right?

Not quite.

Once Rocco decided to take the Delaware job, Richmond quickly offered its job to Huesman. At that point, the UTC administration made a push, with sources telling the Times Free Press that Huesman was offered a package in the range of $325,000 to stay, which would amount to a sizable bump. Another source told the Times Free Press that included in Huesman's bump will be a "big raise" in the assistant pool.

"It will make UTC's assistant pool one of the best in the country," the source said.

That made what already was going to be a tough decision much more difficult.

Huesman, a 1984 UTC graduate, is 59-37 in eight seasons as the head coach of the Mocs. In his last four seasons, he is 36-16, with a 25-5 mark in the Southern Conference. Three consecutive seasons (2013-15) ended in SoCon championship, and the last three ended in FCS playoff appearances.

The Mocs were 9-4 in 2016, falling 41-35 to top-ranked Sam Houston State in the second round of the playoffs.

If Huesman does decide to leave, either he or Richmond will be responsible for paying UTC 80 percent of his base salary, which amounts to about $145,000 a year until 2020. That amount would help the school hire a search firm to help find his successor.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.

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