Terry Bowden interested in WVU position

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia needs a coach and Terry Bowden likes the idea of making a return to coaching in his hometown.

Bowden, who grew up in Morgantown when his father, Bobby, was Mountaineers coach and played at West Virginia, has been out of coaching since 1998. Not long after Rich Rodriguez left the Mountaineers to take the Michigan job, Bowden, the former Auburn coach, let it be known he's interested in the West Virginia vacancy.

"I made a full commitment to get back into coaching almost two years ago. Coming home to West Virginia would obviously be the dream job for me," Bowden, a college football analyst on radio and for Yahoo! Sports, said in a statement released by his publicist.

When reached at his home Monday in Orlando, Fla., Bowden wouldn't say whether he's been in contact with the Mountaineers since Sunday, when it was announced Rodriguez was going to Michigan.

• Florida State must pay offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher $2.5 million if he isn't hired to replace Bobby Bowden as head coach in three years, but Fisher would have to pay an equal amount to leave before then.

Florida State released Fisher's contract Monday after the West Virginia native was mentioned in published reports as a potential candidate to take over for Rich Rodriguez as Mountaineers coach. The buyout clause would make Fisher an expensive choice.

Rodriguez left West Virginia to take over at Michigan.

Florida State also released Bowden's one-year contract that has a nearly $2.2 million base salary, including a $200,000 signing bonus, a series of incentives that could add at least $600,000 and a $1 million "lifetime achievement" bonus upon retirement.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Mariano Rivera is backing Andy Pettitte.

After completing his $45 million, three-year contract with the New York Yankees on Monday, Rivera said he was impressed with Pettitte for admitting that he used human growth hormone after his name was included in the Mitchell Report.

"The thing that I admire is that he came out and said he did it," Rivera said on a conference call.

Rivera was surprised to hear Pettitte was included last week in the report with Roger Clemens and several others on the Yankees teams that won four World Series titles from 1996-2000.

• Javy Lopez is trying a comeback with his former team, agreeing Monday to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.

The catcher was out of the majors this year after he was cut by Colorado in spring training. He played for the Braves from 1992-2003 and was selected to three All-Star teams.

Atlanta invited Lopez to spring training, where he will compete for a backup job behind starting catcher Brian McCann.

The 37-year-old Lopez is a career .287 hitter with 260 home runs and 864 RBIs. He was an All-Star with the Braves in 1997, 1998 and 2003, when he hit .328 with 43 homers and 109 RBIs -- all career bests for a full season.

• Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd met with baseball officials to discuss his use of human growth hormone.

It's uncertain whether Byrd will face any discipline from the commissioner's office or when a potential punishment might be handed down.

Among those at the meeting were Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, and Michael Weiner, general counsel for the players' association.

Before Game 7 of the AL championship series in Boston, Byrd acknowledged taking HGH after the San Francisco Chronicle reported he spent nearly $25,000 on the banned drug and syringes from 2002-05. His name was included last week in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.