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Southern Methodist basketball coach Dave Bliss said he'll discuss taking the University of New Mexico's coaching job now that his former mentor, Indiana's Bobby Knight, has turned it down.

"I'm going to go to Albuquerque tomorrow, for sure," Bliss said Monday. "I have no idea whether they will offer me the job."And, Bliss said, he doesn't know that he'll take it if it is offered. "I would not know that until the time comes," he said.

Bliss spoke with SMU Athletic Director Doug Single and school president Kenneth Pye about the position Monday.

"I told them I'm very happy with the program here, but I'm professionally interested in going to Albuquerque," Bliss said.

Sources have said Bliss is considered the top contender for the job.

But Single said New Mexico's extended infatuation with Knight may affect the Western Athletic Conference school's chances of luring Bliss.

"What New Mexico needs to know is that they put him on the back burner for the past two weeks," Single said of Bliss. "The fact remains - whether he's still interested remains to be seen."

Single said Bliss may be interested in the move to Albuquerque because his wife's parents live in the state.

Bliss, 44, is stepping out of the shadows of Knight, his former boss and mentor, Ridings said. "He's outgrown the Bobby Knight-protege image."

Maybe the image - but in a sense, if Bliss takes the Lobos' job, he will be following in the footsteps of the man he worked for at Army and Indiana.

Knight turned down the Lobos' offer Monday, and New Mexico apparently is turning to Bliss. New Mexico school officials have said Knight and Bliss were the only two candidates being considered for the job.