Former Citadel assistant coach Paul Hamilton has told his bosses at Brevard College that he wants to be next football coach at The Citadel.

Hamilton, who has been head coach at Division II Brevard for seven years, notified the Brevard administration this week that he would pursue the job at The Citadel, left vacant Monday when Kevin Higgins left for Wake Forest.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby has decided to hire a coach who can build on the triple-option offense Higgins installed four years ago, and hopes to have a new coach in place in the first week of January. That would enable the Bulldogs to perhaps get in a couple of recruiting weekends before the Feb. 6 national signing day.

Hamilton, 55, is a Charleston native who has been head coach at two other Southern Conference schools, East Tennessee State and Elon.

He helped Wofford coach Mike Ayers install the triple-option offense as an assistant there, and was an assistant under Fisher DeBerry at Air Force from 1990-96.

DeBerry, now retired, is one of the former coaches serving on an unofficial "advisory committee" for Leckonby.

At East Tennessee State, Hamilton had a record of 38-41, with four winning records in seven seasons. At Elon, he was 6-14 in two seasons.

His best success came as a quarterbacks coach at Air Force, where he coached Beau Morgan. In 1994-95, Morgan became the only Division quarterback at the time to twice rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 1,000 yards in the same season.

In the three seasons Hamilton served as QB coach and play-caller, the Falcons finished second in the nation in rushing three times. An Appalachian State graduate, Hamilton was an assistant coach at The Citadel in 1981.

In other coaching search notes:

. North Carolina A&T offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle told WCIV-TV he's also interested in The Citadel job. Bustle, a Summerville native and Clemson grad, was head coach at Louisana-Lafayette and offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech and South Carolina.

. Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston, another target of Citadel speculation, leads his 13-1 team against Northwest Missouri State for the Division II national championship at noon Saturday on ESPN2.