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Kest quits after just week in Lions job

Jodi Beth Kest resigns to take care of a family matter, but Saint Leo lines up another head coach the next day.

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002

SAINT LEO -- How's this for a quick turnaround?

This past Monday morning, Saint Leo athletic director Fran Reidy accepted the resignation of coach Jodi Beth Kest, who held the job for a week.

But Reidy had a verbal acceptance from Kerri Reaves by Tuesday afternoon.

"It's not a total disaster," Reidy said.

The AD said Reaves plans to be on campus Monday to sign paperwork and meet the players.

Reaves, a Providence assistant coach for six seasons, played at Marquette.

The 29-year-old was among four finalists to replace Dave Wilson, who coached Saint Leo for three seasons before resigning in March. Kest was hired April 30, but left campus Monday for a "family matter," Reidy said.

Reidy does not consider Reaves the school's second choice -- "more like 1A," he said.

Reidy said he was impressed with Reaves' "tenacity and her background as a player. She's probably able to show them as well as tell them."

Kest coached Gannon in Erie, Pa., before accepting the Saint Leo position.

At Gannon, she turned around a program with nine consecutive losing years by guiding that NCAA Division II school to three straight 20-win seasons.

"Obviously, family issues are important to us," Reidy said.

He said Kest "didn't elaborate, and I wasn't going to pry."

"She said it was a family matter she needed to attend to and it wasn't going to be resolved (any time soon)," Reidy said.

Reidy, who said he had no telephone number for Kest, believed Kest had left the state and is in Cleveland.

"Let's move on," Reidy said.

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