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College basketball

Washington State chooses Bennett

©Associated Press

March 30, 2003

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Dick Bennett was hired as Washington State's coach on Saturday.

Bennett, 59, succeeds Paul Graham, who was fired this month after four losing seasons. Bennett's 25-year career is notable for turning around three Wisconsin teams, culminating in an Final Four appearance by the Badgers in 2000.

He has a career record of 453-258 with Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin.

Bennett said he is returning to coaching because he missed the game and the interaction with players, both in winning and losing.

"Of course, I'd like to die an old man, but I pray I die a passionate old man," he said. "I was starting to worry because I was beginning to enjoy golf on television."

Bennett will make a base salary of $155,000, but incentives will increase it to more than $240,000, athletic director Jim Sterk said.

GEORGIA: The school denied requests from two signees seeking releases from their national letters of intent after coach Jim Harrick's resignation.

Harrick resigned Thursday amid allegations of illegal payments and academic fraud.

The university denied a request by signee Jordan Howell of Madison, Ala., and Mohamed Abukar of San Diego said he made a similar request.

"We want to be as fair as possible to these kids," associate athletic director Damon Evans said. "The parent and the prospects may not feel that way, but we'd like to give the new coach the opportunity to visit with those prospects."

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