April 18, 2003
OLEAN, N.Y. -- St. Bonaventure fired coach Jan van Breda Kolff and accepted athletic director Gothard Lane's resignation Thursday, six weeks after the team boycotted games over an ineligible player.
The school also accepted the resignation of assistant coach Kort Wickenheiser, whose father was the school's president.
The moves followed the release of an investigative report that described the men's program as being in "turmoil." The report said the president was "preoccupied" with the success of the program and that the coaching staff was "in constant conflict, real or perceived, with athletic department administrators."
University interim president the Rev. Dominic Monti said van Breda Kolff was offered an opportunity to resign on Wednesday, but had not responded.
Van Breda Kolff would not comment on his firing Thursday, saying he was waiting to hear from St. Bonaventure.
"Nobody's given me any formal notification," he said.
Van Breda Kolff, Lane and Wickenheiser were placed on administrative leave in March, shortly after the Atlantic 10 sanctioned the team for using center Jamil Terrell, who was declared ineligible for violating junior college transfer guidelines.
The team was stripped of six conference victories and barred from the postseason. Players voted to boycott their final two games in protest, a move that cost the school more than $120,000 in fines.
In a review of the program, officials found three NCAA violations and placed the heaviest blame on president Robert Wickenheiser. He resigned at the board's urging March 9 after taking full responsibility for approving Terrell's transfer last year.
Terrell, who spent two seasons at Coastal Georgia Community College in Brunswick, Ga., was ruled ineligible because he didn't have an associate's degree. He earned a certificate in welding at his former school.
Committee chairman Jack McGinley said Terrell had done nothing improper.
UK's Estill enters draft
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Marquis Estill will not return to Kentucky next season. The senior announced that he has entered the NBA draft.
Estill entered Kentucky as a partial qualifier and according to NCAA rules, sat out his freshman season. He played three years at Kentucky and could have returned a fourth year had he graduated by the fall.
"I just decided that this would be in the best interest for me and my family," Estill said. "It was a tough decision because it has been very special for me to wear that Kentucky uniform and represent this university and our great fans each and every game."
The 6-foot-9 center started all 36 games and was third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 points and six rebounds. He helped the Wildcats sweep the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1952, a 32-4 record and an Elite Eight appearance.
Estill leaves as the school's all-time leader in field-goal percentage at 60.1 percent.
FORD UPDATE: Texas point guard T.J. Ford played down the severity of his injury in a pickup game, saying he "took a spill" and was taken to the hospital only as a precaution.
University officials would not provide information about the All-American's injury, citing federal privacy laws. Ford issued a statement thanking those who treated him, but did not reveal specifics.
Ford spent about four hours in the emergency room Wednesday night after he was injured during a game at a campus gym. Team spokesman Scott McConnell would say only that Ford's injury was not life-threatening.
A student who saw the injury said Ford was slapped on the back of the neck during the game and fell to the floor. The student, Seth Galton, told the Austin American-Statesman the contact appeared "very minor," even though an ambulance was called to the scene.