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Tennessee, Tulane fire basketball coaches after mediocre tenures

Associated Press
Published March 14, 2005


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson was fired Sunday after meeting with athletic director Mike Hamilton, two newspapers reported for today's editions.

Peterson, 41, who went 61-59 overall with no NCAA tournament appearances during his four years with the Volunteers, told family members and assistant coaches Sunday night that he had been fired.

The Tennessean and the Knoxville News Sentinel newspapers both reported the story for today's editions.

Messages left with Peterson and Hamilton by the Associated Press on Sunday night were not immediately returned.

The Vols finished 14-17 overall and 6-10 in the SEC this season, Peterson's second losing season in Knoxville.

At Tulane, Shawn Finney, 42, was fired Sunday after five seasons as men's coach at the New Orleans school.

"We are certainly appreciative of the hard work Shawn and his staff have done," athletic director Rick Dickson said in a statement. "He started with only seven scholarship players his first year and has built the program back to full strength."

Finney was 60-86 with the Green Wave, including 10-18 this season. He had one winning season and failed to take Tulane to postseason play.

ATHLETE THREATENED: Boston College guard Jermaine Watson jumped from a second-story window to escape gun-toting masked men who burst into his off-campus apartment, Boston police said.

Watson cut his ear and left hand early Saturday. He did not practice Saturday or Sunday but coach Al Skinner expected the senior to be ready for the No. 7 Eagles' first-round NCAA tournament game against Pennsylvania on Thursday in Cleveland.

"He said he's okay and he wants to play," Skinner said.

"He probably won't practice that much," teammate Jared Dudley said. "But when the game comes, he'll be ready to roll."

SWAC: Obie Trotter scored 24 points on 8-for-10 shooting from 3-point range to lead Alabama A&M to its first NCAA tournament bid with a 72-53 victory over Alabama State in the tournament championship game in Birmingham, Ala.

Trotter, the SWAC player of the year and defensive player of the year, added tournament MVP to his list of honors.

"Obie played a tremendous basketball game," A&M coach Van Pettway said. "We asked him to step it up, and he certainly did that."

After hitting just one 3-pointer in the first half, Trotter scored the first 12 points of the second half for the Bulldogs (18-13) with four straight 3s.

SOUTHLAND: By halftime, Southeastern Louisiana coach Billy Kennedy knew his team had a great chance of making its first NCAA tournament.

Ricky Woods scored 16 points and the Lions used a suffocating defense to win the championship game, 49-42 over Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La.

"Every kid dreams about the chance to play in the NCAA tournament," said center Nate Lofton, who had 10 rebounds and nine points. "Our goal since last year was to win the conference championship, the tournament championship and go to the NCAA's."

Southeastern Louisiana (24-8), the tournament's No. 2 seed, ended a 10-game winning streak for top-seeded Northwestern State (21-12) by holding the Demons to their lowest point total of the season.