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Pitino expects to get UNLV job

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2001

Rick Pitino plans to head to Las Vegas early next week and, barring unforeseen obstacles, will shortly be introduced as the next coach of UNLV.

"I think it could be very soon," the former Celtics coach said Thursday. "They've made it clear that they want me. I just have to go out there and check out the situation myself. It will all be decided in the next two weeks."

Pitino has been briefed on the UNLV roster, which has eight players returning, and on the status and talents of former coach Bill Bayno's incoming recruits. He has consulted with potential staff members. His money men are working the parameters of the deal, which undoubtedly will surpass the package of around $485,000 that Bayno earned, the Boston Globe reported. The Globe also reported that there were talks between Pitino's people and representatives outside the UNLV program before he left the Celtics.

Pitino said the only possible snag could be the severity of recently imposed sanctions against the school for its handling of the Lamar Odom affair.

UNLV officials remained silent with interim coach Max Good over his future, while Pitino's attempt to smooth things over with a phone call did little to make Good feel any better about his growing sense of betrayal.

"He acted like he didn't know the job was filled," Good said. "I've got to feel he knew whether it was open or not.

"Some spirit and faith has been violated here. It's a little bit frustrating in that I was told this would be decided at the end of the year."

Other places no doubt have more appeal to Pitino, such as a return to Kentucky or taking over at UCLA. But there is no guarantee those jobs will open.

Pitino has called UCLA coach Steve Lavin to say he's not interested in the job and it isn't likely UCLA could match UNLV's salary offer.

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