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Mens college basketball briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


Amaker leaves Seton Hall for Michigan job

DETROIT -- Tommy Amaker, the 35-year-old Mike Krzyzewski protege who coached Seton Hall the past four seasons, accepted the Michigan job Wednesday.

Amaker agreed to a five-year contract with the school worth between $700,000 and $725,000 a season, the Detroit Free Press reported. He replaces Brian Ellerbe, who was fired March 13.

Michigan athletic director Bill Martin met with Amaker in Philadelphia on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Martin and the school's legal counsel were working out details of the contract. An announcement from Michigan could come this afternoon.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Amaker told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger. "I know the timing wasn't great, but this is the way it played out. It's difficult for everybody."

Amaker resigned from Seton Hall on Wednesday and spoke with his players in the morning.

"We appreciate all that Tommy has done to position our basketball program among the best in the nation," Seton Hall athletic director Jeff Fogelson said. "I'm sure that he will do the same for Michigan."

Amaker went 68-55 in four years at Seton Hall, including three NIT appearances and an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. He is known as a terrific recruiter and a solid bench coach, and a year ago he was considered one of the hottest coaches in the game.

But this season had problems. Amaker brought in one of the nation's best-regarded recruiting classes, and early in the season Seton Hall was ranked among the top 10.

But star freshman Eddie Griffin punched junior guard Ty Shine in the locker room after a game in early January, and the team fell apart, barely making the Big East tournament and then the NIT.

Amaker was not Michigan's top candidate. Martin made overtures to former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino, but Pitino opted for Louisville. Martin also pursued Ben Braun, but Braun received a four-year extension at Cal this week.

CANISIUS: Mike MacDonald, considered a coaching candidate at St. Bonaventure, signed a four-year extension.

CONNECTICUT: Marcus Cox, suspended from the team after his February arrest on marijuana charges, plans to transfer. The sophomore guard was among the nation's top recruits when he played in high school in Bridgeport. "I thought I worked hard and everything, but the expectations of being a big-time player and the expectations of people back home and stuff affected me, and I didn't play to my potential," he said. Cox said he and coach Jim Calhoun agreed "it was best I get a fresh start."

DRAKE: Coach Kurt Kanaskie received a multiyear extension through the 2005-06 season. The Bulldogs were 12-16, their best record in his five seasons.

GEORGIA TECH: According to the terms of a new contract he is expected to sign in the next few days, the only job for which coach Paul Hewitt would leave would be in the NBA. The new deal for the first-year coach, who was ACC Coach of the Year, has a five-year rollover contract and would increase his salary from $400,000 to about $500,000 a year, not including income from apparel and camps.

HOFSTRA: Tom Pecora was promoted to coach after seven years as an assistant. Pecora has never been a head coach in Division I, but he went 62-24 from 1989-92 at SUNY-Farmingdale, a junior college program. Jay Wright left to coach Villanova.

IOWA: Coach Steve Alford received a five-year extension that runs through the 2008-09 season. It will pay at least $900,000 annually plus unspecified bonuses based on academic and athletic performance, the school said. "I couldn't be more pleased with all phases of our program," he said. ... Guard Luke Recker will return for his senior season, putting off a move to the NBA. Recker missed 17 of 35 games this season because of an injured right knee. "If I would have been a lottery pick, I would have considered (the draft)," Recker said. "From what I've been told, that would have been a good possibility had I been healthy."

KANSAS: Coach Roy Williams expects All-Big 12 forward Drew Gooden, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, to return for his junior season. But he acknowledged that he and Gooden have talked about Gooden leaving for the NBA. "I'm doing some things, trying to gather some information for him." Williams said. "But if you asked me, 'Do I expect him to come back?' I'll say, 'Yes, I do expect him to come back.' Am I 100 percent sure of that? No, I am not."

NORTH CAROLINA: Junior guard Raymond Felton of Latta (S.D.) High orally committed to the Tar Heels. He picked North Carolina over Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina. Felton averaged 28 points, 8.8 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 4.5 steals last season.

PITTSBURGH: Coach Ben Howland said he would stay after Nevada-Las Vegas was denied permission to speak with him. Athletic director Steve Pederson was contacted Monday by UNLV athletic director Charles Cavagnaro, but he turned down a request to talk with Howland. Pederson wouldn't allow Ohio State to talk to football coach Walt Harris in December.

PROVIDENCE: Tim Welsh, who coached the Friars to a 21-10 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament, reached a preliminary seven-year agreement to stay. Welsh is 48-43 at Providence.

WINTHROP: Player Greg Lewis was released on personal recognizance after being charged with assaulting a woman who said they argued over the use of a court at the school's gym. He is to appear in court Tuesday.

WISCONSIN: Bo Ryan, who two years ago stepped up to Division I with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, could be in line for another advance as Badgers coach. The former Wisconsin assistant is expected to be hired before the Final Four this weekend, two Wisconsin newspapers reported. The school scheduled a news conference for 9:45 this morning. Ryan won four NCAA Division III national championships at Wisconsin-Platteville before going to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he went 30-27 in two seasons. He interviewed for Wisconsin's position in 1992, but Stu Jackson got the job.

TOP DIVISION III COACH RETIRES: Dennie Bridges, the active men's coach with the most wins in Division III, retired after 36 years at Illinois Wesleyan. He will remain with the school as athletic director. "Each year the grind seemed to get a little more physically demanding and emotionally demanding," said Bridges, 62. "I was worried that it could reach the point where my Illinois Wesleyan teams might not be able to compete for the conference and NCAA championships without a coach whose total focus was basketball." His record of 667-319 includes the 1997 Division III national championship and a third-place finish this season. His teams made the NCAA Tournament 11 other times.

COLLEGE ALL-STARS: The 11-man team that will play the Harlem Globetrotters in the NABC Roundball Classic on Friday was announced: Minnesota's Terrance Simmons; Cal's Sean Lampley; Hampton's Tarvis Williams; Illinois' Marcus Griffin; Iowa's Dean Oliver; Georgia's Anthony Evans; Oklahoma's Nolan Johnson; Dayton's Tony Stanley; Eastern Illinois' Kyle Hill; BYU's Mekeli Wesley and Kansas' Eric Chenowith.

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