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By DEBI JONES, ALEX ABRAMS, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001


Buzz now is about Tennessee

Buzz now is about Tennessee

Buzz Peterson feels like he's back home.

Peterson, who resigned after one season at Tulsa on Tuesday, was hired as coach of the Tennessee men's basketball team Wednesday, replacing Jerry Green, who resigned last month.

Peterson's hometown, Asheville, N.C., is a few hours east of Knoxville. As a boy, he went to football games with his father, a Tennessee graduate, and ate hamburgers at Krystal, a state-based fast food restaurant.

"You made a young boy from Asheville, North Carolina's dream come true," said Peterson, 37, who agreed to a five-year contract worth about $700,000 annually.

MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Louis Orr, Siena's men's coach for one year, took over at Seton Hall. ... Danny Nee, fired a year ago by Nebraska, left Robert Morris after one season to replace Darelle Porter at Duquesne. ... Bruiser Flint, who resigned at Massachusetts, took the Drexel job. ... Gary Waters, who led Kent State to an NCAA Tournament berth this season, was offered the Rutgers job. ... Tubby Smith agreed to a four-year extension at Kentucky. ... Rod Barnes signed a new four-year deal at Mississippi. ... National ratings for the NCAA men's championship game on CBS rose 10.6 percent from a year ago. Duke's 82-72 win over Arizona on Monday was watched by an average of 15.6 percent of the 102.2-million U.S. homes with televisions. Last year's figure was 14.1 percent. ... Minnesota is investigating allegations of NCAA rules violations in its women's program. Coach Cheryl Littlejohn was placed on an indefinite leave of absence with pay. University lawyer Mark Rotenberg said the allegations do not involve academics but he could not comment further.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Florida police said they will not charge wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, accused of hurting a teenage boy he said was trying to steal his motor scooter. They turned the case over to the state attorney's office. The boy's mother says Gaffney detained her son and beat him up March 22. Gaffney has denied hurting the boy. ... Quarterback Chris Rix completed 10 of 18 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown as Florida State's offense impressed in the final scrimmage before Saturday's Garnet and Gold Game. ... Miami practiced in shorts and shoulder pads, focusing on seven-on-seven drills and non-contact scrimmaging.

COLLEGES: Two UF pole vaulters were arrested and charged with burglarizing track and baseball concession stands. Michael Hissam, 23, a senior, and Brian DaCunha, 20, a sophomore, were charged with one felony count of burglary, one felony count of theft and stealing a fire extinguisher. They were being held in the Alachua County Jail without bond. A UF police report said they attempted to steal 1,500 cups, assorted condiments packages, an empty cash register and a fire extinguisher. ... In baseball, host UF scored five runs in the seventh to rally past Florida A&M 14-9. Daniel Boyd drove in four runs to lead host South Florida past Stetson 12-6. ... In softball, UF split a doubleheader with host Auburn, losing 9-1 and winning 9-3.

DERBY LANE: Courageous Nicky earned top points (40) in semifinal rounds of the Distance Classic after the 10th-race win to advance to Saturday's final.

SOCCER: Raul Diaz Arce's two goals led D.C. United of MLS to a 3-0 victory over Arnett Gardens of Jamaica in the CONCACAF Giants Cup quarterfinals at Kingston, Jamaica. ... Host Leeds beat Deportivo de La Coruna 3-0 and host Arsenal rallied to beat Valencia 2-1 in European Champions Cup quarterfinals first legs.

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