Huggins, West Va. may discuss job

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

CINCINNATI -- West Virginia received permission to talk with Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins about its vacant basketball coaching job.

"We know that West Virginia has a great interest in Bob Huggins," Cincinnati athletic director Bob Goin said Tuesday. "What has yet to be determined is how high Bob Huggins' interest is in the West Virginia position."

Huggins said Monday night he had talked with Goin but had not talked with anybody from West Virginia. Goin declined to say if he will meet with Huggins this week.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong drove 80 miles Sunday to Pittsburgh to watch Cincinnati in the NCAA tournament.

Pastilong did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday from The Associated Press.

Huggins won his 500th game Friday and finished his 13th season as Cincinnati's coach on Sunday when the Bearcats lost to UCLA 105-101 in double overtime in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Huggins was born in Morgantown, W.Va., played for West Virginia, graduated from the school and began his coaching career there in 1977 as a graduate assistant.

He has told Cincinnati president Joseph Steger he would someday like to coach the Mountaineers.

"That's hard to fight," Steger said. "I certainly would hope, of course, he would stay."

Cincinnati set a school record with 31 victories this season. The Bearcats annually dominate Conference USA and are a fixture in the NCAA tournament.

West Virginia was 8-20 this season, including a 1-15 record and last-place finish in the Big East Conference.

FSU finds its coach

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Leonard Hamilton, an out-of-work coach with a reputation for turning around moribund programs, signed a five-year contract to revive Florida State.

Hamilton has not coached since leaving the NBA's Washington Wizards last year. The former Miami coach replaces Steve Robinson, fired eight days ago after four consecutive losing seasons.

Hamilton, also credited with rebuilding Oklahoma State, signed a deal that will pay him a minimum of $775,000 and is loaded with bonuses for winning the Atlantic Coast Conference, making the NCAA tournament and graduating a certain number of players.

Hamilton, 53, was twice named Big East coach of the year while at Miami where his teams were known for their intensity and stifling defenses. He left behind a solid recruiting class for successor Perry Clark, including the nucleus of this season's NCAA tournament team.

UW-Green Bay fires coach

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Wisconsin-Green Bay men's basketball coach Mike Heideman was fired after seven seasons with the team, a newspaper reported.

Heideman was 110-95 in seven seasons as coach but had three straight losing seasons, including a 9-21 record this season.

S. Alabama coach leaves

MOBILE, Ala. -- South Alabama is expected to buy out the remaining three years of coach Bob Weltlich's contract, The Mobile Register reported.

Weltlich led South Alabama to three regular season Sun Belt Conference titles in five seasons, but the team fell off dramatically this year with a 7-21 record.

Names surface for N.M. job

ALBUQUERQUE -- University of New Mexico Athletic Director Rudy Davalos remains tight-lipped about the men's basketball coach vacancy, created Sunday after Fran Fraschilla resigned.

The top name to surface thus far is Tim Floyd's, ex-coach of the Chicago Bulls. Floyd had stellar head coaching careers at New Orleans and Iowa State before taking over the Bulls.

There are a handful of other coaches mentioned as candidates for the UNM job, including former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson.

--From wire reports

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