College basketball: Peterson considering return to Appalachian State
CHARLOTTE ó Nine years after leaving Appalachian State, Buzz Peterson is considering a return.
The Charlotte Bobcats director of player personnel said Thursday he’s been offered the coaching job but hasn’t decided whether to accept.
“We are still negotiating,” Peterson said.
Peterson spent four seasons at Appalachian before leaving in 2000 for Tulsa. He later coached Tennessee but was fired in 2005 after four seasons.
He then coached Coastal Carolina for two years before accepting a front office job with the Bobcats offered by part-owner Michael Jordan, Peterson’s college roommate at North Carolina.
Peterson could replace Houston Fancher, his former assistant at Appalachian who was promoted when Peterson left. Fancher was ousted last month.
The 45-year-old Peterson went 79-39 at Appalachian State. In his last season at the school in 1999-2000, the Mountaineers went 23-9, won the Southern Conference title and lost to Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Appalachian State’s only postseason appearance under Fancher came in the 2007 NIT. The Mountaineers went 13-18 this season.
LOS ANGELES ó Tim Floyd is staying put as Southern Cal coach, spurning an offer from Arizona.
He was offered the job Wednesday to replace Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell, who took over when Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson retired for health reasons before the start of the season.
“I listened; I heard what they had to say,” Floyd said. “But there is something really special about building your own traditions and your own history.”
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has a newly renegotiated six-year contract keeping him with the Volunteers.
It came hours after reports surfaced that Memphis wanted to talk to Pearl about replacing John Calipari, who left for Kentucky.
Interim president Jan Simek and athletic director Mike Hamilton announced Thursday night that they and Pearl had agreed in principle to the new deal. Details will be released within the next few days.
Pearl said in a statement that Hamilton has been supportive and committed to making Tennessee one of college basketball’s best jobs.
“I want to ensure the University of Tennessee and its fans that I’m 100 percent committed to this school, this program and our student-athletes,” Pearl said.
“I truly love my job, and I want it to be clear that I’m not interested in any other job. There’s no place in the country I’d rather be than the University of Tennessee. My children are happy here in the Knoxville community. One is in high school, one is in middle school and two are currently attending the university.”
This is similar to what happened last year when Pearl was linked to openings at Indiana and other schools. Tennessee unveiled a six-year deal last July that paid him $1.6 million for the 2009-09 season.
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó The hand-delivered letter informing Billy Gillispie he was being fired cites only his refusal to sign a formal contract as a specific reason for the “incompatibility” between the school and its former coach.
The letter, dated March 27 and signed by athletics director Mitch Barnhart, was obtained by The Associated Press under Kentucky’s open records law. Gillispie received a copy of the letter during a meeting at the home of UK president Lee Todd in which Barnhart and Todd told him he was being replaced.
“This letter is to confirm our conversation this afternoon,” Barnhart wrote. “As we discussed, it is our belief that the relationship between you and the University is simply not a good fit in many ways. The inability to come to an agreement on critical terms of an employment contract after two years of negotiation is just one indication of this incompatibility.
“As such, we are terminating our relationship with you effective immediately.”
The letter then informs Gillispie that the university hopes to achieve a “fair separation agreement” and asks his attorney to follow up with the school’s outside council to work on that. It closes with the sentence, “We wish you much success and all the best in your future endeavors.”
ATLANTA ó Georgia will announce the hiring of Nevada’s Mark Fox today, a person with knowledge of the hire confirmed.
PULLMAN, Wash. ó Tony Bennett is aware that Washington State fans are upset he left to become coach at Virginia.
“I’m sure there are a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings,” Bennett told The Spokesman-Review. “I hope this is a situation over time that, instead of the hurt and maybe the anger in what happened, they’ll look back and say there were some real good things that happened.”
School officials have asked for permission to speak with Portland State coach Ken Bone.
Bennett said he left because the Virginia job seemed to offer a bigger upside than remaining in Pullman.
The 15,219-seat John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is among the best in the nation, a basketball center with everything from a dining hall to practice courts to offices in one place, Bennett said.
Virginia also is a prestigious academic institution in the ACC with a rich recruiting base, Charlottesville is closer to the families of Bennett and his wife and his salary jumped from $1 million to $1.7 million a year.
“This had nothing to do with money,” he maintained. “Never has, never will, but I don’t expect people to understand it. That’s not the issue.”
SPOKANE, Wash. ó Published reports indicated that Oregon and Arizona both wanted to hire Gonzaga’s Mark Few, but he was not interested.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó New Mexico’s Tony Dandridge beat Charlotte’s Charlie Coley III in the college slam-dunk contest at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
In the final round, Coley received a perfect 50 from the judges following a dunk off a pass from Rhode Island’s Jimmy Baron in the stands. Dandridge, though, forced a dunk-off with his third 50 of the competition: a two-ball, two-handed double dunk.
Coley then dunked over judge Jalen Rose for a 48, and Dandridge ended it with a windmill for a 49.
Miami’s Jack McClinton won the 3-point contest, beating Erik Kangas of nearby Oakland 22-17 in the final.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. ó Guard Kelvin Grady, who averaged 4.9 points in two seasons, will transfer.
HAMPTON, Va. ó Hampton coach Kevin Nickelberry has resigned after three seasons.
Athletic director Lonza Hardy Jr. has chosen assistant Edward Joyner as interim head coach. Joyner was hired by Nickelberry in 2006 after serving 11 years as an assistant at Johnson C. Smith, his alma mater.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Butler coach Brad Stevens has agreed to an extension through the 2015-16 season.
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Former Rhode Island star and international coach Lazare Adingono resigned as assistant coach at Canisius two months after being arrested on charges of using a belt to beat his 4-year-old son.
Harvey Siegel, Adingono’s attorney, said his client submitted his letter of resignation in which he wrote he wanted to “focus his undivided and full attention on family issues.”
NEW YORK ó Jamelle Cornley scored 18 points and Penn State used a big second half to beat Baylor 69-63 in the NIT title game.
It’s just the second postseason tournament championship in school history for the Nittany Lions (27-11). They were spurred on by raucous chants of “We are … Penn State,” led by none other than Joe Paterno, who was sitting about four rows behind the team’s bench.
LaceDarius Dunn scored 18 points to lead Baylor (24-15).
Ever the storyteller, the 82-year-old Paterno can spin some yarns about hoops, which he calls his second-favorite sport.
“Now that I’m coaching, I better say I like football better,” he joked.
Paterno played college basketball at Brown, too, where he said he thought he was a good defender and ballhandler until he played against Bob Cousy at Holy Cross. He got outclassed by the Boston Celtics star and basketball Hall of Famer, who also grew up in New York.