Wednesday, July 25, 2001

UC loses, replaces assistant


Auburn's Wilson does about-face

        The University of Cincinnati will name Alabama-Birmingham assistant Andy Kennedy to Bob Huggins' staff today, filling the position turned down by Auburn assistant Mike Wilson, athletic director Bob Goin said.

        Kennedy was a star player at Alabama-Birmingham from 1988-91. He is No.2 on UAB's career scoring list and its career 3-point shooting leader.

        UC officials thought Wilson accepted the job last Friday, but later learned Wilson had decided to stay at Auburn. Neither Wilson nor Huggins could be reached for comment Tuesday. But Goin, for one, was baffled.

        “I was on a three-way hookup with that coach last week,” Goin said Tuesday. “I got every indication that he was tremendously excited about his opportunity to come here. If the guy was misleading us, that's probably why he was a hell of a recruiter. He said he couldn't wait to get here.”

        Wilson, 41, seemed like the perfect fit for UC. He's a longtime friend of Huggins and an experienced recruiter who helped the Tigers land a class ranked No.3 nationally last year by ESPN.com.

        He appeared to have accepted the job while he was in Cincinnati last Friday. Huggins was so sure he had found his man that he permitted Tom Hathaway, UC's assistant athletic director for media relations, to send out a press release.

        But, over the weekend, Wilson informed the school that he had decided to remain at Auburn, which competes in the higher-profile Southeastern Conference, but which has played in the NCAA Tournament only twice in the past 13 seasons.

        UC has made 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Huggins, including one Final Four and three Elite Eights.

        “The guy evidently had a change of heart,” Hathaway said. “And we didn't wait long enough to allow him to have a change of heart.”

        Wilson's about-face is the latest in a series of apparent setbacks for Huggins and his program since the Bearcats were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament last March by Stanford.

        First, assistant coach and chief recruiter Mick Cronin left to take a similar job with Conference USA archrival Louisville. His departure was followed by the dismissal of junior-to-be center Donald Little after several run-ins with police and the decision by junior-to-be point guard Kenny Satterfield to make himself available for the NBA draft.

       



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