Thursday, March 21, 2002

Ohio St. will talk to Pirtle

UC coach had said she wasn't interested

By Gary Estwick,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        University of Cincinnati women's basketball coach Laurie Pirtle said last week she wasn't interested in the coaching vacancy at Ohio State, her alma mater. Ohio State will see how strongly she feels about that.

        OSU athletic director Andy Geiger received permission Tuesday from Cincinnati AD Bob Goin to contact Pirtle about the position, said spokesmen from both schools. On Monday, Goin had given permission to West Virginia to contact UC men's coach Bob Huggins about its coaching vacancy.

        There was no indication Wednesday when Geiger would speak to Pirtle, or if they already had talked. Pirtle, Goin and Geiger declined comment Wednesday.

        But March 12, when asked if she would be interested in the Ohio State opening, Pirtle told the Enquirer no.

        “I have no plans to leave,” Pirtle said at the time, before the Bearcats left for Columbia, S.C., for their first NCAA Tournament game in three years. “This is a great situation. You can tell by how long I've been here.”

        It is unclear if Pirtle, who completed her 16th season at UC, has changed her mind.

        “She feels that saying anything now is inappropriate,” UC assistant athletic director Tom Hathaway said Wednesday. Ohio State assistant AD Steve Snapp said OSU would not comment during the search process.

        Outgoing OSU coach Beth Burns was informed March 4 that her contract would not be renewed. Her record with the Buckeyes is 82-65, including 14-15 this season. Burns' contract expires June30.

        Pirtle is 231-232 in 16 seasons at UC, but the Bearcats have reached the postseason five consecutive years — including the 1999 and 2002 NCAA tournaments — and are 127-57 the last six seasons.

        This season, UC went 27-5, tying the program record for victories, and won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time before losing in the second round Monday. UC entered the Top 25 poll for the first time, in late December, and after winning the Conference USA Tournament championship this month to earn an automatic NCAA bid, the Bearcats rose to No.19

        Pirtle has quite a few OSU ties. She is a Columbus native. A three-year starting point guard at Ohio State (she is sixth in career assists (317) at the school), she graduated in 1980 and earned her master's degree at OSU in 1986.


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