Saturday, March 10, 2001

Crum backs Pitino as replacement

Ex-UK coach 'excellent choice'

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Retiring Louisville coach Denny Crum said he supports the candidacy of former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino as his successor.

        Crum, whose last game as coach was a 74-61 loss to UAB in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday, called Pitino “an excellent choice.”

        Pitino has “been successful and brings a lot of energy,” Crum said. “He's a great candidate.”

        Athletic director Tom Jurich will visit Pitino in Miami this weekend to talk about the job. Crum won't be involved in the selection process.

        Meanwhile, Pitino is dismissing accounts that he and Louisville are a done deal.

        “What it will come down to is whether I like the situation and feel I can get the job done,” Pitino said. “Right now I'm not even close to going to Louisville.”

        Crum said he'll support whoever is chosen as his successor.

        “Whoever it is, I want to see them win,” he said. “I spent 30 years of my life building on to this program. I want to see somebody come in here and build on that, just like all Louisville fans do.”

        KNIGHT-TEXAS TECH: James Dickey was fired as Texas Tech's coach, clear ing the way for the possible hiring of former Indiana coach Bob Knight.

        Athletic director Gerald Myers said he and school president David Schmidly met with Knight on Monday in Florida.

        “We felt it was necessary for us to talk to Bob Knight to assess his interest and also our interest,” said Myers, who is a longtime friend of Knight.


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