Friday, April 05, 2002

West Virginia taps Dakich

New coach was 24-9 last year at Bowling Green

The Associated Press

        MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Spurned by Bob Huggins and others, West Virginia hired Bowling Green's Dan Dakich as its head coach Thursday.

        Dakich played at Indiana and was an assistant to Bob Knight for 10 years there. At West Virginia, he'll try to rebuild a team that set records for losses in two of the past four seasons. The Mountaineers were 8-20 this season, 1-15 in the Big East.

        “What's happened in the past has happened in the past. It's where you want to go, how hard you want to work that is going to determine how far we get to,” Dakich said. “You can rest assured, we are used to absolutely nothing but players' best effort, not only on the court, but in the classroom.”

        He replaces Gale Catlett, who retired in February after 24 seasons with the Mountaineers and a school-record 565 wins.

        Dakich was 89-57 in five seasons at Bowling Green, without a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons went 24-9 this season — the school's most victories in more than half a century — and played in the NIT.

        Dakich signed a five-year contract that will pay him $500,000 a season. That includes a $150,000 base salary; $300,000 in income from radio, TV and other endorsements and $50,000 in deferred compensation.

        He'll have the opportunity to earn an additional $135,000 a year in income from summer camps and competitive incentives, such as graduation rates and NCAA Tournament appearances. At Bowling Green, Dakich's base salary was $125,000.

        Dakich will review West Virginia's players before deciding on the makeup of next year's team. He said he doesn't believe any Bowling Green players will follow him to West Virginia.

        “There are some guys here who can play a little bit,” Dakich said. “I want to see what their interest is in turning this into something special.”

        We're going to work like crazy, but we're going to treat kids right.”

        The players who attended the news conference liked what they heard.

        “I'm excited,” said West Virginia forward Josh Yeager. “I think it will be good for West Virginia, the state and the university. It's what we need — the discipline and the offensive and defensive hustle.”


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