Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Prosser tops list of Pitt candidates

College basketball notebook

Enquirer news services

PITTSBURGH - Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, a Pittsburgh native, looks to be atop Pitt's wish list for its new basketball coach.

Neither Pittsburgh interim athletic director Marc Boehm nor chancellor Mark Nordenberg would comment publicly on candidates. However, both were at the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans over the weekend as Pitt seeks a replacement for Ben Howland, who left last week to coach UCLA.

"We are obviously here on business,'' Boehm said. "We are moving very quickly."

Prosser, 52, who has taken three schools to the NCAA Tournament, including Xavier, also said he doesn't comment on other jobs. But, asked about Pittsburgh, he said, "It's my hometown. I have a lifelong love affair with the city of Pittsburgh. It's home."

DAYTON: In an effort to find a replacement for Oliver Purnell, who is leaving after nine years at UD to become head coach at Clemson , UD officials have reduced the number of candidates to two men who have been serving as associate head coaches - Ron Jirsa of Dayton and Brian Gregory of Michigan State.

UD athletic director Ted Kissell interviewed both Jirsa and Gregory in New Orleans. Jirsa, 43, has returned to Dayton and Gregory, 36, will make his first visit to the UD campus today.

TUBBY SWEEPS AWARDS: Kentucky's Tubby Smith has been honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Smith was named the NABC's Division I-A coach of the year at the organization's annual meeting.

Smith has also been honored by the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the Atlanta Tipoff Club (the James Naismith Award), The Sporting News, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, ESPN, and Foxsports.com. The NCAA recognizes the AP, USBWA, NABC, Naismith, The Sporting News and CBS/Chevrolet awards.

Smith is the third UK coach to win the NABC award. Adolph Rupp was honored in 1966 and Eddie Sutton won the award in 1986.

UK finished 32-4, including a 19-0 run through the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament. The Wildcats had a 26-game win streak ended by Marquette in the Midwest Region final.

ALCORN STATE: Assistant Samuel West was promoted to replace Davey Whitney as head coach.

CREAN'S MOTHER UPDATE: The mother of Marquette coach Tom Crean had a stroke while watching the Golden Eagles' semifinal game against Kansas at the Superdome. Marjorie Crean, 64, was listed in good condition Monday.

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