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Morning Dish

June 5, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



The Morning Dish – Thursday, June 5th:

Staying Longer in Ohio: Kent State University announced yesterday that they have extended head coach Jim Christian’s contract through the 2009-10 season. This 7-year extension comes after Christian guided the Golden Flashes to a 21-10 record, a Mid-American Conference East Division crown, and an NIT bid this season – his first as coach. Christian was promoted from assistant to replace Stan Heath, who departed for Arkansas after the 2001-02 season.

Leaving Rocky Top: Tennessee assistant coach Kerry Keating is heading west to join Ben Howland’s staff at UCLA. The move marks the first time Keating has left coach Buzz Peterson in five seasons, with stops at Appalachian State, Tulsa (NIT Champs in 2001), and the last two at Tennessee. Keating, a Seton Hall alum, worked as an assistant for the Pirates under Tommy Amaker, and prior to that met Peterson when they were both assistants for JvBK at Vanderbilt.

Competition for Sparty: Michigan State University sure has a great marketing and promotions department, as the “news” keeps coming. MSU, who last week was in the news over the largest college basketball attendance mark, now has announced that a statue of Earvin “Magic” Johnson will grace the front of the Breslin Center, commemorating the Spartans’ 25th anniversary of their 1979 National Championship. No details of the design of the privately-funded statue were released, but the school plans on unveiling it November 1st. The artists will be Highland Park, Illinois-based Omri Amrany and wife Julie Rotblatt-Amrany, who are known for their sports sculptures, including Michael Jordan (United Center), Harry Caray (Wrigley Field), and several Detroit Tigers greats (Comerica Park).

Razorbacks Get the Big One: Arkansas head coach Stan Heath announced that the nation’s top prep hoopster has given a verbal commitment to Arkansas. Al Jefferson, a 6-10 power forward from Prentiss, Mississippi, picked the ‘Hogs over LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State, and Florida – all SEC schools. Heath’s outstanding recruiting class was a factor in signing Jefferson, who joins 6-11 Steven Hill (Branson, Missouri), 7-footer Julius Lamptey (Oklahoma City) and Vincent Hunter (Little Rock).

Assistant Golden Eagle: Kyle Green, former assistant coach for Northern Iowa, was named yesterday as an assistant for Tom Crean’s Marquette staff. Green fills one of two openings on the staff left by Darrin Horn, new head coach of Western Kentucky, and Dwayne Stephens, now assistant at Michigan State. Prior to coaching the UNI Panthers, Green was the head coach at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, and was an assistant at Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD), Southwest State (Marshall, Minnesota), and the Frederica Basketball Club of Denmark. Green graduated from Hamline College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Courtney Promoted: George Mason University announced that assistant basketball coach Bill Courtney has been promoted to associate head coach on Jim Larranaga’s staff. Courtney, who has been on Larranaga’s staff for seven years, is a Bucknell grad, and has been an assistant at American, Bowling Green, and finally at George Mason.

New Explorer DOBO: Louis Twigg has been named LaSalle University director of basketball operations on Billy Hahn’s staff. Twigg has six years of experience with Temple and College of Charleston, and also worked with Hahn on Gary Williams’ Maryland staff in the late 90s.

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