Thursday, April 5, 2007

April 5th News and Notes, Part Two: Gator news, Huggins leaves

According to The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register, Bobby Huggins has left Kansas State and will return home to his alma mater to coach West Virginia. According to a source, it is “a done deal” and that there will be a press conference on Friday to formally announce it. Huggins is leaving Kansas State after only one year, and still has five years left on his contract in Manhattan. Huggins, 53, needs ten more wins to reach 600 career victories.

According to coach Billy Donovan and school President Bernie Machen,
Florida juniors Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, and Taurean Green will all enter the NBA Draft and sign with agents. That essentially ruins any chance the Gators had for a potential three-peat after winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. Donovan said that he met with the four players after the national title game against Ohio State and asked them about going for a three-peat. He said their shoulders slumped and said, “We’re exhausted.” Donovan went on to say, “I told Jeremy [Foley, Florida's athletic director] that we're back to starting over. We'll have a total new team and for the staff we're excited about the challenge. We'll have a great opportunity to player here. But there will be a real, real major drop off.”

According to multiple sources, Billy Donovan will remain the coach at Florida and is not interested in the Kentucky job. Donovan said, “After finally having an opportunity to sit down with my family, and with [Florida athletic director] Jeremy Foley, I've decided that I will remain at the University of Florida. I'm very proud of what we've built here at the University of Florida and I look forward to continuing build on it.” Donovan is coming off of back-to-back national championships, and is looking to go for the three-peat. Who will Kentucky turn to next? Texas’ Rick Barnes, Marquette’s Tom Crean, Mark Few of Gonzaga, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, and Billy Gillespie of Texas A&M have all been mentioned. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said of the coaching situation, “Obviously, finding the right coach is more important than finding the next coach quickly. Patience remains a priority as we continue to identify the best individual to lead the Big Blue Nation.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston Baptist University has applied to rejoin the NCAA as a Division I member. It is currently part of the NAIA, but will end its affiliation at the end of the academic year. HBU President Robert Sloan said, “Membership in the NCAA will provide benefits and visibility for the university which will impact our students, athletes, coaches, alumni and the entire HBU community.” If approved, HBU will likely begin in the fall as an NCAA Independent.

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