The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 35
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March 26, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 35

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Thursday, March 26, 1998
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Page 35
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THE PALM BEACH POST THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 7C THE 1998 tpi tat r f NCAA Tournament AT SHOW MEN WOMEN Downtown West Palm Beach on the Waterfront. 10 reasons to give women a first glance These coaches can stomach the pressure Sales, Inc.' CABO Come see us at the Yacht Palm Beach Boat Show! 10 Quality New & Pre-owned Boats on Display 30 - 60 2401 PGA Boulevard Suite 182 Palm Beach Gardens Office 561 775-6000 Fax 561 775-6006 Afa- rail f pf SAN ANTONIO There's a Tubby. There's a Gut. There's a guy with a tubby gut. And there's somebody else who's still trying to figure out if f. he has, umm, the stomach for , any of this Final Four final installment to March Madness. Welcome to the circle of ! head coaches assembling for col-1 lege basketball's big show. Not ; one of them not Kentucky's ' Orlando "Tubby" Smith, not ' North Carolina's Bill Gut(h-ridge), not Utah's rotund Rick Majerus, not Stanford's mesmerized Mike Montgomery ever has come to this point in the season in charge of a team still in the chase for the national championship. It is, in fact, the first time since 1959 that all four coaches will be making their Final Four debuts as bosses on the bench. How are they adjusting? On the fly, mostly. Fearless foursome Smith, whose nickname stems from the fact that he en- : joyed (and frequently prolonged) his stays in the family's wash basin when his turn came around as one of 17 children, is in his first season at Kentucky after succeeding Rick Pitino on the ' job. The typical attitude among the Bluegrass State faithful who bleed UK blue is that the Final - Four, is where the Wildcats belong every year ... in the manner of, say, an Old Kentucky Home, to borrow a lyric. "So it's kind of ho-hum," Smith said. And then he laughed, but not very convincingly. Probably be- ; cause Kentucky is making its : third consecutive Final Four appearance and won two years ago. Expectations are similar in North Carolina if only because retired legend Dean Smith, who quit abruptly just prior to the start of fall practice, was so successful for so long with the Tar Heels. His teams won two national championships, and he had Guthridge at his side as an assistant for three decades. That's decades, not years. "I try to do the same things as much as possible," said Guthridge, who remains Coach Gut to his players. "(Smith) always wanted me thinking like a head coach." But is he nervous in the new role? "I have all that out of the way now," Guthridge said. When it comes to getting out of the way, Majerus doesn't have much to concern himself with other than, well, his own large self. The man lives in a hotel, after all. He is intelligent, and genuinely funny with a self-deprecating sense of humor. "For me, it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Hp if! Oms ...Palm Beach's newest 1 full Orvis Dealer! t Battenkill Luggage, New ORVIS I "Trident TL Rods", wide selec- . ; tion of cashmere sweaters, cigar j humidors, accessories, gifts, clothing and fine tackle. Ty-Flies Limited, Inc. 279 Royal Poinciana Way Palm Beach, Florida I 561-837-9895 3 Fhjhbmg Lessons by Appointment ADVENTURE TIMES i KAYAKS Great For Fishing The Flats! ! 881 -721 8 521 Northtake Blvd. N.P.B. ; M L , with 50 HP Outboard '10,099.00 SUZUKL MAKIHI DF9.9 FOUR STROKE '1 ,675.00 Other engfoM Available OUTBOARDS, t INFLATABLE BOATS CALL (561) 881-1901 1 Sain Sarvic Parts i LHaratt Annul InpMlton j IUCI ATARI FS 1 INTERNATIONAL, INC. f wmimn 1 raTriiiiinn 'ilitiift The Marine Mall Local Boater's Guide to Services and Values TO ADVERTISE ON THIS PAGE Call your Post sales representative or j John Rachell at (561) 820-4282 today for more information, j 401 DL AVN i imiaiani noai I 1 The women's Final Four basketball tournament begins Friday in Kansas City, Mo., at Kemper Arena. This may not excite you. But remember a few weeks ago, when Connecticut's injured senior All-America Ny-kesha Sales scored an uncontested basket to give her the school's scoring record? Seemed everyone had an opinion even those who'd never watched a women's basketball game before or who'd never even heard of Sales. Here's the chance to see what women's basketball is really all about. Ten reasons to watch: - 1) Chamique Holdsclaw. She's known as the Michael Jordan of women's basketball, the best player on the country's best team. She has tremendous athletic ability and, simply put, can shoot the rock. She's the type of player who can completely dominate a game, or, if she's having an off night shooting as she did in the Regional Final against North Carolina, she'll find another way to contribute (she made 13 of 14 free throws). 2) The name game. The announcers should have fun trying to pronounce the names of some of these women. We've got Summer Erb and Chasity Melvin from N.C. State. Starting for the Vols are Tamika Catchings, Holds-claw and Semeka Randall. Now say them all five times fast. 3) Speaking of names, how about N.C. State ccach Kay Yow? You have to feel good for Yow, who has almost 500 wins at N.C. State but not . one Final Four appearance until now. In fact, the Wolf-pack had never even made it beyond the Sweet 16. Patience has it's rewards. 4) Orange. You will never, ever, see this particular shade of orange worn by so many people outside the state of Tennessee. Even Pat Sum-mitt contributes, usually wearing one of her shocking orange suits (where does she get those, anyway?), as she paces the sideline. And the Vols fight song, "Rocky Top," is like one of those annoying commercial jingles you can't get out of your head. By the end of the weekend, you'll be humming it, too. Trust me. In a league of her own 5) Pat Summitt. She's been ranked right up there with John Wooden and is flat-out the best coach in the women's game, and probably among the best of all-time, period. She has coached the Vols to five national championships and is in her 11th Final Four. She is tough, de- maining on a five-year contract extension he received last year at roughly $550,000 per year. Dodds said he won't comment x until the completion of an investigation by the school into the release of Texas basketball player Luke Axtell's confidential academic progress report to an Austin radio station. Gottfried returns to Alabama: Mark Gottfried will return to Alabama to try to revitalize a Crimson Tide program that has slowly declined since hitting its peak when he played there in the mid-1980s. Athletic director Bob Bockrath named Gottfried. 34. the new coach Wednesday, ending a search that began Feb. 2 when he announced sixth-year coach David Hobbs would not return. The former Murray State coach was expected to sin a five-year contract worth about $400,fXX) per year, including incentives. Gottfried led Murray State to a second straight NCAA tournament this season and has been expected to return to his alma mater since soon after the Racers were eliminated in the first round nearly two weeks ago. Cheryl Rosenberg FRIDAY'S GAMES: Louisiana Tech vs. North Carolina State 7 p.m.; Arkansas vs. Tennessee, 30 minutes after first game TV: ESPN manding, and motivates her players by the sheer force of her personality. 6) Basketball purists always love the women's game. There's no dunking, of course, but these women certainly aren't afraid to launch threes. Backdoor plays (a la Princeton) are common, and no one's afraid to throw elbows and knock people around (all within the framework of the rules, of course). And nobody shoots free throws underhanded. We promise. 7) Louisiana Tech. Known as "La" Tech in basketball circles, the Lady Techsters are a perennial powerhouse. If Tech and Tennessee meet in the final, Summitt will have good reason to be on edge. The Techsters ended the season for the Vols in 1993-94, and Tech defeated them twice last season which ended in a national championship for Tennessee. Upsets add to the aura 8) "Hoosiers". Okay, maybe in Arkansas an underdog would be called something else. The Razorbacks sure hope there's a reason for the nickname. They are the lowest seed (No. 9) ever to reach the Final Four. Sure, they get to meet Tennessee in the semis, whom they lost to by 30 earlier in the season. But as we all know, they don't call it March Madness for nothing (right, Valparaiso and Rhode Island?) 9) The bench. It's where the best action is late in the game. These women clutch each other's hands and try to will the ball into the basket or out of it, depending. Some of them probably average less than a minute for the season, but their lungs will get a invigorating workout cheering on their teammates. 10) Championship Sunday. C'mon, sports tans, what are vour optio.:s? ho needs to b" s 1 bv mother creepy, episode ot the X-Files or get misty-eyed over a very special episode of Touched by an Angel? Especially when you've got next. Mnrrav State athletic director i..'v. Dennison said the school will move swiftly to hire a new coach. Bob Williams hired by UC-Santa Barbara: Bob Williams, who coached UC Davis to the NCAA Division II national championship last weekend, was hired as coach at UC Santa Barbara. Williams, chosen Division II coach of the year after his team's 83-77 victory over Kentucky Wes-leyan on Saturday, led the Aggies to a 158-76 record in eight seasons. They were 31-2 this season. He replaces Jerry Pimm, who stepped down last month after 15 years to take a job in the school's athletic administration office. Purnell declines Virginia job: University of Dayton Coach Oliver Purnell savs he has not been offered nead coaching job at the University of Virginia. Purnell returned to Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday after a brief visit at Virginia. Purnell said he wanted to learn more about the Virginia job and the school's commitment to whomever succeeds Jeff Jones. "We talked, and that was about it" Purnell told the Day ton Daily AV ws. "There was no job offer. I said. 'Thank you very much. It was flattering." ind I left." Greg Stoda SATURDAY'S GAMES: Kentucky vs. Stanford, 5:42 p.m.; North Carolina vs. Utah, 30 minutes after first game. TV: WPEC-12, WFOR-4 said Majerus, who was Al McGuire's assistant when Marquette won the title in 1977. "I like everything about it except that I don't have time to prepare. What a nightmare. Everybody wants a ticket. People are coming out of the woodwork." Which, basically, is where Stanford has come from in terms of basketball significance. Baseball? A powerhouse. Football? There are infrequent visits to the Rose Bowl. Golf? Tennis? Yeah, it's big on those country club sports. But hoops? "This is somewhat abnormal for us," said Montgomery, who is Mr. Anonymity among what remains a largely anonymous bunch in terms of comparisons to the game's more prominent coaches. "Overwhelming, and that's probably an understatement. "I'm not thinking about (being a first-time Final Four coach), because I'm not sure I could handle it if I did." Passing the stress test Except that Montgomery and Tubby and Gut and the guy with the tubby gut have handled everything the wacky tournament has churned out for them over the past two weeks. Oh, it would have been a more glamourous collection of head coaches had Arizona's Lute Olson, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Connecticut's Jim Calhoun and Rhode Island's Jim Harrick steered their teams here. In that circumstance, only Calhoun would have been a Final Four rookie. Olson was the title coach just last year. Krzyzewski and Harrick have won the prize, too. But they didn't make it. They lost in regional finals. They lost to Utah's devastating triangle-and-two defense (Arizona), to Kentucky's pressure and perseverance in overcoming a huge deficit (Duke), to Stanford's resourcefulness and grit in a last-minute recovery (Rhode Island) and to North Carolina instincts for survival (Connecticut). They lost to good coaching. Excellent coaching. Sometimes, change is good for the soul ... and new tastes are good for the stomach. State. After finishing third in 1990 and '95, Penn State, which beat Georgia 66-60 in the semis, will be seeking its first men's basketball championship of any kind. Penders out at Texas, report says: Tom Penders, who led Texas to the NCAA tournament in eight of his 10 seasons, is out as Longhorns coach, according to The Associated Press. Penders, under fire since last week's release of a player's grades to a local radio station, is considering a job outside of coaching or being reassigned at Texas, a source close the Longhorns basketball program said. The source spoke on the condition that he not be identified. An Austin TV station, KEYE, also reported Wednesday that Penders would be fired or reassigned as early as Friday. Penders, the winningest coach in Texas history with a 208-110 record, said that if he's out, he hasn't heard about it "I have not had one phone call from Mr. Dodds, who is my boss," Penders said, referring to Texas athletic director DcLoss Dodds. "I haven't heard anything about my jb status changing." Pendirs has four years re nrtnriTf J (gjf jIT can't avoid having another Big Ten champ fi -"r rat; i h falm Beach Post Wire Services I This NIT final might as well be played in Chicago's United Center or Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. I Minnesota vs. Penn State is tut of place in the heart of Big East fountry. The Big Ten may lack representation in the other Final Four In San Antonio, but it will have the fsIT championship all to itself tonight when the Nittany Lions (19-12) and Gophers (19-15) play for the tournament's 61st championship at Madison Square Garden. . It will be the third time this season the two schools have played after splitting their conference games. . "I'm happy Penn State is m the final because it means we will have a Big Ten champion regardless," Minnesota coach Clem Haskins said. ', The conference will also have fis second straight NIT champ Mlowmg Michigan last season. The matchup will also be the first between teams from the same kague since 1979 when Indiana defeated Purdue in another all-Big Ten final. ' Minnesota, which won the NIT in 1993. earned a spot in the final tth a 91-89 vr.n over Fresno COAST GUARD AUXILIARY SAFE BOATING COURSES PHIL FOSTER PARK -RIVIERA BEACH 863-8489 JUPITER 575-2430 BOYNTON 499-6019 LANTANA 588-5706 FT PIERCE 561-465-4767 aja. aV aVa-JL LkA . a A a .4

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