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UC Irvine Hires Assistant Coach for Men's Basketball

July 10, 1996|JOHN WEYLER

IRVINE — Joe Cravens, who was fired this spring as head coach at Idaho, Tuesday was named an assistant men's basketball coach at UC Irvine.

Cravens, 42, was 42-41 in three seasons at Idaho but was fired after his team faltered in February and finished 12-16. Cravens has been an assistant at Utah, Washington, Southwest Texas State and Texas Arlington.

He was runner-up in the voting for Western Athletic Conference coach of the year in 1990 after guiding Utah to a 17-14 record while filling in for Coach Rick Majerus, who had undergone heart bypass surgery.

Irvine Coach Rod Baker, who has one season left on his contract, has been carrying a lame-duck label since the spring exodus of his three top returning players, juniors Kevin Simmons and Brian Keefe and sophomore Clay McKnight. Cravens, a good friend of Baker's for more than 15 years, said he hasn't even considered the possibility of replacing Baker.

"We're here to enjoy the year, all the things there are to do here and the weather, then we'll see what's down the road," Cravens said.

Cravens is beginning his 21st year in college coaching and understands UCI's situation.

"Recruiting is a big part of any program and that's certainly the focus here right now," he said.

"I'm here to help Rod any way I can. A large part of a solid friendship is loyalty, which seems to be a lost commodity in this society. I've been on the downside of that recently, so I know all about a lack of loyalty."

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