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Braswell Interested in Oregon State Job

Men's basketball: Northridge coach, after 20-10 season, ready to talk about coaching position.

March 15, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Coach Bobby Braswell of Cal State Northridge has expressed interest in the Oregon State job, which came open Sunday when Eddie Payne was fired after five consecutive losing seasons.

"I am interested," Braswell told The Oregonian newspaper. "I think there might be more talent at Oregon State than there was when we took over at Oregon.

"Oregon State has great tradition, which is something we didn't necessarily have at Oregon."

Braswell said he has been contacted by Mitch Barnhart, Oregon State athletic director, and was looking forward to further discussions.

Before coming to Northridge, Braswell was an assistant coach at Oregon under Jerry Green, who is now coaching Tennessee in the NCAA tournament.

Barnhart reportedly wants a coach who features an up-tempo game and one that has knowledge of the Northwest.

The Matadors have a 63-53 record in four seasons under Braswell, whose teams play aggressive man-to-man defense and press full court.

Braswell successfully recruited from Oregon while at Northridge, bringing in 6-9 junior center Brian Heinle, 6-3 junior guard Carl Holmes and 6-10 freshman center Dan Read, all of the Eugene area.

In his third season, Braswell guided Northridge to its first winning record on the Division I level. The Matadors were 17-12 and tied for third in the Big Sky at 9-7.

This season, Northridge finished 20-10 overall and tied for fourth in the Big Sky at 10-6. For the second time in four seasons, the Matadors played in the Big Sky tournament final, losing to Northern Arizona, 85-81, in overtime.

In his first season, Braswell guided the Matadors to a 14-15 record and they qualified for the Big Sky tournament with an 8-8 record. Northridge lost, 82-79, in the tournament final. In his second season, Northridge went 12-16 and were again sixth in the Big Sky at 9-7.

Braswell spent four seasons as an assistant at Oregon. He also was an assistant at Long Beach State and head coach at Cleveland High.

The Beavers went 52-88 in Payne's five seasons, including 20-70 in the Pac-10 and 5-40 in conference road games.

The Beavers began their decline from a powerful program to mediocrity well before Payne arrived in 1995, but the rebuilding job was getting harder, particularly with Oregon State's facilities lagging behind the elite Pac-10 schools.

Barnhart said he expects the hiring process to last about two weeks.

It's been 37 years since Oregon State appeared in the Final Four--and 18 since they were ranked No. 1--and the program may never reach those heights again. But Barnhart, who hired football Coach Dennis Erickson and watched him end the school's 29-year streak of losing seasons in his first season, thinks the basketball team can at least become respectable again.

"We've always got to be pointing toward the postseason," Barnhart said. "I don't think that's an unrealistic expectation for Oregon State."

* Matadors one of 14 teams with 20 victories left out of postseason play. Page 11

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