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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Don't Look for Heathcote to Go Zag-Nuts

March 23, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD

ATLANTA — At almost any Gonzaga home game, you can find season-ticket holder Jud Heathcote pulling for the Zags. "He's definitely a real supporter of our team, but I'm going to have to guess he's probably going to root for Michigan State," point guard Dan Dickau said.

Heathcote, the coach at Michigan State from 1976-95, has retired to Spokane, Wash., where he once coached high school basketball, and is a regular around Gonzaga.

"These last couple of months we've been able to have what I call 'Tuesdays with Jud,"' Coach Mark Few said. "We have a sandwich and a bowl of soup down at Jack and Dan's Tavern, which John Stockton's father owns, and just talk hoops.

"About the last 10 minutes is usually when he starts lighting me up for my guys not getting their hands up on shooters, for not blocking out, for not taking care of the basketball, etc., etc."

Dickau said Heathcote has even wandered by the gym in the off-season, just to watch the guys play pickup for 45 minutes or so.

"He did jump on me one time. I took a three and right in the middle of open gym, he's sitting on the sideline, and he yelled at me just like a coach would," Dickau said. "That was kind of funny."

With Gonzaga facing the defending national champion Spartans in a South Regional semifinal today, Few decided not to take any chances and didn't return to Spokane after the first and second rounds.

"Jud's the main reason we came straight to Atlanta from Memphis," Few said. "I didn't want him up there scouting our practices and sneaking around."

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