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Arizona's Mackovic Vows to Change His Approach

November 14, 2002|From Associated Press

TUCSON — Arizona football Coach John Mackovic, his voice choking with emotion Wednesday, admitted major mistakes in dealing with his players and assistants.

Mackovic, however, said he would not resign and pledged to do a better job in the future.

He has three years remaining on a contract that pays him $800,000 per year.

Arizona is 0-6 in the Pacific 10 Conference for the first time in its 25 years in the league. The Wildcats are 3-7 with two games remaining.

They are 8-13, 2-12 in the Pac-10 under Mackovic, who replaced Dick Tomey on Dec. 4, 2000.

Mackovic, 59, met with his players for 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon and allowed them to air their grievances with him.

More than 40 players met with school President Peter Likins on Tuesday night -- without Mackovic's knowledge -- to reportedly voice their concerns about the coach.

At a news conference, Mackovic apologized for remarks he had made to some players, including telling a player that he "was a disgrace to his family" by the way he had performed.

That player was tight end Justin Levasseur.

"He just said something about my family that I didn't appreciate. He apologized for it," Levasseur said. "A little late, but he did apologize."

Mackovic said the comment came after Arizona's 31-10 loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 21, and he had "allowed it to fester since then."

The Wildcats, who have lost 17 of their last 19 Pac-10 games, play at California on Saturday and end the season against Arizona State on Nov. 29 at Tucson.

Mackovic was hired by Arizona after coaching stints at Texas, Illinois and Wake Forest. He coached the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs from 1983-86 and was an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys in 1981-82.

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