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Dunn Steps Down as Penn State Coach

March 18, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Jerry Dunn resigned as Penn State's basketball coach on Monday after two poor seasons, including a 7-21 record this season.

He spent eight years at Penn State, going 117-121 and 45-87 in the Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions won only seven games in each of his last two seasons.

"I would like to have had more success over the past two seasons," Dunn said in a statement. "But I am proud of our efforts and what we have accomplished over the past eight years."

At a news conference Monday night, Athletic Director Tim Curley said Dunn was not asked to resign and that a national search would begin immediately for a successor.

"We need to be consistently competitive and we need to be contenders each year for the NCAA tournament. That's our immediate goal," Curley said.

The Penn State job is thought to be one that fired UCLA coach Steve Lavin might have an interest in pursuing.

Mild-mannered off the court, Dunn often clashed with his players. Gyasi Cline-Heard considered transferring after his junior year, and Jon Crispin, a starter on the 2001 team, transferred to UCLA after his sophomore season.

Dunn became Penn State's first black head basketball coach when he replaced Bruce Parkhill in 1995.

Dunn's stay was much like Penn State's basketball history -- a rare outstanding year, a couple of bleak seasons and a lot of mediocrity.

In 2000-01, the Nittany Lions reached the NCAA regional semifinals, beating Providence in the first round, then stunning No. 2-seeded North Carolina. It was the first time since 1954 that Penn State had won two games in the NCAA tournament.

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Clemson coach Larry Shyatt resigned 24 hours after the Tigers failed to get a bid to the NIT.

Shyatt made his decision after meeting with Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips.

Clemson wound up eighth this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference after three straight last-place finishes. The Tigers went 15-13 this season, and Shyatt was 70-84 in five years at Clemson.

Clemson was Shyatt's dream job. He had been the coach at Wyoming for a year and personally paid the school $286,000 to buy out his contract so he could take over the Tigers when Rick Barnes left in 1998.

The Tigers started the season 9-0 before losing six of their first seven ACC games. They won four of their next five before losing five in a row.

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Curtis Hunter was fired as basketball coach of North Carolina A&T after a 1-26 season.

Of the 327 schools in Division I, Tennessee State was the only other one to finish this season with only one victory.

Hunter coached at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school for four seasons, going 28-70.

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USC junior guard Roy Smiley, who broke his fibula, the smaller of two bones in his lower left leg, in a scramble for a loose ball in the Trojans' Pacific 10 Conference tournament championship game loss to Oregon on Saturday, underwent surgery on Monday at University Hospital. A screw was inserted to stabilize his ankle.

According to trainer Mark Pocinich, the joint was injured after the break, which was clean. Smiley is expected to be in a cast for six to eight weeks before beginning rehabilitation. He should be fully healed by the start of practice in October.

Smiley, a junior college transfer from Southeastern Iowa College, averaged 8.6 points and a team-leading 84.4% on free throws. He also made 34.5% (40 of 116) of his three-point shots.

He was the second Trojan to suffer a broken leg this season. Sophomore point guard Brandon Brooks' season ended Jan. 14 when he dislocated his left ankle and broke the leg in practice.

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The top two basketball teams in the Golden State Athletic Conference this season will meet again in the conference tournament tonight as Concordia plays at Azusa Pacific.

Azusa (27-5) enters the game with an edge, having won both regular-season meetings and winning the conference championship by one game over the Eagles. Concordia (30-4) spent time ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Both teams are expected to earn berths in the 32-team NAIA national tournament next week, but tonight's winner will earn the league's automatic berth.

Senior guard Caleb Gervin is Azusa's leading player and was the conference player of the year this season. Jeremy Groth and Rashaun Thomas lead a balanced Concordia team that is having a record-breaking season. The 1994-95 team went 27-7.

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