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AROUND THE NATION | DAILY REPORT

Shake-Up Begins at Miami

January 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

Kick returner Devin Hester chose to skip his senior season and leave Miami on Monday, a decision announced hours after the Hurricanes fired four assistant coaches following consecutive three-loss seasons.

Hester becomes the 11th Miami player to forgo his final season of eligibility and make himself available for the NFL draft in the last five seasons; seven of the previous Hurricanes who left early were first-round picks.

Although Hester's decision wasn't unexpected, the moves made by Coach Larry Coker stunned many people around the program. He fired offensive line coach Art Kehoe, offensive coordinator Dan Werner, linebacker coach Vernon Hargreaves and running back coach Don Soldinger.

"For me, it's definitely personally a very tough decision," Coker said. "But it's a decision I think had to be made.... We have high standards here, high standards are set, and I think we have to work hard to live up to those standards."

Coker said Hester told him Sunday night of his decision to leave, two days after the ninth-ranked Hurricanes lost, 40-3, to No. 10 Louisiana State in the Peach Bowl.

Miami was 9-3 this season.

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Indiana Coach Terry Hoeppner had surgery to remove a tumor from his right temple and is expected to make a full recovery.

Hoeppner, 58, underwent surgery on Dec. 27 and has returned home to Bloomington, Ind., the school said.

Hoeppner began having headaches Dec. 24 while in Cleveland to watch Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whom he coached at Miami of Ohio, play against the Browns.

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