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Archive for Monday, March 13, 1995

BOB FREDERICK

March 13, 1995

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First it was Kansas' proximity to Kemper Arena, site of the NCAA Midwest Regional. Now it's Kansas' No. 1 seed.

No, Bob Frederick's first year as chairman of the NCAA Division One men's basketball committee hasn't been without controversy.

On Sunday, just after the tournament bracket was released, Frederick took part in a national teleconference and was grilled by the media,. The Kansas athletic director answered questions that smacked of alleged impropriety.

Did the selection committee take it easy on the Jayhawks because their AD was the committee's chair? No chance, Frederick said.

Frederick -- and Kentucky AD C.M. Newton -- followed committee procedure by excusing themselves from the discussions about their schools. Frederick learned the Jayhawks had locked the top seed sometime Sunday afternoon.

"I'm not sure when the scenario played out that resulted in Kansas being a No. 1 seed," Frederick said. "There was a lot of pressure in the room. I really didn't have any reaction. I just realized that we, that the rest of the committee, did the best job they could, and I felt comfortable standing up there and saying Kansas was a No. 1 seed."

As comfortable as he was announcing Kansas at the top, Frederick couldn't bring himself to talk with the Jayhawks' coach. KU stayed at the Hyatt Regency between games in the Big Eight tournament. Frederick and his committee were sequestered on the top floors to determine the bracket.

Frederick and KU coach Roy Williams bumped into each other in the hotel's lobby -- and commentators on CBS suggested the meeting was improper. Frederick disagreed.

"I never talked to Roy Williams until (Saturday) afternoon," he said. "I ran into him in the lobby after they lost to Iowa State. He was ready to leave for Emporia to see his son in the state tournament. I shook his hand and said I was sorry for the loss, but that was all I said to him. Even if I wanted to talk to him, I didn't think it would be appropriate."

Make no mistake -- Frederick did want to bend Williams' ear. Frederick's son, Brad, was playing in the same state tournament games as Scott Williams, Roy's son.

While Frederick was holed up at the Hyatt, Roy Williams was able to zip down to Emporia to see Lawrence High win its first state boys basketball title since 1983.

"It was difficult for me," Frederick said. "I knew he went to Friday night's game in Emporia, and I knew he'd know a lot more than my wife, but I didn't talk to him."

Frederick kept tabs on the Lions through his wife, Margey, and modern technology.

Bob Frederick carried a beeper into his committee meetings, and Margey called after each quarter to report the score.

"I had a message beeper -- I don't even know what to call it -- that vibrates or makes a bell sound," Bob Frederick said. "I didn't want to disturb the committee, so I had it on vibrator and set it on the table. ... Each evening I'd call the local radio station in Lawrence when I thought it was about the last few minutes of the game. We'd have a bathroom break for the committee, and I listened to the last two minutes of both games, and that's it."

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