Archive for Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Haith Hurricanes’ head honcho

Miami introduces former Texas aide as basketball coach

April 13, 2004

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— Frank Haith grew up in North Carolina, watching Atlantic Coast Conference basketball.

Now Miami believes he's the right man to lead them into the powerful league.

Haith, who spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Texas and has no previous head-coaching experience, took over the reins Monday of a Miami program that endured consecutive losing seasons under Perry Clark, who was fired last month.

"He is, in my opinion, the top assistant coach in the country and has proven to be one of the nation's top recruiters," Miami athletic director Paul Dee said.

A turnaround will not be easy at Miami.

The Hurricanes haven't reached postseason play in either of the past two seasons and failed to even make the Big East tournament last season. While the basketball program may be overshadowed by the football team, Haith said he was ready for the challenge.

"Things are in place here ... it's just some nuts and bolts and things we got to do to put this thing together," said Haith, who signed a five-year deal believed to be worth at least $400,000 annually. "That's going to take some time. It's not going to happen overnight."

Haith, 38, will have his recruiting skills tested quickly. His first order of business will be convincing 6-foot-11 center C.J. Giles, Washington's Class 3A player of the year, to come to Miami.

When Clark was fired, Giles started wavering on the letter of intent he signed with the Hurricanes.

Haith also has two other scholarships to fill, and time is short -- signing day is Wednesday.

Haith was one of five people Miami interviewed for the job. Others were Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez, Alabama-Birmingham coach Mike Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth coach Jeff Capel and Kansas University associate head coach Norm Roberts.

Anderson and Capel removed themselves from consideration last week after signing extensions at their current schools. Gonzalez said Sunday he respected Miami's decision to hire a coach with strong ACC ties.

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