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Archive for Monday, March 13, 2006

Nebraska will keep Collier

March 13, 2006

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— Barry Collier will be retained as Nebraska's head basketball coach for at least another year, ending weeks of speculation about his status.

Athletic director Steve Pederson and Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm issued a joint statement Sunday night announcing that Collier would stay.

It would have cost Nebraska $976,090 to buy out the last two years of Collier's four-year contract.

The Cornhuskers (19-13) lost six of their last eight regular-season games to finish in sixth place in the Big 12 Conference at 7-9. But they knocked off Missouri and Oklahoma to reach the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. Their surprising run ended with a 79-65 loss to eventual tournament champion Kansas University on Saturday.

"In an overall view, finishing in the top half of the Big 12, being the No. 6 seed in the tournament, and winning 19 games represents significant improvement from a year ago," Pederson and Boehm said. "The missing ingredient now is an NCAA Tournament appearance."

The Huskers will play in the NIT, traveling to Hofstra for a Thursday game.

Collier is 89-90 overall and has never had a winning Big 12 record in six seasons at Nebraska. Attendance at the Devaney Sports Center this season was the lowest in the building's 30-year history.

Collier's job status became an issue last season as the Huskers finished 14-14 overall and tied for eighth in the Big 12 with a 7-9 league record.

The Huskers this season played an undistinguished nonconference schedule, which included a 26-point loss to in-state rival Creighton, but then opened Big 12 play 5-3 and were as high as third place in the standings. Nebraska's 2-6 dive at the end of the regular season included home losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State, teams that finished below the Huskers in the conference.

"The success in the Big 12 tournament is quite possibly the next step in turning the corner. We beat an excellent Oklahoma team, the No. 3 seed in the tournament and a top 20 team, and did it in impressive fashion," Pederson and Boehm said.

The administrators also said they had been impressed with the play of a number of newcomers and that their performances were a reason for optimism.

They said they also supported Collier's midseason decision to dismiss Joe McCray, who had repeated broken team rules.

"Barry Collier is a fine man and excellent representative of the University of Nebraska," Pederson and Boehm said. "He does things the right way, he works hard, he has an excellent staff and his players actions are in line with how we believe a program should be run."

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