Raleigh, N.C. — Mark Gottfried said all the things North Carolina State fans wanted to hear: He plans to contend for a national championship, be a fixture in the NCAA Tournament and go toe-to-toe with the Wolfpack’s highly ranked rivals.
Now he’s got to deliver.
“Every job in America has different challenges, obstacles, those things that make the job difficult,” North Carolina’s new men’s basketball coach said Tuesday. “I’m not backing down from anybody here, period. We want to win.”
NC State has struggled the last five seasons under Sidney Lowe. Gottfried, 47, will look to avoid recent disappointing finishes in the ACC, while beating Duke and North Carolina a little more often.
Athletic director Debbie Yow said Gottfried will receive a five-year contract with a guarantee of $1.2 million annually, a deal that includes an automatic two-year extension if he leads N.C. State back to the NCAA Tournament in either of the next two seasons.
Huskies arrive home in style
Storrs, Conn. — Kemba Walker powered Connecticut to a third national title and in return the school put the star guard’s name and number on the wall of Gampel Pavilion.
It was a surprise moment during Tuesday’s victory rally before about 7,500 rabid UConn fans who came to the arena to celebrate Monday night’s 53-41 win over Butler, and chanted “Kemba Walker,” and “One more year.”
Frosh Richmond leaving Illinois
Champaign, Ill. — Freshman Forward Jereme Richmond has declared for the NBA Draft after one year at Illinois, ending a rocky college career for the highly-touted hoops recruit.
The school said Tuesday that Richmond is working out in Chicago to get ready for the June 23 draft but hasn’t hired an agent, a move that could allow him to remain a college player. But the announcement made it clear he’s left Illinois.
Knight gets fresh start at Lamar
Beaumont, Texas — Pat Knight is getting a fresh start at Lamar.
The son of Hall of Famer Bob Knight was introduced as the new coach of the Cardinals on Tuesday, less than a month after he was fired by Texas Tech.
The 40-year-old Knight replaces Steve Roccaforte, who was fired after going 76-78 in five years. The Cardinals finished 13-17 and 7-9 in the Southland Conference to tie for ninth place last season.
League, players going to court
Minneapolis — The NFL lockout is about to head to court.
With the lockout at three weeks and no end in sight, attorneys for the NFL and its locked-out players will go before a federal judge today in the first round of their fight over the future of the $9 billion business — including the 2011 season.
The players — with stars like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees among the plaintiffs and retirees and yet-to-play rookies joining them in support — are asking for an immediate end to the lockout on the basis of “irreparable harm” to their careers.
Fiesta to meet with NCAA
Fiesta Bowl officials will meet later this month with the NCAA subcommittee in charge of licensing bowl games.
Fiesta Bowl spokesman Andrew Bagnato confirmed the April 28 meeting in New Orleans, which will coincide with the Bowl Championship Series meetings.
The Fiesta Bowl could potentially have its four-year license revoked, though in the past licenses had only been revoked because of financial or attendance problems.
The meeting is in response to a report commissioned by the Arizona-based game that led to the firing of its longtime president for alleged misuse of funds.
Westwood endures rocky ride
Augusta, Ga. — Lee Westwood is happy to be at the Masters after a brief scare on the flight from Houston. He was on a private jet to Augusta when smoke filled the cabin a few minutes after takeoff. He says the pilots put on their oxygen masks and quickly turned the jet around and headed back to Houston. Fire trucks met the plane.
Bonds’ prosecution rests
San Francisco — A federal judge ruled jurors in the Barry Bonds trial may not hear a freshly rediscovered recording of two key witnesses — ridiculed by the defense as a “miracle tape” — as prosecutors rested their case against the home-run king Tuesday after 21⁄2 weeks and 25 witnesses.
The defense said it planned to call up to six witnesses, including possibly Bonds himself, in a presentation that lawyers projected will start and end Wednesday. If that schedule holds up, closing arguments would take place Thursday morning and the case could go to the jury of eight women and four men later in the day.