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March 22, 2001 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-22

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Daily forum
Who do you want Michigan to hire as the new basketball
coach?
Are you concerned about Drew Henson's future?
Stop yelling from the sidelines. Speak your mind at
michigandmly.comlforum. We'll see you there.
michigandaily.com/slports

ZJbe Sit 9ga ailp
P OR TS

THURSDAY
MARCH 22, 2001

5A

Pitino changes his mind, goes to Louisville

By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Editor
Despite leaning towards Michigan yesterday morn-
ing, Rick Pitino decided to accept the coaching job at
Louisville yesterday.
Pitino was offered the head coaching job at Michi-
gan, and as late as 11:30 a.m. yesterday was leaning
towards signing with the Wolverines.
"I had a wonderful experience talking with the athlet-
ic director (Bill Martin) at Michigan," Pitino said at his
press conference. "The student body there was great to
me in terms of their support. I was blown away by that.
And at 11:30 this morning, I called my two friends and
said 'I'm probably going to go to Michigan.'
"And they said 'what's stopping you from doing
that?' and I said 'cowardice. I can't get on the phone

and tell (Louisville athletic director) Tom (Jurich) no. I
can't tell him this."'
The Michigan Daily reported yesterday that Pitino
was leaning towards coming to Michigan, and that his
family would play a large role in his decision.
"My wife (Joanne) said 'I think that you love the
state of Kentucky; you love the people you met at U. of
L. I think you should go back to the place you love."'
The news came a few hours after an organized rally
in the Diag in support of Pitino coming to Michigan.
The rally was led by Superfan Reza Breakstone and
Michigan alumnus Joe Johnson, who organized a peti-
tion which was signed by nearly 4,000 students in favor
of Pitino coming to Michigan. The signatures were ulti-
mately faxed and mailed to Pitino's home in Boston.
Pitino's friend and ESPN basketball analyst Dick
Vitale said that Pitino ultimately "loved the state of

Kentucky too much," and that "Louisville got such a
jump on recruiting him. They recruited him so hard for
so long, it was really tough for him to say 'no.'"
The petition "really meant so much to him," Vitale
said. "He was really impressed with that."
The Sporting News reported that Martin offered Piti-
no a base salary of $900,000, a report that Martin
refused to comment on.
Ultimately, the attraction of returning to Kentucky
was too much for Pitino to turn down.
"That was the most important thing for me," Pitino
said, "to be back in the state you love."
Pitino won the 1996 national title with Kentucky and
took the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1993 and 1997.
He coached Providence to the Final Four in 1987.
His hiring follows an aggressive courtship Louisville
athletic director Tom Jurich had with Pitino for the last
two weeks. Two weeks ago, Jurich said that Pitino was
his only candidate for the job.
The hiring leaves Michigan looking in other direc-
tions for Brian Ellerbe's replacement.
Vitale said that Seton Hall's coach Tommy Amaker
still is a candidate, but that he has not had an opportuni-
ty to see who else is on Michigan candidate's list or
who the Wolverines might be leaning towards.
It has been reported that Amaker will be in Ann
Arbor this weekend to meet with Martin about the job.
Martin refused comment on this.
THANK YOU: Johnson thanked everyone who attend-
ed the press conference and helped the cause.
"We went from being laughed at, to starting some-
thing, to speaking to Rick, to Rick thanking us to Rick
saying 'You almost had me. You almost had me,' "
Johnson said.
Johnson spoke with Pitino yesterday
"He kept thanking us for all of the support. He's a
class act. It's too bad it didn't work out."
When asked who Johnson would like to see Michigan
hire, he said "I voted. I wanted them to hire Pitino. But
I'll support Michigan basketball no matter who they
hire."

DAVID NKL/Dily
r quarterback Drew Henson is considering giving up football after one year as
a starter to play baseball with the Yankees full-time.

STEPHANIE
OFFEN

Drew, what's changed?

n a 1999 interview with ESPN,
Drew Henson admitted that he
had no intention of ever leaving
Jhe University of Michigan early to
rsue a baseball career with the
New York Yankees. If Henson want-
ed to play baseball, he could have
played right out of high school,
after agreeing to a $2 million sign-
ing bonus with the Yankees. He
could have left school the next
summer instead of waiting patiently
for his starting opportunity with the
Wolverines on the gridiron.
The quarterback reiterated his
Wmmitment to Michigan before the
ginning of his first season as a
starter - before sitting out three
games with a foot injury. And even
after that injury and after a some-
what disappointing season, Henson
reconfirmed his commitment to his
team, and to getting his degree,
four days after he led his team to a
Citrus Bowl victory.
And after David Terrell, his star
*ceiver, passed up his senior year
to enter the NFL draft, Henson was
still true to his word: He came to
Michigan to play Michigan football
- for four entire years - and
nothing, no signing bonuses or
departing receivers were going to
change that.
But only two months after that
Citrus Bowl victory, only two
months after Henson committed
himself to starting a full season as a
1ichigan quarterback, everything
1ien son had committed to might
-now be taken in vain. The money
that didn't entice him before may
.,have enticed him Tuesday when
George Steinbrenner decided to
attempt to lure Henson away from
his beloved Wolverines for $4 or $5
million dollars a year.
It is no secret that Steinbrenner
as always had a warm spot in his
eart for the third-baseman. Stein-
brenner reluctantly traded Henson
to the Cincinnati Reds last summer,
in part because Henson wouldn't
give up Michigan football to devote
himself entirely to the Yankees.
The Record of Hackensack, N.J.
reported Tuesday that Henson is
regarded as a superstar in the Yan-

kee organization and will be valu-
able in taking over third-base duties
after Scott Brosius' contract expires
in a year.
So it is obvious why Steinbrenner
wants Henson and wants him all to
himself right now. But it is not so
obvious why Henson would even
contemplate solely wanting the
Yankees.
The money will still be there next
season as long as he avoids injury.
Injury is always a risk but so is dri-
ving down State Street during any
weekday - the point is that you
take the risk anyway.
What won't be there next year is
a Heisman trophy. What won't be
there is a national championship.
What won't be there is a college
degree. What won't be there are his
friends who have worked hard with
him for four years to bring the team
and the program to where it is
today. What won't be there at the
end of next year is a column about
how Henson was true to his word
that he is, in his words, "In no
hurry to leave."
None of us at this university are
in the position to pass judgment or
try to make a decision for the star
quarterback. With four or five mil-
lion staring me in the face, I would
probably give up my last month of
See OFFEN, Page 8A
Food for Thought
Human Rights
The protesters accused
the U.S. of supporting a
brutal South Vietnamese
regime. Where are
they now, when 2,000
more Montangards have
joined the "disappeared"
under the regime of
communist Vietnam?
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors
www.garylillie.com

Ultimately, Rick Pitino's familiarity with the state of Kentucky attracted him to the Louisville job.
Wolverines beat St.
Joe's i home opener

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Writer

A look at the 11-1 score for the Michigan
baseball team's win in yesterday's home
opener would suggest the Wolverines looked
like they were taking batting practice against
St. Joseph's. While they were at it, Michigan
had a little pitching practice as well.
Michigan used seven different pitchers, six
of whom pitched just an inning each. Vince
Pistilli threw for the win in three innings in
relief of starter Bryce Ralston who was mak-
ing his first appearance, since coming back
from Tommy John surgery. Ralston allowed
one unearned run, in part due to back-to-
back walks which loaded the bases and
brought in the run.
"My arm was fine, just a little rust," Ral-
ston said of his early departure. "My arm felt
great, that's the main thing. I threw a lot

more balls than I normally would, but that's
expected coming off surgery for the first
time."
Other than Pistilli and Bobby Garza, those
who pitched yesterday have seen limited
action. None of them had pitched more than
2.1 innings for the year.
"We're trying to get guys work," said
Michigan assistant coach Chris Harrison,
who was filling in for coach Geoff Zahn who
chose this game to serve an NCAA suspen-
sion from last season. "This is basically like
a bullpen for them, except they get to get out
and throw in competition."
The offense also saw a lot of different hit-
ters by the day's end, but the production was
not so evenly divided. The hit parade was led
by left fielder Jordan Cantalemessa who went
4-for-4 with three RBIs and was a triple shy
of the cycle. Gino Lollio and Nate Wright
added three RBIs and a homerun each.

I 1ss-
ALYSSA WOOD/Daily
Michigan ran by St. Joseph's yesterday, taking its home opener, 11-1.

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2001 Big Ten
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