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Memphis goes West
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis defensive coordinator Tommy West was promoted to head football coach on Thursday.

West, 46, replaces Rip Scherer, who was fired after six non-winning seasons with the Tigers.

"We need to win," said West, who was 31-28 as head coach at Clemson from 1993-98. "Seriously, that's what you need to do. I can stand here and talk to you all I want to talk to you and I can go speak at every civic club, but we need to win. Winning will fill the stadium."

West came to Memphis in December 1999 after he was fired from Clemson following the 1998 season. In five years, he led Clemson to four bowl appearances.

Memphis athletics director R.C. Johnson said West has a five-year contract with a base salary of $139,725. It also includes $100,000 a year for radio and television shows and $10,275 for public relations appearances.

West, hired at Memphis by Scherer, said his former boss congratulated him on the promotion.

"He really wanted me to be a part of this program," West said.

Under West, Memphis' defense was ranked first nationally in rushing defense and sixth in total defense. West said he plans to hire a new defensive coordinator, as well as an offensive coordinator.

The Tigers offense struggled throughout Scherer's tenure, and West said recruiting for a stronger offense will be a top priority.

"It will be a very hard-nosed, physical football team ... I don't want to throw it 70 times a game and lose, but on the other hand, I don't want to run it 70 times and lose," he said.

West, a native of Carrollton, Ga., is a 1975 graduate of Tennessee, where he lettered three years in football and two in baseball. He began his college coaching career as an assistant at Ole Miss in 1979.

West also has coached at Tennessee, South Carolina and Appalachian State. He was head coach at UT-Chattanooga in 1993.

Coaching changes