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Giacoletti coached Eagles to NCAA berth

SALT LAKE CITY -- Eastern Washington coach Ray Giacoletti
was hired Tuesday by Utah to replace the most successful basketball
coach in school history.

Giacoletti replaces Rick Majerus, who took the Utes to 10 NCAA
tournaments and the 1998 national title game but resigned in
January because of poor health.

Giacoletti said Utah athletic director Chris Hill called him
Tuesday morning and asked if he'd be interested.

"I didn't have to think very long about it to decide that I
wanted it," he said Tuesday night.

He said Utah's program has been "an elite program in college
basketball for a number of years. I'm just excited for the
opportunity."

He said the number of years in the contract and the salary still
were being worked out and he hoped to settle it all Wednesday.

Giacoletti is to be introduced at a news conference Wednesday.

Eastern Washington athletic director Scott Barnes said he
learned Tuesday that negotiations were in progress and expected to
be losing Giacoletti.

"They're going to get a young coach who is of great character
and integrity. He will outwork everybody in the country," Barnes
said. "He is a strong teacher and a relentless recruiter and I
think is a guy that will endear himself to the community."

Utah also interviewed former Utes assistant Trent Johnson, who
agreed to a contract extension at Nevada on Tuesday.

Giacoletti, 41, was 69-50 with Eastern Washington, taking the
Eagles to the Big Sky Conference tournament title game in each of
his four seasons.

This season, the Eagles won the league's regular season title,
then clinched the automatic NCAA berth by beating Northern Arizona
71-59 in the championship game.

Giacoletti also went 48-33 in three seasons at North Dakota
State.

Majerus announced at the end of January that he was resigning in
his 15th season. He had experienced severe chest pains and went to
California to be treated by his cardiologist, leaving the Utes to
assistant Kerry Rupp.

Utah finished 9-4 under Rupp and won the Mountain West
Conference tournament. They lost to Boston College in the opening
round of the NCAA tournament.

Rupp, a former Utah high school coach who had been on Majerus'
staff three years, said last week that Hill planned to bring in a
more experienced coach.

Washington State assistant Mike Burns, who was an assistant to Giacoletti at Eastern Washington for three seasons, is expected to be the leading candidate to replace Giacoletti. Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice is also expected to get consideration for the job.

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.