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Friday, April 12
Updated: April 15, 12:05 PM ET
 
Dakich quits West Virginia, goes back to Bowling Green

ESPN.com news services

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- Dan Dakich's abrupt departure from West Virginia on Friday leaves more questions than answers.

Dan Dakich
Dakich

Dakich quit as West Virginia's basketball coach a week after being hired, a decision the school said was based on a possible NCAA rules violation last season, and returned to Bowling Green.

In a news conference Friday at Bowling Green, Dakich refused to say what led to his decision. He did say he thought about leaving soon after taking the job with the Mountaineers.

Asked directly if the possible NCAA rules violation was the reason he left West Virginia, Dakich said, "No."

"You just don't make a decision that affects you and your family off of one thing," he said. "I am not going to get into all the things that went on."

West Virginia president David Hardesty disagreed.

"I'm kind of disturbed," Hardesty said. "I just don't think it's one thing. I think it's totally Coach Dakich. He went where he felt he needed to go.

"If it's not a good fit, it's not a good fit."

West Virginia said it was looking into the amateur status of a player on last year's team and had notified the NCAA and the Big East conference. Hardesty said the violation came to light when Dakich talked to players about the last season.

"One player made a comment that gave him some concern," Hardesty said.

Neither he nor Hardesty would not identify the player. No player has been suspended.

Dakich's decision revives an already extended coaching search.

Before hiring Dakich, West Virginia had failed to land Cincinnati's Bob Huggins, an alumnus. Stan Heath, Jeff Lebo and Bruce Weber also withdrew from consideration.

Huggins' name is already being mentioned again.

"That name will resurface," Hardesty said.

Athletic Director Ed Pastilong would not say what the violation was other than it involved "an athlete and a person or group of persons not associated with WVU."

Neither he nor Hardesty would not identify the player.

The university hired a law firm in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is based.

Pastilong said he hopes to hire a new coach within 30 days. He already has received calls from several coaches inquiring about the job. He would not identify them.

Dakich will be offered a new five year contract at Bowling Green with his original base salary of $125,000 plus incentives. He met with his players for about two hours Friday.

"I told these players I made a mistake," he said. "I think the basketball team here is hurt that I left."

Dakich was 89-57 in five years at Bowling Green, but failed to make the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons went 24-9 last season -- the school's most victories in more than half a century -- and played in the NIT for the second time in three years.

Dakich, who was a player and coach under Bob Knight at Indiana for 16 seasons, informed Hardesty of his decision on Thursday night, then told his players at a workout Friday morning.

Senior center John Oliver said he was disappointed because Dakich was "exactly what the team needed. He brought discipline and structure."

"It's tough, and I can understand why he wanted to resign," Oliver said. "There was no future in it."

West Virginia finished last season under Catlett with an 8-20 record, its worst ever.

When Catlett announced his retirement after 24 seasons and a school-record 565 wins, he ripped the team for poor play and lack of pride.

Things didn't improve after Dakich agreed to a five-year, $2.5 million contract last week. He met with his West Virginia players for the first time last Friday -- and kicked five of them out of the meeting when they arrived late.

Dakich never signed a contract at West Virginia and sought to restructure the terms after evaluating the team, Pastilong said.

"We were not willing to restructure the economic terms of his contract as aggressively as he wanted," Hardesty said.

Hardesty said during a conference call Friday that the school offered to add more years onto Dakich's contract after the violation was disclosed but the school declined to add more money to the deal.

Dakich denied that there was a dispute over his contract, and said he only had one workout with the team. He added that he had no problems with the players after that first meeting.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.




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