Celtics Coach Turns Down Hurricanes

Tuesday, June 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Rick Pitino has talked with the University of Miami about its basketball coaching vacancy but will not take the job and plans to remain with the Boston Celtics.

Athletic director Paul Dee said Tuesday that Pitino was not a candidate to succeed Leonard Hamilton, who left for an NBA coaching job after building the Hurricanes into an NCAA tournament team.

``We contacted Rick Pitino to get his advice on some candidates,'' Dee said. ``We did ask if he was available for the job, but it was just a conversation. It didn't get very detailed.''

Pitino said that he spoke with Miami officials, but said he was just offering assistance to the school, which lost Hamilton to the Washington Wizards.

``I've spoken with three schools (recently) about their openings, but it's just a matter of talking with people I know to help them out,'' Pitino said.

Pitino has coached at Boston University, Providence and Kentucky, where he won a national championship.

Dee has reportedly met with Creighton's Dana Altman, South Florida's Seth Greenberg and Hall of Famer Rick Barry about the job.

Dee said he is down to ``three or four'' candidates for the position, but he would not identify them. He did say he would like to have someone chosen in the next week to 10 days before recruiting starts.

Miami and Creighton officials said Altman traveled to Washington last week to talk with Dee and Hamilton. Altman was not available for comment Tuesday.

Hamilton signed a seven-year deal worth a reported $750,000 annually after taking Miami to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.

Hamilton and Altman were former Big Eight Conference colleagues when Hamilton was at Oklahoma State and Altman was at Kansas State.

Altman has taken Creighton to some of its greatest heights since he arrived in Omaha in 1994. The Bluejays have improved their win totals each of the last five years, going 22-9 in 1998-99 and 23-10 in 1999-2000. The ended both seasons in the NCAA tournament.