Pool sinks Neuheisel
Coach admits he's been fired by Washington for gamblingPosted: Thursday June 12, 2003 2:55 AM
Updated: Thursday June 12, 2003 3:06 AM
SEATTLE (AP) -- Rick Neuheisel is out as Washington's football coach, less than a week after acknowledging he bet on the NCAA basketball tournament.
"This is a sad night for me because I've poured a lot of myself into this job -- and it was a great job," Neuheisel told KING-TV on Wednesday night.
"I am not the guy they're portraying me to be," he said. "I'll find new challenges. I will hopefully scale new ladders."
Athletic department spokesman Jim Daves said a news conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. He did not disclose further details.The NCAA prohibits coaches from gambling on college sports. Neuheisel admitted last week he had placed the bets over the past two tournaments, thinking he did nothing wrong.
NCAA president Myles Brand called the actions "totally unacceptable behavior."
Neuheisel said school administrators felt he hadn't been forthright when NCAA investigators initially questioned him about his role in the neighborhood gambling pool, KING reported.
Asked whether it had hit him that he's no longer coach of the Huskies, he said: "I didn't want to think about it during the fight during this last week because I thought it would derail my efforts.
"So I'm probably not dealing with reality, but the facts are the facts, and we deal with them."
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reported late Tuesday that Neuheisel would be fired, has said offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson will be chosen as interim coach. Gilbertson told the newspaper he had no knowledge of the move.
The decision capped a tumultuous 4 1/2-year tenure at Washington for Neuheisel, hailed for his 11-1 record and Rose Bowl title during the 2000 season and his sensitive handling of the paralysis and subsequent death of safety Curtis Williams.
At the same time, Neuheisel consistently attracted trouble. He skirted NCAA rules by making improper visits to recruits. He drew the ire of rival Pac-10 coaches at Oregon and UCLA by publicly criticizing their recruiting techniques.
The NCAA banned Neuheisel from off-campus recruiting through this spring as punishment for 50 secondary rules violations at Colorado. The American Football Coaches Association later censured him for showing a lack of remorse in the matter.
Earlier this year, Neuheisel interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers for their then-vacant coaching job but released a statement denying he had talked to the NFL team. He later admitted he had lied.
Then came the revelation he was involved in the high-stakes NCAA basketball tournament pool. Neuheisel said he made bets but insisted he didn't believe he was breaking any NCAA rules because it was an informal pool with friends and neighbors.
He also claimed an athletic department e-mail, attributed to the school's compliance director, gave him permission to participate.
Neuheisel was 33-16 at Washington after going 33-14 in four seasons at Colorado.
Picked by Colorado as its head coach at 33, Neuheisel went 10-2 in each of his first two seasons and 13-10 over the next two. He jumped to Seattle after the 1998 season, signing a five-year deal worth just under $1 million a year.
At Washington, Neuheisel was 18-6 in his first two years, highlighted by the 2001 Rose Bowl title. Then he went 15-10, and last fall the 7-6 Huskies barely avoided the school's first losing season in 25 years.
He signed a six-year contract extension in September that boosted his income to $1.2 million a year.
Under terms of his contract, Neuheisel can be fired for "just cause," which includes violation of NCAA rules.
The university can do so without being required to pay him anything, and Neuheisel would have to repay a $1.5 million loan that was awarded as part of his contract extension.
It wasn't immediately known if the university would be required
to pay a $3.6 million buyout.