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News Nuggets, 01.18.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Auburn CEO resigns over secretive plot to change coaches


01.17.04: Pitino absent as Louisville makes quick turnaround... .. Southern Miss staggers No. 21 Marquette in Green Bay... .. Kentucky fan gets 27-year exile for web recruiting operation... .. More...
01.16.04: Houston, Hawaii kiss and make up... .. Southern Miss in danger at 'home' in Green Bay... .. Basketball rules changes delayed... .. More...
01.15.04: Punishment in the works for Hawaii Bowl brawlers... .. ECU-U of L tickets: Get 'em while you can... .. Bearcats dispel doubts, rip non-cream puff... .. More...
01.14.04: 'Meet the Baseball Pirates' feast on deck... .. Coach with ECU ties takes over at Citadel... .. USF AD Selmon sidelined by health issue... .. NCAA reverses field on Argentine transfer... .. More...
01.13.04: Charlotte guard honored for 'Demonizing' ECU, DePaul... .. Brindise, McFarland hirings become official... .. Minter hooks up with old boss Holtz... .. AP basketball poll... .. More...
01.12.04: NCAA considers sanctions for academic dawdlers... .. UAB's Finley among candidates for Senior CLASS Award... .. C-USA basketball standings, scores & schedule... .. More...
01.11.04: Punishment looming for Hawaii Bowl brawl... .. Saban assistant takes over UCF defense... .. Hundreds bitten by bogus Sugar Bowl tickets... .. Redick one shot away from new record... .. More...
01.10.04: Las Vegas Bowl ponders overthrow of Liberty Bowl arrangement... .. Clemson duo plans to play for pay... .. Bulldogs' Croon picks up a 'Beamer'... .. Amputee expected to see action in Shrine game... .. More...
01.09.04: Losman, Rivers among pass-happy QB's in Senior Bowl... .. Houston AD fingers Hawaii for donnybrook... .. Tulane cracks Top Ten in preseason baseball poll... .. More...
01.08.04: Local station plans gold-clad student section for U of L game... .. Sugar Bowl bombs in boob-tube ratings... .. More...

AUBURN — Auburn president William Walker resigned Friday after enduring heavy criticism for the way he botched a football coaching search.

Walker's resignation came two days after he met with Gov. Bob Riley to discuss problems facing the school.

The 66-year-old Walker, who had been president of the university for 19 months, said he hoped his resignation would "mark the beginning of a new day at Auburn."

There was no immediate word on who would succeed him on an interim basis, but executive vice president Donald Large was expected to handle duties until a decision is made.

Walker, athletic director David Housel and two trustees secretly flew to meet with Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino on Nov. 20, two days before Auburn played Alabama. Neither Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville nor Louisville officials were informed of the trip, and a firestorm of criticism erupted when it became public.

In the end, Tuberville got a one-year extension to say on as coach.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools also placed Auburn on 12-month probation, saying the university had not prevented a minority of trustees from micromanaging the school.

"I am hopeful that my decision to step down as president will mark the beginning of a new day at Auburn and that all members of the Auburn family will put aside their differences and work together to refocus Auburn on its true land grant mission of instruction, outreach and research," Walker said in a statement.

Drunken fan cuffed after beheading mascot

ST. CLOUD, MN — All Blizzard wanted was a hug.

But the St. Cloud State mascot wound up with the head of his costume knocked off by a drunken North Dakota fan during a hockey game, police said.

It happened during North Dakota's 3-1 victory earlier this month, leading to misdemeanor charges against Ryan H. Hazzard, 18, the St. Cloud Times reported. He's charged with consuming alcohol as a minor, disorderly conduct and giving false information to police.

Hazzard could have avoided the charges, according to a police report, if he had just stayed out of the National Hockey Center after being banished.

Hazzard and a Huskies fan were separated by police after a shouting match. About five minutes later, an officer saw mascot Blizzard walk past the St. Cloud State student section followed by Hazzard, who was yelling at him.

"Blizzard no longer had his costume's dog head on his shoulders and he appeared very upset," the report said.

Erich Michael Weiss, 24, had been wearing the costume that night and was giving fans hugs, so he held out his arms to give Hazzard a hug.

Hazzard pushed Weiss and then knocked his dog head off, the report said. He was escorted out of the arena and told not to return.

But Hazzard didn't comply, and was verbally abusive to officers, so they handcuffed and arrested him, the report said. A check of his ID showed he was 18, not 22 as claimed, and a breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.10 percent in Minnesota.

Nutt demands on-air apology from 'goofball' Alberts

FAYETTEVILLE, AR — Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt says he accepts an apology from a television analyst who suggested he used Nebraska to win a pay raise from Razorback athletic director Frank Broyles, but he said he would like to see more.

When asked Saturday if he was satisfied that Trev Alberts of ESPN called him to apologize, Nutt said: "Not really. I want him to go on the air and apologize. I'm not through with it."

Nutt didn't say what else he might do, but said an on-air apology is what he wants to see.

"That's what I would like to see, but I don't see it happening," Nutt said before the Arkansas-Mississippi basketball game.

Nutt said Alberts called him Friday to apologize. After Alberts made his initial comments, Nutt called him a "goofball."

Alberts said in a broadcast Wednesday that Nutt had been dishonest in his dealings with Nebraska. Thursday, Alberts said Nutt badgered Nebraska from the day Frank Solich was fired, "so he could use them to get a pay raise."

Nutt said Jan. 3 he would stay at Arkansas. He was given a pay raise from about $800,000 a year to $1.2 million.

Nutt said he never called Nebraska and Broyles said he hoped the network would discipline Alberts over his remarks.

Nutt said he didn't know if Broyles still planned to send a formal complaint to the sports television network.

"I don't know. He was pretty upset," Nutt said.

The Arkansas coach said Friday that he had planned to call Alberts about his remarks, but Alberts called him first. Nutt wouldn't provide details of the conversation, but said it was cordial.

"I told him I appreciated his apology, and that he called," Nutt said.

Alberts could not be reached for comment.

Broyles told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper of Little Rock that Alberts' remarks were "as unprofessional as I've ever heard. I don't believe a word of it. It know it's not true."

Nebraska athletic department spokeswoman Chris Anderson said Friday the school will not comment on the individual interviews conducted with applicants to the head coaching job.

Nutt said Alberts, who played linebacker at Nebraska and won the Butkus Award in 1993, was trying to help his former team after it received negative publicity after firing Solich Nov. 29.

Alberts said he disagreed with Solich's firing after a 9-3 record in 2003 but said his ties to the Cornhuskers had nothing to do with his remarks.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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