Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Harrick Gets Georgia Job Bulldogs Lure Ex-UCLA Coach Away from Rhode Island

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Harrick Gets Georgia Job Bulldogs Lure Ex-UCLA Coach Away from Rhode Island

Article excerpt

ATHENS, Ga. -- Jim Harrick restored his reputation at Rhode Island. Now he's back on the coaching A-list.

Harrick was hired yesterday as basketball coach at Georgia, completing his comeback from a recruiting scandal that led to his firing at UCLA three years ago.

"From the beginning, we said our commitment would be to hire a proven head coach," Georgia Athletic Director Vince Dooley said. "Obviously, we've far surpassed that expectation."

Dooley checked with the NCAA before hiring Harrick, who guided UCLA to the 1995 national championship but was fired the following year for his involvement with an illegal recruiting dinner.

Harrick paid the tab and allegedly lied to cover up that more players were at the dinner than allowed by NCAA rules. After sitting out the 1996-97 season, he spent two years at Rhode Island, leading the Rams to the NCAA Tournament both seasons.

"There were mistakes made and I've discussed this with coach Har-rick," Dooley said. "We go the extra mile to operate within the rules and regulations of the NCAA."

Harrick, who has long maintained that he didn't deserve to be fired by the Bruins, admitted yesterday that mistakes were made and that he learned from the experience.

"That which does not destroy you only makes you stronger," he said. "I'm a better coach and a better human being."

Harrick received about $350,000 a year at Rhode Island, while his four-year contract with Georgia is worth an estimated $550,000 annually in salary and benefits.

The school also will set up a yearly $100,000 annuity, similar to the deal for football coach Jim Donnan, that would be paid in full if Harrick fulfills his contract.

"We are sorry to see him leave," Rhode Island Athletic Director Ron Petro said. "His expertise as a coach was appreciated by the university, our fans, supporters and players. …

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