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Saturday, July 1, 2000

Former KU dean to have final say on UNC coach

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If Roy Williams leaves Kansas for the head coaching post at North Carolina, the man who puts the final stamp on his contract and paycheck will have a strong Kansas University background.

That will be James Moeser, chancellor of the University of Nebraska and who officially becomes UNC chancellor on Aug. 15. After 20 years at KU, Moeser left in 1986 to become dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State.

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A KU fans T-shirt shows loyalty to Roy Williams

Reached Friday afternoon at his office in Lincoln, Neb., Moeser found it ironic that he, as an ex-Jayhawk, might be the "final filter" in a Williams change of jobs.

But he quickly advised against leaping to the conclusion that the Bill Guthridge successor would be Roy Williams.

"I must emphasize that there are a number of procedures that must be followed by athletic directors and officials at various schools before a final decision is valid," Moeser said. "UNC does not publicly discuss contacts that are made in such matters and because of that I can't comment on who might and might not be under consideration.

"I will say that it is categorically untrue that Roy Williams officially has been offered the UNC job and that he has accepted. That simply has not happened," said Moeser, who admitted he has been kept abreast of developments.

He didn't prevaricate on this point: He would "absolutely not" have any reservations about putting his stamp of approval on Williams as head coach.

"I've kept a pretty close tab on KU and its basketball program since I left there for Penn State, and naturally since becoming Nebraska chancellor in 1996," Moeser said. "Anyone with appreciation of success and excellence has to admire what Roy Williams has done for the Jayhawks, not only in basketball but in so many other important and worthwhile fields. He's a very unique and outstanding person, one any school should readily accept if it gets the chance."

He continued:

"I will say that it is categorically untrue that Roy Williams officially has been offered the UNC job and that he has accepted. That simply has not happened."

James Moeser

"We want excellence in all fields at North Carolina and when you find someone with a record that can keep the basketball program at the high level where Frank McGuire, Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge have put it, you will readily listen. Roy has been great for Kansas, and if he stays there that won't change. He is an outstanding alumnus of North Carolina, too."

Moeser, whose son and daughter both graduated from KU, began his academic career at KU in 1966 as an assistant professor and chairman of the department of organ. He worked his way through the ranks and was named dean of fine arts. He was named Althaus Distinguished Professor of Organ in 1984, the first academic dean ever to be named to a distinguished professorship at KU. He was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State in 1986 and was executive director of University Arts Services in charge of Penn State's cultural programs. He became vice president for academic affairs and provost of South Carolina in 1992, then assumed the NU chancellorship in '96.

He gained an international reputation as a concert organist and performed in major venues throughout the world. While in Lawrence, he was minister of music at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.

"Sadly, I have no time anymore for that kind of thing," Moeser said.

Bill McCoy is UNC's interim chancellor, and arrangements already have been made for Moeser rather than McCoy to make the final decisions in upcoming matters such as hiring coaches. Moeser plans to wind up his Nebraska duties in about two weeks, take a month of vacation and be on the job Aug. 15 at UNC.

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