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Thursday, July 6, 2000

Wake boys are from KU

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— Three brand new residents of the Tar Heel state will be watching Roy Williams closely wherever he is next season.

Dean Buchan, who served as Kansas University sports information director the past 10 years, a little over a month ago accepted a similar post at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

He brought recent KU grads Bill Newton and Mike Vest with him to work as assistants in the Wake sports information office.

Of course, the Three Musketeers formerly of KU Sports Information, have followed the Williams situation closely the past several days as the 12th-year KU coach pondered an offer to take over for Bill Guthridge as Tar Heel coach.

"I'm on the Internet right now as a matter of fact," Newton said Wednesday morning. "I've tried to follow it seeing what Roy's going to do."

Buchan has received some interview requests, mostly from Carolina scribes.

"I've used every opportunity to try to publicize Wake Forest somehow," said Buchan, born and raised in the Tar Heel state.

Indeed, Wake basketball coach Dave Odom granted a long interview to the Journal-World the other day and a story and picture of Odom appeared in the paper.

Wake Forest has been mentioned prominently in all the media articles about Buchan in North Carolina.

Newton, who had lived in Lawrence all of his 23 years before heading to Wake a month ago, can see why Williams likes the area.

"Yesterday we drove three hours to Wilmington, N.C., and went to the beach," Newton said. "I like it here a lot. I look out the window of my apartment and see a forest. Not a couple of trees, but a forest.

"There are birds, animals, all kinds of critters in there. We went to a minor league baseball game the other night. The Winston-Salem Warthogs in Single A. It was just like Bull Durham with the advertisements on the walls. It is very nice out here."

There are some subtle differences between the South and the Midwest.

"People here ... instead of saying, 'Turn off the lights,' they say, 'Cut off the lights,''' Newton said. "The other night at the baseball game, the pitcher threw to first base six straight times. A lady said, 'I swanee (swear) if he throws over there one more time, I'm going to scream."

"My mom used to say that word all the time," Buchan said with a laugh.

"In Lawrence, people will say, 'I want a soda,''' Buchan said. "Here they just say, 'I want a Coke or Pepsi or whatever.'''

On the media front, North Carolina sports information director Steve Kirschner has said the past couple of days have not been all that busy waiting on Williams' decision.

On a couple of occasions, he said he'd fielded just a call or two per day as Williams pondered his options.

At Kansas, new basketball assistant athletics director Mitch Germann has been under pressure his first few weeks on the job.

"I'm proud of him," Buchan said. "He's doing a great job."

"I feel like I'm a doctor on call," Germann said with a laugh. "I carry my cell phone with me at all times. The stress is not overwhelming. I will say one thing: The press conference Roy had last Friday was the biggest I've seen since Wilt came back to town."

Wilt is Wilt Chamberlain, first name is all you need.

Just like with Williams.

"Kansans call him 'Roy,''' Buchan said. "You say 'Roy' and everybody knows who you mean. I really think he could be elected governor and I mean no disrespect to Gov. (Bill) Graves."

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