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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Florida Atlantic taps Jarvis

Former George Washington coach replaces Walters

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— Mike Jarvis found a home in Boca Raton four years ago. Now, he's got a job to go with it.

Jarvis was introduced Tuesday as the men's basketball coach at Florida Atlantic, returning to run a program for the first time since St. John's fired him six games into the 2003-04 season.

University trustees still must approve the hiring formally, a process that now seems little more than a formality. Jarvis' four-year deal almost certainly will become official today.

"This is our town," said Jarvis, who has worked as a columnist and commentator since departing from St. John's. "This is going to be our story."

At FAU, Jarvis - who bought and moved into a Boca Raton home in 2004 and will have about a 10-minute commute to work - will replace former Kansas University guard Rex Walters, who left after two seasons to take over at San Francisco.

The Owls were 15-18 last season, 8-10 in the Sun Belt Conference, and should have five of their top six scorers back for Jarvis' debut campaign.

"No one has wanted to get back into coaching more than me," Jarvis said.

And once again, the Owls have made a splashy hire.

A school that already has Howard Schnellenberger coaching football - his Owls won the Sun Belt and were the only team from the pigskin-crazed Sunshine State to win a bowl game last season - and hired former North Carolina coach Matt Doherty to lead the basketball program three years ago now can add Jarvis to its marquee lineup.

"I am convinced it was a matter of time before he landed somewhere back in the big game," Florida Atlantic president Frank Brogan said. "We are glad that that big game now includes Florida Atlantic University."

Jarvis has reached the NCAA Tournament at all three of his previous stops: Boston University, George Washington and St. John's, which he guided within one game of the Final Four in his first season there, 1998-99.

Since moving to Division I, the Owls are 148-280, with only three winning seasons in the last 11 years.

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