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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

KU search begins immediately

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Kansas University won't waste any time searching for a successor for men's basketball coach Roy Williams.

"KU has a tradition second to none in college basketball," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Monday. "We intend to talk to the very best coaches in the country about this opportunity, and we will make a decision quickly."

The search will be led by interim athletic director Drue Jennings, with assistance from Hemenway and senior athletic department administrators.

Hemenway urged team members, as well as those players who had signed letters of intent to attend KU next year, to maintain their commitment.

"I respect Roy's decision, which I know was not an easy one for him to make," Hemenway said. "While this is sad news for all fans of KU basketball and all friends of this university, his final decision was a personal one, and we must accept it."

Hemenway called Williams' departure for North Carolina "a loss for KU, not just because we love basketball and the historic traditions associated with Allen Fieldhouse and our program. We extend our deep and heartfelt gratitude to an extraordinary coach, teacher and human being."

Jennings, who was named interim AD Wednesday after Al Bohl was fired, said he respected Williams' decision and wished him the best.

"Our foremost concern right now are the players, both the ones returning and the ones joining the team next season," Jennings said. "We are committed to moving as quickly as possible in finding the right person to provide great leadership for our basketball program."

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