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Utes Hire New Basketball Coach

Utes Hire New Basketball Coach



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah is set to hire Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen as its men's basketball coach.

A person close to Boylen confirmed the move to The Associated Press on Monday, requesting anonymity because the hiring was not expected to be announced until Tuesday. Utah officials would not confirm the hiring.

It will be the first head coaching job for Boylen, who has been an assistant to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo the past two seasons after 13 years as an NBA assistant -- including 11 years with the Houston Rockets and stints with Golden State and Milwaukee.

Boylen called a former boss, former Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich, with the news Monday.

"I believe in this guy. He's always done a great job," Tomjanovich said.

Jim Boylen
Jim Boylen

He said he talked to Utah athletic director Chris Hill and gave a glowing recommendation for Boylen, who joined the Rockets as the team's video coordinator in 1992.

"He's one of the hardest working guys I've ever been around. ... I think it's overdue that he got a job," Tomjanovich said.

Boylen will replace Ray Giacoletti, who resigned after three seasons and took a job as an assistant at Gonzaga. The Utes went 11-19 last season.

Boylen began his coaching career at Michigan State as a graduate assistant to Jud Heathcote in 1987. Twenty years later, he is getting his first job as a head coach at a program has struggled badly in the last two years. Utah was in the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament just two years ago, but has gone 25-34 the past two seasons.

Giacoletti announced the day before the Utes closed the regular season at BYU that he would be leaving once the season was over.

Giacoletti was hired only three years ago to replace Rick Majerus, who had been at Utah since 1989 before leaving midway through the 2003-2004 season for health reasons.

Utah gave Giacoletti a healthy buyout in return for his resignation. On Monday, Giacoletti got his new job at Gonzaga.

Boylen's hiring was first reported Monday on The Salt Lake Tribune's Web site.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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