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Utah Men's Basketball Coach to Step Down

Utah Men's Basketball Coach to Step Down

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(KSL News/AP) Utah basketball coach Ray Giacoletti will leave at the end of the season. This morning Coach Giacoletti walked into Athletic Director Chris Hill's office and gave his resignation. Chris Hill accepted that resignation, so the Utes will need to find a new coach.

The Utes (11-17) are mired in their worst season in decades and are just 6-9 in the Mountain West Conference before Saturday's game at rival Brigham Young.

His tenure, which started with a 29-win season in 2004-05, will likely end at next week's Mountain West Conference tournament unless the Utes somehow rally to win it. That's the only way Utah can make the postseason. Giacoletti is 54-38 in three seasons at Utah, but just 25-32 since he took the Utes to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 in 2005. Andrew Bogut, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick that year, was his star player.

The lack of wins and the lack of attendance in the last two years forced Ray Giacoletti to resign.

Coach Giacoletti: "Timing is never right. I wanted to do what's best for this program. So the program can take another step and what's best for the university. There's not a good time."

Athletic Director Chris Hill: "I have a very good relationship with Ray. I consider him a friend and that's what makes it difficult. He was emotional, but I think he felt this was in his best interests."

Shaun Green, sophomore, forward: "I mean we have something to prove to people now cause everybody sees what happened to Coach Giac right now and they probably think that we will quit and not play hard anymore so we have a lot to prove, so that's what we're going to do."

Coach Giacoletti: "I'm not gonna point fingers. I was given a great opportunity, I'll never forget it, and I had a job to do. That's kind of where it's at."

Utah said it will honor the four remaining years on his contract and pay him $175,000 a year. They will take their time selecting a new coach.

A couple of names are being thrown around as a possible successor to Giacoletti. One is Donny Daniels, a former assistant under Rick Majerus now an assistant at UCLA. Another is Jeff Judkins, a former assistant and player here at the U, now the head coach for the women's team at BYU.

Also, Mike Montgomery, former Stanford and Golden State Warriors coach out of the NBA. And don't forget about Randy Rahe, an assistant under Giacoletti for a couple years, now head coach at Weber State, took the Wildcats from worse to first this year, Big Sky title. And, UVSC head coach and former Ute Assistance under Rick Majerus, Dick Hunsaker is also one of the names people are talking about as a possible replacement for Coach Giacoletti.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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