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Another "appropriate' departure

They agreed his program was above reproach. They agreed this Tennessee basketball coach was a man of honor. Still, Vols athletic director Doug Dickey said the time was right for the coach to submit his resignation.

We're talking about Don DeVoe, not Wade Houston.

In 1989, the Vols forced DeVoe to resign despite a 19-11 season and an NCAA Tournament bid. At the time, Dickey said he had to consider the program's best interests beyond one good season. DeVoe went on to spend one season as interim coach at Florida and is now at Navy.

"I think all of the circumstances that surround our program have brought both Don and I to the position where it is in the best interests of both of us," Dickey said at the time of DeVoe's resignation.

Fast forward to Monday.

"I think we got to a point in discussions between Wade and myself where we thought this was an appropriate time," Dickey said in announcing Houston's resignation.

Under DeVoe, the Vols had an average record of 19-12 and made six NCAA Tournament appearances in 11 years. Under Houston, the Vols had an average record of 13-17 and had no NCAA appearances in five years.

Time out for football

Florida defensive coordinator Ron Zook has been dangling for two months while head coach Steve Spurrier apparently has been shopping for a new coordinator. Arizona coach Rich Ellerson was in Gainesville over the weekend, and he is not the first to talk to Spurrier.

Published reports in Arizona and Alabama have said Spurrier offered the job to Arizona defensive coordinator Larry MacDuff and Alabama defensive coordinator Bill Oliver, but both turned it down.

Around the league

Florida coach Lon Kruger and Arkansas' Nolan Richardson are among 12 candidates for the Naismith Award, given to the nation's outstanding basketball coach. The Razorbacks are 2-0 in Rupp Arena during Rick Pitino's tenure at Kentucky. The rest of the SEC is a combined 0-38 at Rupp.

Comeback revisited

LSU coach Dale Brown was not pleased when he discovered there were T-shirts in Kentucky commemorating the Wildcats' comeback from a 31-point deficit against the Tigers last month.

The T-shirts bear the message the late Jim Valvano used while battling cancer _ "Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up" _ and the proceeds benefit Valvano's V Foundation.

Brown said LSU will produce its own T-shirts, depicting the program's big victories against Kentucky.

"Our T-shirts will have more words than theirs," said Brown, who also has managed to find a silver lining in that loss.

"What never really was brought up is it was almost more of an accomplishment for us to get up by 31 against a far better team," Brown said.

A foul message

The news that Kentucky players purposefully deceived game officials and traded places on the foul line will not be quickly forgotten. When Rodrick Rhodes went to the foul line Sunday against Georgia, officials huddled to make sure he was the correct shooter.

_ JOHN ROMANO

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