Thursday, April 22, 2004

NKU to name Bezold as basketball coach



By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Northern Kentucky University is expected to introduce Dave Bezold as its new men's basketball coach during a 3:30 p.m. news conference today.

Bezold, top assistant to retiring coach Ken Shields the past 14 years, will become the fourth coach in the program's 32-year history.

Bezold reportedly gave a strong interview Tuesday as the last of four finalists to be interviewed. The other three finalists were Division II coaches Bill Brown of California (Pa.) and Greg Kamansky of Cal Poly Pomona, and St. Bonaventure assistant John Brannen.

Bezold, a Holy Cross High School grad who played college ball at Viterbo (Wis.) College, filled in as head coach when Shields had back surgery in January 2001 and went 3-2, losing only tough road games at Southern Indiana and St. Joseph's (Ind.).

He is the team's only full-time assistant and has done the majority of NKU's recruiting and handled the team's defensive schemes. He helped Shields lead the Norse to the 1996 and '97 Division II championship games and to seven NCAA Tournament appearances the past 10 years.

NKU will announce its hire amid plans to build a proposed $53 million arena and perhaps make a corresponding leap to Division I.

"We're going to do everything to prepare to move to Division I," NKU president Dr. James Votruba said. "That means the next coach is going to need to be very aggressive in his recruiting and promoting the program."

Should funding come through, the 8,000- to 10,000-seat special events center could open as early as the 2007-08 season. Should NKU choose to jump to Division I, there's a four-year provisional period during which it would be ineligible for postseason competition.

E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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