Friday, April 23, 2004

Bezold NKU's new hoops coach after loyal stint with the school



By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Dave Bezold (left), NKU's new basketball coach, shakes hands with his father, Tony, after the announcement Thursday.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/ERNEST COLEMAN

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Eight years ago, Dave Bezold realized he couldn't continue working for part-time pay. But Northern Kentucky University couldn't yet offer an assistant basketball coach a full-time salary.

The school got creative, asking Bezold to add the role of women's tennis coach to bring him up to a full-time salary. Bezold agreed, turning down opportunities at other schools, with an eye toward a day like Thursday.

"I knew this is where I wanted to be," he said. "I took a chance, and it paid off."

Bezold's 14 years of service were rewarded Thursday with his appointment as Ken Shields' successor. Athletic director Jane Meier made it a point to say this wasn't about loyalty.

"We took that step (adding tennis duties) years ago because we didn't want to lose him," she said. "... But he got this job because he's the most qualified to lead this program."

Bezold, 38, is a Holy Cross High School grad, and expressed amazement that he didn't have to leave home to find what he called "a dream job."

His voice caught numerous times during his introductory speech. Bezold spoke of the close-knit family of NKU players, relating how surprised he was earlier this month when former player Brian Lawhon approached him to express his hope Bezold would get this job - while they were at the wake for Lawhon's father.

Bezold promised to retain Shields' up-tempo style that relies heavily on 3-point shooting and stout defense. He said he would begin a search for his full-time assistant coach.

NKU was 16-15 last season, its worst record in 10 years. It should be helped by the expected additions of 6-foot-8 center Tory Reed and point guard Bryant Northern, who transferred from Charlotte and Louisville, respectively. Bezold has also secured commitments from Anderson High guard Ryan Patzwald and Boone County forward Travis Rasso.

E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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