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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Updated: March 21, 8:31 AM ET
University of Denver to name Scott head coach

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

In a stunning move, Princeton coach and alumnus Joe Scott will be named the head coach at the University of Denver on Wednesday at a 5 p.m. ET news conference.

"It's a great opportunity here," Scott said. "It's a really good opportunity professionally. There's a commitment here. I think it's a good place and a good fit. The school and myself are a good fit. Obviously they feel the same way."

Scott returned to his alma mater three years ago, replacing John Thompson III, who left for Georgetown.

Scott could be called the mastermind behind the current Air Force revival, taking the Falcons to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1962 in 2004. He was named the 2004 Mountain West Conference coach of the year. The current Air Force seniors were all recruited by Scott.

Scott's assistant at Air Force, Chris Mooney, succeeded him as head coach but then left for the top spot at Richmond after one season. Former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik then took over for Mooney and continued to run the Princeton offense, leading the Falcons to the NCAA Tournament last season and just missing an invitation again this March.

"It's me feeling professionally and personally that this is a good opportunity,'' Scott said. "It's about me feeling this is a good situation. This was an unbelievable emotionally decision. My wife went and played and coached at Princeton, too. I love Princeton basketball. When I looked at everything, it was the right thing. It's more about that then leaving my alma mater."

Scott coached the Tigers to a disappointing last-place 2-12 season in the Ivy League, 11-17 overall. He was 27-28 in his first two seasons with the Tigers. The end of early admission to Princeton within the past year changed a lot of the recruiting practices for the perennial Ivy League contender.

"Joe Scott spent three years as the head coach at Princeton and gave a lot of blood, sweat and tears to Princeton basketball. Unfortunately, it might not have worked out the way he had hoped," Princeton athletic director Gary Walters said in a written statement. "We wish him the best at Denver."

Scott's decision to leave Princeton comes amid a changing era in the Ivy League.

Penn didn't skip a beat when longtime Quakers coach Fran Dunphy left for Temple and former Brown coach Glen Miller took over. He coached Penn to the Ivy League title at 13-1, 22-9 overall, before losing to Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week.

At Denver, Scott is replacing Terry Carroll, who was fired after six seasons. The Pioneers finished in last place in the Sun Belt West Division with a 3-15 record, 4-25 overall.

Walters will now have to handle a coaching search while also serving as the chair of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Denver's spokesman Erich Bacher declined to confirm or deny the report, but admits the school has scheduled a news conference "for a special announcement regarding our men's basketball program."

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.