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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Ex-Florida State player Harris takes over at Florida A&M

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Former Florida State player Eugene Harris was hired as the men's basketball coach at Florida A&M on Thursday.

University president James Ammons said Harris' contract would be a four-year deal, though the details were still being finalized.

Harris succeeds Mike Gillespie, who is now serving a year's probation after a no contest plea to stalking a former girlfriend. Gillespie coached six seasons for the Rattlers and took the school to the NCAA tournament on two occasions.

"My goal and my job is to take it to the next level," Harris said. "To win games in the NCAA tournament and go on to the Sweet 16."

Although he has spent most of his coaching career as an assistant in collegiate circles, Harris also coached high school basketball in Tallahassee and Alabama.

Harris played for coach Hugh Durham at Florida State and scored 956 career points. He was a three-year starter and co-captain of a team that won the Metro Conference in 1978.

"Once a Seminole now a Rattler," athletic director Nelson Townsend said as he introduced Harris. "These are no ordinary times and we didn't go looking for any ordinary coach."