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Webb coached Pappas in college, 2000 Games

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Reigning world champion decathlete Tom
Pappas, who finished a disappointing second at the U.S. Olympic
trials, has split with his longtime coach, Bill Webb.

Webb, head track and field coach at the University of Tennessee,
coached Pappas for eight years, including his collegiate career and
at the 2000 Olympics. Pappas is now working with Brian Brophy and
Kip Janvrin, both former decathletes.

Brophy works for the World's Greatest Athlete Decathlon Club, a
nonprofit foundation that has training centers around the country
and pays Pappas a stipend. Janvrin is head coach at Central
Missouri State.

Pappas joined the decathlon club two years ago, and Webb said
the club got more involved in his training the past six months.
Webb said he stepped aside because too many people were trying to
coach Pappas.

"It wasn't really an issue of abandoning somebody,'' Webb said
Tuesday. "I think you need one voice when you're involved in
coaching an athlete, and it got to be more people involved in the
planning.

"I chatted with Tom, and I voluntarily withdrew myself from the
process on a day-to-day basis,'' he said. "He agreed with me. It
wasn't any kind of falling out. It's just what I think is best.''

Pappas didn't tell Webb that he was bothered by the number of
coaches, "but I think I sensed that. At any time it creates
confusion or stress if you have a number of people involved,'' Webb
said.

Training on the Greek island of Crete, Pappas said the split
occurred right after the trials, where he was beaten by the
unheralded Bryan Clay. Both are considered medal contenders in
Athens when the decathlon competition begins Monday. Pappas
finished fifth at the 2000 Olympics.

Pappas, who have no specific reason for leaving his coach, said
that after the trials he went to Central Missouri for a week of
training with Janvrin "and a lot of good things happened there.''

Under Webb, Tennessee won the NCAA outdoor title in 2001 and
placed second in 2002. There are five former Tennessee track
athletes competing in the Olympics, including sprinter Justin
Gatlin.

Webb said he doesn't believe his coaching absence will affect
Pappas:

"There have been other meets that occurred during the
collegiate season when I was not available to go, and he went with
his group from the WGADC and he did extremely well.''