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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

Peterson pulls out of UT coach search

Peterson Peterson

The University of Toledo is turning in a new direction after Buzz Peterson withdrew his name from consideration for the school s men s basketball coaching vacancy.

Peterson, the director of player personnel for the Charlotte Bobcats, issued a statement through the NBA team yesterday. It read in part, While there are things I miss about being a college head coach, my focus now is helping to build the Charlotte Bobcats into an elite NBA franchise. I am happy where I am at this point in my career and [am] not currently seeking a job at the collegiate level.

Peterson told the Asheville Citizen-Times late last week he had talked with UT about the opening. Multiple people with knowledge of the search said Peterson and athletic director Mike O Brien discussed a contract but the talks broke down.

UT will now turn to other candidates to fill its opening, including Notre Dame assistant Gene Cross and former Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg. Cross said yesterday he still plans to come to campus for an interview. Soderberg told The Blade he interviewed in Toledo last week.

O Brien could also be looking seriously at Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard.

Soderberg, 45, is reportedly in play for a couple of openings, including the Detroit-Mercy job. He also interviewed for the Loyola Marymount and Oregon State positions, which were filled by others.

One interesting factor regarding Soderberg is that he has a basketball-playing son, Kramer Soderberg, who just completed his senior season at St. Charles West High School in St. Charles, Mo. Kramer Soderberg is a 5-foot-11, 165-pound point guard who was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch s All-Metro player of the year after averaging 25 points a game. He has received interest from some mid-major schools but has not signed.

Cross, 36, has coached for 12 years at four Division I schools, including in the ACC at Virginia before coming to Notre Dame two seasons ago. The Fighting Irish have made the NCAA tournament both years he has been there.

While at Illinois-Chicago and DePaul, Cross helped deliver two recruiting classes that were each ranked in the top 25 in the nation. He has been honored as one of the nation s top recruiters by Rivals.com. Cross has been president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Assistant Coaches Board since 2003.

Contact Maureen Fulton at: mfulton@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.

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