Virginia's Herrmann fights against restricted earnings


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Pete Herrmann was back in the Sweet 16, but there was a sour aspect to his return.

Herrmann, who's in his first year as the restricted-earnings coach at Virginia, spent 12 years at the Naval Academy, six as an assistant to Paul Evans and six more as the head coach. In his last year as an assistant with the Mids, they followed David Robinson to a regional final.

Navy made it back to the NCAAs in Herrmann's first year as a head coach, but the talent level returned to normal after Robinson's departure to the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, and Herrmann was let go by the Annapolis brass in 1992 after some average seasons.

Herrmann was a finalist for the St. Bonaventure job several years ago, but spent the past two seasons as a restricted-earnings coach at Kansas State, which reached the final of the NIT last year.

He moved to Virginia last year, then banded with others in similar situations to improve the lot of men whom the NCAA says can make no more than $16,000 annually. Herrmann and restricted-earnings coaches from Pitt, George Washington and Southern California have filed a class-action suit to overturn the salary limit.

"We've given depositions and dealt with the lawyers, but I don't

know what will happen with it," Herrmann said.

More on Kemper

As fourth-seeded Virginia prepared to meet top-seeded Kansas in the regional semifinal, the NCAA basketball committee was coming under criticism for allowing the Jayhawks to play such a crucial game only 40 miles from their Lawrence campus, but none of the visitors faulted Roy Williams and his team.

"For you to fight your way home, that's wonderful," said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. "Kansas didn't have to be here. They could've lost a lot of games along the way."

Williams, who obviously agreed with Richardson, said: "I really think this is the strongest regional. The best teams are going to win regardless of where we play."

After losing to Virginia last night, Kansas is now 20-2 at Kemper Arena, the other loss coming in 1983 to Ohio State. The Jayhawks had won 18 straight against nonconference foes since.

All in the family

The best story lines for Memphis revolved around the families of the Tigers' players.

Junior forward David Vaughn is the nephew of Tigers coach Larry Finch. His grandfather, the Rev. David Vaughn, was designated Tennessee's official ambassador to the NCAA tournament by the state's legislature, which will spend $1,400 to send the Rev. Vaughn and his wife here.

Lorenzen Wright, the Tigers' center who is one of the top freshmen in the nation, said he wouldn't be the rebounder and inside player he is without the not-so-gentle prodding of his father.

Herb Wright, who was the nation's top junior college rebounder two decades ago, has been paralyzed from the waist down since 1983, when he was shot outside a Memphis recreation center where he worked. He has overseen his son's development from a wheelchair.

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