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Anderson retires as Racers' head coach

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Posted: Monday, March 24, 2003 12:00 am

For the first time in five years, the men's basketball program at Murray State University will have a new head coach.

Ending weeks of speculation about his job status, Tevester Anderson announced Sunday through a university news release that he was retiring after five seasons at the Racers' coach.

"I have informed MSU president Dr. King Alexander and my players that I am retiring as head basketball coach at Murray State University, effective immediately," Anderson said in the release. "I have worked hard to recruit kids that are good people, as well as good players.

"I want to thank former MSU president Dr. Kern Alexander for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach at Murray State, and I want to thank the fans for their support," he continued. "Murray State will always occupy a special place in my heart."

Anderson compiled a 103-52 record in five seasons as the Murray skipper, guiding the Racers to two Ohio Valley Conference championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

The 66-year-old Anderson, who took over the MSU post in 1998 after former head coach Mark Gottfried left to take over the Alabama program, was the OVC's Co-Coach of the Year and was named NABC District 7 Coach of the Year for the guiding the Racers to a 27-6 mark and a league title during the 1998-99 campaign.

However, a steady decline in the Racers' performance in recent seasons led to rumors that the former Georgia and Auburn assistant would relinquish his coaching duties at MSU under pressure from university officials.

Anderson kept the Racers on top of the conference standings in his second season at the MSU helm, finishing the 1999-2000 season with a 23-9 record.

That mark was good enough for a tie atop the league's regular-season standings with rival Southeast Missouri State. However, the Racers failed to make the NCAA Tournament with a loss to the Indians in the OVC Tournament.

Murray slipped to 17-12 and into a tie for second place in 2000-01, which included an embarrassing 97-74 loss to eventual champion Eastern Illinois in the 2001 OVC Tournament.

Despite a third-place finish in 2001-02, the Racers (19-13) used a late-season revival to claim the postseason crown and returned to the "Big Dance" for the first time since 1999.

But MSU slipped back to the OVC pack this past season, falling short of its preseason billing as the conference's top team with a 17-12 record and a fourth-place finish in the league standings. That mark signaled the program's worst finish in the OVC standings since 1986-87.

The Racers' season ended earlier this month with an overtime loss to archrival Austin Peay State in the semifinals of the OVC Tournament.

For the complete story, see Monday's edition of the Ledger & Times.

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