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Michigan Gives Ellerbe New Deal

First he got rid of the "interim" from his title. Now, Brian Ellerbe has the money that goes with being the basketball coach at Michigan.

Ellerbe, who became Michigan's interim basketball coach after Steve Fisher was fired on Oct. 10, has signed a multi-year contract to coach the Wolverines through the 2003 season.

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Ellerbe, who was traveling in Europe when the announcement was made Friday by Michigan athletic director Tom Goss, guided the Wolverines to a 25-9 record last season.

"This contract underscores the confidence the university has in Brian," Goss said. "I believe he is one of the finest young coaches in the country and we are extremely happy to have him here in Ann Arbor."

The deal will pay Ellerbe a base salary of $140,000. He also will earn an additional $310,000 for television and radio shows, the Internet and basketball camps.

Ellerbe signed the contract last week, just before taking the Big Ten Conference foreign team to Europe. The team traveled to Belgium on Aug. 8 for a seven-game, 10-day trip.

"It was just a matter of time until we finalized the contract," Ellerbe said in a statement. "Tom and I had excellent discussions throughout the last 90 days. As I mentioned when Tom named me head coach in April, I'm excited about coaching here at Michigan."

"In fact, my staff and I have been concentrating on recruiting and getting ready for next year. This was really nothing more than crossing the Ts and dotting the Is."

Ellerbe had to overcome many problems besides Fisher's firing. As a result, the Wolverines had a very uneven season.

  • Travis Conlan broke his wrist in a preseason game and missed the first three games.
  • Louis Bullock, who hit nearly half of his 3-point attempts as a sophomore, didn't even shoot 30 percent through the first seven games.
  • Maceo Baston fractured his right foot in the Feb. 7 loss at Minnesota. The regular season was almost over before Baston returned.

But something seemed to kick in during a failed second-half comeback late in the season at Michigan State. The Wolverines went on a tear with six straight victories, including a decisive 76-67 triumph over Purdue to capture the inaugural Big Ten tournament.

The season ended early when Michigan, seeded No. 3 ithe NCAA Tournament's South Regional, was eliminated by UCLA at Atlanta.

Ellerbe always deflected most of the questions about his future, saying he understood Goss' position of waiting to make his decision.

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