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New Mexico Hires Fraschilla

Former St. John's coach Fran Fraschilla has been hired as basketball coach at New Mexico, the Associated Press learned Saturday.

New Mexico athletic director Rudy Davalos was to confirm the hiring of Fraschilla during a teleconference call later Saturday.

Fraschilla has been a frequent shopper for coaching vacancies in recent months. His hiring at New Mexico comes only four days after former Lobos coach Dave Bliss resigned to take the coaching job at Baylor.

Bliss left as the winningest coach in New Mexico history with a record of 246-108 in 11 seasons. Under Bliss, the Lobos went to seven NCAA tournaments in the past nine years and lost in the second round each of the past four years.

Fraschilla had either interviewed or been mentioned as a potential candidate at numerous schools since being ousted at St. John's only two months after leading the Red Storm to last year's NCAA Tournament.

This season, his name has surfaced in coaching job openings at Georgia, San Diego State, Pittsburgh, East Carolina and Southwest Missouri State.

When Fraschilla left St. John's, the school said it reached an agreement with Fraschilla to end their relationship because of "fundamental differences over the management of the basketball program."

The school did not give specifics but said the decision had nothing to do with any unlawful conduct, violations of NCAA regulations or financial improprieties.

Fraschilla, who at the time was on vacation with his family in Florida, would not comment about any of the specifics of the situation.

"I've enjoyed my association with St. John's and I feel proud of what we accomplished in setting the program back on course," he said.

Fraschilla has two years left on the contract he signed with St. John's when he was appointed coach for the 1996-97 season.

The Red Storm were 22-10 in Fraschilla's second season and lost to Detroit in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. St. John's was 13-14 in Fraschilla's first season.

Fraschilla coached at Manhattan College for four seasons, compiling an 85-35 record and leading the Jaspers to two NCAA tournaments, including a first-round upset of Oklahoma in 1995. He succeeded Brian Mahoney at St. John's.

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