By Staff Reports
Frieder resigns at ASU
Bill Frieder, best known for his unmanaged white hair and sideline antics, took a $350,000 buyout and stepped down yesterday as Arizona State's basketball coach.
The 55-year-old Frieder coached eight seasons with the Sun Devils and built a strong relationship with Arizona head coach Lute Olson.
Frieder, one of the best-liked and most problem-plagued coaches in school history, made the announcement at his suburban Phoenix home during a news conference attended by about 50 people.
Frieder, who has been dealing with a federal investigation of his program into possible point-shaving, said the accusation last week of minor theft in a dormitory against two of his players was the final straw.
''We had stressed with one another from day one, and had several meetings speaking about the fact of needing to be letter-perfect this season,'' Frieder said, explaining why the accusations last week against players Eddie House and Reggie Hester hit him so hard.
"Like everyone else, I am shocked at the news," said Olson, who is on a recruiting trip out of town. "Bill and I had spent some time together a couple weeks ago and nothing was mentioned about anything like this. We just talked about the upcoming season and how recruiting was going."
Frieder said he and ASU Athletic Director Kevin White came to a mutual understanding.
White said the money would be paid to Frieder over a three-year period, regardless of whether the coach took another job. Frieder was in line for about $1 million in salary and benefits through the life of the document.
But it was clear both were ready for a change.
White said he had been speaking with Frieder off and on for months and realized Tuesday night after Frieder returned from a recruiting trip that it was time to negotiate a buyout.
''He'd be the first to tell you that the challenge as we were moving forward was becoming greater,'' White said. ''And he's a guy who's never backed down from a good challenge, I don't think, but I think it got stale.''
Arizona State was 10-20 last season and has been under the cloud of a federal point-fixing investigation.
''If something happens on that FBI thing then I would be the victim in that case,'' Frieder said last night. ''And if something happens in that case I hope all of them go to prison.''
Almost from the start, some of Frieder's best players turned up on police blotters, left the program or were injured.
Frieder still won acclaim for coaching fast-breaking teams that relied on relentless, pressure defense to beat more talented squads.
"In the time Bill has been at Arizona State I think that we have built a strong rivalry, produced some exciting games and made the series between our schools a lot better than what it was before he came to ASU," Olson said. "Not only has the brand of basketball improved but the relationship between the two schools as well."
The high-water mark of his eight years came in 1994-95, when the Sun Devils were 24-9, reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament and earned Frieder a two-year contract extension through April 2000.
Bill Frieder resigned yesterday as men's basketball coach of Arizona State.
Bill Frieder's Career Coaching Record
W L Pct. 1980-81 Michigan 19 11 .633 1981-82 Michigan 8 19 .296 1982-83 Michigan 16 12 .571 1983-84 Michigan 24 9 .727 1984-85 Michigan 26 4 .867 1985-86 Michigan 28 5 .848 1986-87 Michigan 20 12 .625 1987-88 Michigan 26 8 .765 1988-89 Michigan 24 7 .774 1989-90 Arizona St. 15 16 .484 1990-91 Arizona St. 20 10 .667 1991-92 Arizona St. 19 14 .576 1992-93 Arizona St. 18 10 .643 1993-94 Arizona St. 15 13 .536 1994-95 Arizona St. 24 9 .727 1995-96 Arizona St. 11 16 .407 1996-97 Arizona St. 10 20 .333 Totals 323 195 .624