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App picks coach after Buzz left for money


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It took UNCW 79 days to hire Buzz Peterson to be the Seahawks' new men's basketball coach. It looks like Peterson's old employer needed just three days to find his replacement.

Appalachian State has reportedly offered Jason Capel the job left vacant when Peterson came to UNCW Friday. Capel, who, like Peterson, played at UNC, was an assistant under Peterson at Appalachian State last year. Capel could be formally introduced as the Mountaineers' new coach as early as today.

Meanwhile, we're learning more about Peterson's motivation for taking the UNCW job. In Tuesday's edition, the Winston-Salem Journal reports Peterson left for Wilmington because of the money.

"It was one of those things where I had to do what was best for my family," Peterson told the newspaper. "The situation we've been in is we haven't been able to sell homes. I have them at different locations, and I had to do what was best."

Peterson spent one year in his second stint at Appalachian. Before that he spent a year as director of player personnel for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, working under his old college roommate Michael Jordan. During the news conference to introduce him as UNCW head coach Friday, Peterson admitted he and his family never moved to Boone because his daughter was finishing high school. Instead, he commuted from Charlotte. Regardless of the reason, it irked some Appalachian fans who now feel burned after Peterson left the school for greener pastures for the second time in a decade.

"I understand that, people being upset, but, again, I've got to look at my kids and my wife, and I've got to do what's best for them," Peterson told the Journal. "I took a $100,000 pay cut to take the job in the first place. It's like a lot of things going on right now. It's not the easiest times out there financially in this world. I hate to use finances for something that you're doing, but I would ask a person if he got paid double for doing the same job, ‘What would you do?'"

Appalachian gave Peterson his first head coaching job in 1996. He led the Mountaineers to the NCAA tournament in 2000 before leaving for Tulsa. He spent one season with the Golden Hurricane and won the NIT championship. That earned him the top job at Tennessee, which fired him after four season. Peterson then spent two years at Coastal Carolina before joining the Bobcats.

Peterson's five-year contract at UNCW pays him a base salary of $200,000 the first year with $10,000 increases each year. He gets another $100,000 a year for his weekly TV show during the season and another $100,000 annually to help the athletic department and Seahawk Club with marketing and fundraising. Peterson will receive a $35,500 retention bonus if he's still coach on June 1, 2011, and another if he's in the position on June 1, 2012. The contract also includes performance bonuses.

Friday Peterson said he is tired of moving his family from place to place and is ready to put down routes in Wilmington. UNCW athletic director Kelly Mehrtens told WWAY Peterson's contract is proof of that. It includes a $500,000 buyout if Peterson leaves before June 1, 2011. That amount goes down $100,000 in each subsequent year.

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