North Carolina State's Norman Sloan will accept an offer to become Florida's basketball coach next season, sources at N.C. State said last night.
Sloan, 53, coach at State the last 14 seasons, will fly to Gainesville today and will announce the move within the next 24 hours.
Sloan coached at Florida from 1960 through 1966 and had been actively pursued both by Florida alumni and Athletic Director Bill Carr since the firing the John Lotz in December.
Sloan has never had a written contract at N.C. State. He recently called Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell and asked him about his contract, which automatically renews itself for four years at the end of each season. Driesell would not comment yesterday on whether he had talked to Sloan about his contract.
According to members of the N.C. State athletic department, the school made Sloan a counteroffer this week after he had been offered the job by Carr. Sloan rejected that offer and told State Athletic Director Willis Casey that he was going to take the Florida job.
His 478 career wins make Sloan one of the winningest active coaches in basketball. While at State, he took the Wolfpack to the national championships. His current team tied for second in the ACC and has a 20-6 overall record. It will probably receive an NCAA bid the first for State since it won the national champoinship.
Florida, which has never been in the NCAA Tournament and has been in the NIT just once, has a 5-19 record this season and is heading for its second straight finish in the cellar of the Southeastern Conference. One of the reasons Sloan left Florida was its ancient gym. The school will open a new 12,000-seat facility this summer.
A friend of Sloan's was asked last night why Sloan would leave State after 14 highly successful years.
"There are a lot of little things," he said. "He's never been worshiped over here like Dean Smith is at Carolina. He hasn't always gotten exactly what he asked for in spite of his record.
"But I think the main thing is the challenge. The man is the most competitive person I've ever met. If you've got a three-foot putt to beat him on the golf course he'll stand in your face and try and psych you out.
"Finally, Florida made him a great offer. I don't think between that and the challenge he could say no."
Sloan has reportedly asked both his assistants, Marty Fletcher, former assistant coach at De Martha, and Monty Towne, who played on the national championship team, to accompany him to Florida. Towne will probably accept that offer and follow Sloan. Fletcher reportedly wants to remain at State.