Dwane Morrison, Georgia Tech's basketball coach for eight seasons, will be fired when his team finishes this season, which, barring a miracle, will be Thursday.
That decision was made by the Tech athletic board yesterday morning, according to sources. The Atlantic Journal reported Morrison's firing yesterday afternoon.
Tech Athletic Director Homer Rice denied yesterday that any final decision had been made.
"When there's a decision either way, I'll get it out right away, it isn't the kind of thing I would sit on," Rice said. "Right now, though, nothing is final. I did meet with the board this morning and we did discuss the basketball program. Other than that, I'll have to take the Fifth Amendment."
Morrison's firing has been expected for the last month. His team lost all 14 of its Atlantic Coast Conference games this season, never coming closer than eight points to winning a conference game. The Yellow Jackets' overall record of 4-22 includes losses to Wofford, Baptist and Troy State.
Morrison, 48, has a record of 91-121 at Tech. His best team finished 17-9 in 1979. The following year, against Morrison's wishes, the school joined the ACC. The Jackets were 8-18 a year ago, 1-13 in the league.
Morrison, who has a year remaining on his contract, has known all season that his job was in jeopardy and has been philosophical about it. "Every time I've been fired, I've gotten a better job as a result," he said. "I just don't worry about it. What happens, happens."
Morrison is known for his teaching abilities but has not recruited well the last four years. There are no seniors on this season's team. In fact, because of injuries, academic problems and players quitting, only nine players will be in uniform for Tech when it plays top-seeded Virginia in the first round of the ACC tournament Thursday.
Sources said yesterday that Rice and the athletic board would like to announce the name of the new coach at the same time they announce Morrison's firing. Dick Harter of Penn State is the most prominent coach whose name has been connected with the job. The new coach undoubtedly will get a long-term contract since it is expected to take at least five years for Tech to become competitive in the ACC.
Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell put his team through a two-hour workout last night in preparation for its opening-round tournament game Thursday night with Duke.
Driesell said he planned no lineup changes for Duke "unless someone screws up in practice the next few days."
He said again he does not plan to discipline senior forward Ernest Graham, who made a number of critical remarks about Driesell in a Baltimore newspaper Sunday.
"Ernest is entitled to freedom of speech just like anyone else," Driesell said. "If sportswriters have freedom of speech, why shouldn't Ernest? I learned a long time ago you can't take everything people say seriously or you'll go nuts.
"It's just a big joke. Some writer dragged some things out of him. I'm not going to let that get me upset."
In the story, Graham said Driesell had held him back from being a star during his four years at Maryland. But, he did not say Driesell can't coach. If he had, Driesell's reaction, based on his outburst last Thursday, might have been different.