Jim Valvano, forced out last winter as North Carolina State basketball coach, has agreed to a three-year contract with ABC for a reported $900,000.
"Right now, I'm excited about this," said Valvano. "I want to be the best I can be. Very few people have their dreams come true. I had my dreams come true with a national championship. I'll be doing the two things I like the best -- watching basketball and talking."
As for his ability to handle the job, he said: "I don't have experience at being an analyst, but I don't know any analyst who has as much experience in coaching. I've been an athletic director for six years and coach for 23. I think there's a certain value in sharing that with someone on the outside. I feel comfortable in not just talking about a pick and roll and not just making a comical comment."
Valvano agreed to a buyout of his N.C. State contract April 7 after unsubstantiated allegations made, ironically, by ABC News, that N.C. State players had been involved in fixed games. Valvano also had been criticized about a lack of academic progress by players in his program, which was placed on probation for violations involving complimentary tickets and sneakers.
Dennis Swanson, president of ABC Sports, said Valvano will be teamed on basketball telecasts with Brent Musburger, who recently signed with the network after being let go by CBS. Keith Jackson and Dick Vitale will be the other team for ABC, which will carry college basketball on 11 weekends next season. Valvano also will work as an analyst for ESPN, which is owned by ABC. . . .
Several broadcast reports last night said Pat Riley will not return as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, but the NBA team's director of public relations said the reports were premature.
"Those are just a bunch of rumors," John Black told the Associated Press. "There's nothing new to add from what we've said the last two weeks. Pat's asked for some time to make a decision on whether or not he's coming back, and we're still awaiting the decision."
Black confirmed that Riley, who has coached the Lakers to four championships since becoming their coach on Nov. 19, 1981, met yesterday with team owner Jerry Buss and General Manager Jerry West.
KCBS reported that it was "all but certain" that Riley won't return to the Lakers next season and said a change would be announced by the end of this week. KNBC said Riley, 45, had met with officials of NBC to discuss an NBA commentator job and a decision was expected by midweek. . . .
After meeting with Boston Celtics Vice President Dave Gavitt last night, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he would decide soon whether to remain a candidate for the team's vacant coaching position.
Krzyzewski and Gavitt discussed the situation for several hours, and the coach later told the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer that he considered it to be private and that he didn't want to comment or speculate. Gavitt could not be reached for comment.
Sources at Duke told the News and Observer (N.C.) that Gavitt and Krzyzewski agreed to discuss the coaching opening later this week, probably by telephone. Krzyzewski and Chris Ford, an assistant to recently fired Celtics coach Jimmy Rodgers, are believed to be the leading candidates.