Eddie Sutton will be out and Lee Rose will be in as basketball coach of the Kentucky Wildcats in a few weeks, according to a newspaper report published today.
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, in a copyright story, quoted a source close to the Kentucky program as saying: "Sutton is going to be told he's gone in 10 days to two weeks. The new coach is picked and it's Rose. He's (C. M.) Newton's choice for the job."
Newton will become athletic director at Kentucky on April 1, replacing Cliff Hagan, who resigned last year. Newton refused to discuss the Kentucky coaching situation with the Dispatch.
"I'm not AD there until April 1," said Newton, who is coach at Vanderbilt.
Sutton, whose team broke a six-game losing streak, the longest at Kentucky in 64 years, Wednesday night said he hadn't heard about the newspaper story until a report on ESPN television after Wednesday's game against Tennessee.
"We were over at the dorm, and the players were excited about the win over Tennessee," he said during the weekly Southeastern Conference teleconference. "Everyone was surprised when it (the story) came over.
'Speculation and Rumor'
"But let me say that I am the head coach at the University of Kentucky," he added. "That's what my contract says. Until they tell me differently, that's what I'm going to do."
Two Kentucky officials, meanwhile, told the Associated Press that no decision has been made on the coaching position.
"I'm not going to answer that stuff," said Joe Burch, the school's interim athletic director. "It's just pure speculation and rumor."
Bernie Vonderheide, a UK spokesman, said, "As far as I'm concerned, there's no basis to that report."
Rose, contacted by the Dispatch before Wednesday's New Jersey Nets-Cleveland Cavaliers NBA game, was asked whether he would be a candidate if the Kentucky job opened. Rose has been an assistant coach with the Nets since last summer.
'I'm Well Acquainted'
"Until there is a position open, no one is a candidate because the job is still in the hands of the man who has it," Rose said.