George Raveling's decision to explore the vacant basketball coaching position at Seton Hall is partly a result of differences with USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett, sources have told The Times.
Raveling, 57, who had a base salary of about $200,000 last season, has been offered a $500,000 contract at Seton Hall and is leaning toward taking the job, according to Seton Hall sources. The eight-year USC coach was tendered the offer Wednesday by Larry Keating, Seton Hall's athletic director.
On Thursday morning, Raveling and Garrett met at USC to discuss the Seton Hall offer and Garrett did not give Raveling any assurance about his future at USC, according to sources. Raveling has two years remaining on his contract.
"At this point, nothing has changed," said Raveling, who has been at UC Irvine this week preparing the U.S. national team for the Goodwill Games, which begin July 23. "As far as I am concerned, I'm still the basketball coach at USC."
The rift between Raveling and Garrett, who declined to comment Friday, is believed to have started when Garrett replaced Mike McGee as athletic director last year after Raveling reportedly withdrew himself as a candidate.
With USC facing financial problems budgeting the athletic department, Garrett pointed to the USC basketball program as an area that needed improvement.
USC, which has had difficulty with attendance at the Sports Arena, continued to have problems drawing crowds last season, averaging only 3,724 fans for 15 home games despite gaining a berth for their fourth consecutive postseason tournament.
According to USC sources, Raveling's involvement with activities outside USC also was a concern as people questioned his ability to lead the Trojans to their first Pacific 10 Conference title since 1985.
Reportedly, Raveling is currently involved with at least 21 organizations, from the Black Coaches Assn. to the NCAA men's basketball rules committee.
Raveling previously said he will not make his decision until late next week. But additional factors pointing toward Raveling's departure are the huge pay increase and the chance to go to an area near where he grew up.
Raveling was born in Washington and attended high school near Philadelphia. He graduated from nearby Villanova, was an assistant basketball coach at Villanova for seven years and was an assistant at Maryland for three years. Seton Hall is in South Orange, N.J.
The job would also take Raveling nearer to two of his closest coaching friends, Georgetown's John Thompson and Temple's John Chaney.
"He's gone through a lot since he's been here," said Mark Boyd, who graduated in May after starting four years under Raveling.
"I know there was a lot of conflict between him and Garrett at times, but I don't think that he'd run from it."
Raveling did not improve his standing with Garrett when USC struggled to a 16-12 record after bringing in four highly regarded freshmen to go along with returning starters Lorenzo Orr, Tremayne Anchrum and Boyd.