Chancellor takes over as LSU women's coach

Associated Press • Apr 11, 2007 at 10:00 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. - Van Chancellor has won WNBA championships and Olympic gold medals.

By taking over an LSU program that's been to four consecutive Final Fours, Chancellor will have as good a chance as he's ever had before to win his first NCAA title next season.

Chancellor was hired as the women's basketball coach at LSU on Wednesday, succeeding Pokey Chatman.

He intends to keep the coaching staff left behind when Chatman abruptly resigned last month just before the NCAA tournament. Chancellor singled out for mention assistant Bob Starkey, who took over the team and guided the squad to another Final Four appearance.

"I wouldn't have taken this job if Bob Starkey wasn't wanting to stay here," Chancellor said at a news conference. "Why would I want to change a Final Four team four years in a row?"

Chancellor, 63, was the women's coach at Mississippi from 1978-97 before leading the WNBA Houston Comets to four straight championships (1997-00). He also coached the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and has a 38-0 record in international competition.

Chatman resigned March 7 amid allegations of inappropriate conduct with a former LSU player when that player was a member of the team. The team went on to lose in the NCAA tournament semifinals under Starkey, who has said several times he did not want the head coaching job but did hope to remain at LSU as a top assistant.

"Personally, I'm very happy," said Starkey, who has lived in Baton Rouge nearly two decades and recently built a new house here. "I don't think I could have gone out and picked somebody more perfect for where this program is right now. Our fans are going to fall in love with him. The thing Van Chancellor brings is a lot of stability and integrity, and those are the two most important things we need right now."

LSU senior women's administrator Judy Southard said Chancellor accepted the job before the details of his contract had been worked out. She said the university is working on a five-year deal with the coach but she did not discuss his salary, which must be approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

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