University of Arkansas at Little Rock basketball coach Mike Newell has turned down an offer to coach at Marquette. ''I tell the players I recruit,
`If you go where you`re most wanted and most needed, you`ll come to UALR,''
Newell said Friday. ''People--that`s been the most influencing factor in my decision . . .''
Newell said Marquette officials met all his demands--''and then some''--
and were shocked when he told them he would stay at UALR, which last season upset Notre Dame after gaining its first NCAA tournament berth.
Newell, 35, said the Marquette offer was ''around the $200,000 figure overall. His salary at Little Rock is $51,521, but he has a television contract and operates a summer basketball camp.
''I understand it was a tough decision for Mike to make,'' Marquette athletic director Hank Raymonds said. ''It`s difficult to take a program from scratch like he did at Little Rock, and just when it`s ready to blossom, to leave.''
The decision leaves Marquette with four candidates to replace Rick Majerus, who left to become an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Bradley coach Dick Versace, one of six people interviewed, has taken himself out of the running. Still in contention are former Nebraska coach Moe Iba, Stamford coach Mel Hankinson, St. Peter`s coach Bob Dukiet and Marquette assistant Ric Cobb. New candidates may be interviewed.
Versace said part of the reason for his withdrawal was a pending NCAA decision on possible violations at Bradley. ''I don`t have full knowledge what the penalties are, but because of that, I started to think: `Okay, what if I take the Marquette job and then the penalties were something that would hurt my guys? So here I am, the biggest rat in America.` ''
-- According to the Washington Post, Bias` family is faced with repaying $21,000 in personal loans that Bias obtained this spring, as well as his funeral expenses.