July 11, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. -- - Washington State University men's basketball coach Paul Graham said Tuesday he is not interested in joining former WSU Athletic Director Rick Dickson at Tulane.
"I am not going to Tulane," Graham stated after recent stories indicated Dickson was trying to lure the Cougar head coach to Tulane.
Dickson, who hired Graham at WSU a year ago, resigned his position at WSU in February to become athletic director at the New Orleans university. Last month Tulane head coach Perry Clark resigned to take the same position at Miami, creating an opening for Dickson to fill four months after taking the AD position.
"I have talked to Rick Dickson only because we are good friends and I am very appreciative of the opportunity he gave me here at Washington State," Graham said. "Rick gave me my first (NCAA) Division I head coaching opportunity and my focus right now is to get ready for next season with the Cougars."
"This is an exciting time to be the men's basketball coach at Washington State,' Graham continued. "We have new leadership in President (V. Lane) Rawlins and (athletic director) Jim Sterk and a recruiting class coming in this fall many publications rank in the top 25 nationally."
"Washington State is headed in the right direction, both in terms of University leadership and basketball talent," stated Graham. "I want to take advantage of the opportunity given me and continue to lead this program in the right direction.
Graham was hired by Dickson at WSU in March, 1999, after spending seven years at Oklahoma State as an assistant for head coach Eddie Sutton. The 1974 graduate of the University of North Texas also had collegiate coaching stints at Southern Methodist and New Mexico before joining Sutton's staff.
Graham inherited a struggling program that had suffered three straight losing seasons. While going 6-22 last year, Graham recruited WSU's best class in several years, one that was consistently ranked as one of the best in the Pacific-10 Conference and in the nation.