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Reports: Frieder to quit Arizona State

September 10, 1997

PHOENIX (AP) _ Bill Frieder, said to be about to quit as Arizona State basketball coach, will meet with reporters at his home in suburban Tempe this afternoon, a team publicist said.

Frieder, who has coached the Sun Devils for eight years, is coming off his worst season (10-20) with a team dogged by reports of a gambling investigation, injuries and players’ continual run-ins with the law.

He did not respond to messages left on his answering machine at home, but assistant athletic director Doug Tammaro said Frieder told him about the informal news conference.

The time wasn’t immediately set, Tammaro said.

Athletic director Kevin White was meeting with university officials and could not be reached for comment.

Phoenix radio station KMVP and CNNSI, neither identifying a source, were among those reporting the resignation.

A federal grand jury reportedly is investigating accusations that a player took thousands of dollars from a gambler who bet heavily against the Sun Devils in 1994 and that two other players might have shaved points.

Last week, two players were accused of stealing a compact disc player from a dormitory room.

Bruce Gebhardt, special agent in charge of the Phoenix FBI office, has said the school and athletic officials, including Frieder, are not targets of the investigation.

Frieder has been at Arizona State since the 1989-90 season and has a 132-108 record. His best season was 1994-95, when the Sun Devils were 24-9 and reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Last season, Arizona State went 10-20 and finished last in the Pac-10 at 2-16.

The Arizona Republic reported last month that federal authorities were investigating whether point guard Stevin ``Hedake″ Smith took thousands of dollars from a gambler who bet heavily against the Sun Devils in 1994. The grand jury also is looking into the possibility that two other players took money from the gambler, the Republic said.

The Tribune, a newspaper serving suburban Phoenix, quoted former Arizona State center Jay Knollmiller as saying he saw suspicious activity during the 1994 season and had talked with FBI agents.

The investigation began after Las Vegas bookmakers noted unusually heavy betting on Arizona State’s March 5, 1994, game against Washington. Several casinos took the unusual step of barring wagering on the contest because of the large bets on Washington in a game Arizona State was heavily favored to win.

After missing its first 14 shots, Arizona State won 73-55, surpassing even the original 11-point spread posted for the game. Smith was 4-of-8 and scored 13 points in the game, five off his season average.

Arizona State officials point to the fact that the Sun Devils won that game as evidence that there was no wrongdoing.

``Some group of guys bet a lot of money on Washington, and we covered,″ Frieder said two days after the Washington game. ``Do you think I’d be alive today if we had agreed to throw a game and then ran away with it?″

Published reports have said investigators are looking into several other Arizona State games late in the 1994 season, including a March 3 game against Washington State that the favored Sun Devils lost by 9 points. Smith had 19 points in that game.

Frieder coached Michigan from 1981 to 1989, leading the school to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 1985 through 1989 and compiling a record of 191-87.

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