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Coach G considers Texas opening

Women's basketball head coach Gail Goestenkors visited the University of Texas' campus in Austin Tuesday and Wednesday to interview for the Longhorn's coaching vacancy.

Goestenkors, however, has not given any indication as to which job she will ultimately choose, and she is scheduled to return to Durham Thursday before making a final decision about her future.

"It's going to take some time," Goestenkors told The Associated Press Wednesday as she walked from the Texas athletic department offices toward the school's football complex. "I have to go back and talk to my people [at Duke]."

A parent of a current Duke player told The Chronicle Wednesday that Goestenkors is expected to meet with her team when she returns. A senior official within Duke's Department of Athletics, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the situation is likely to be resolved quickly and should be over within the next day or two.

The Dallas Morning News reported on its website Wednesday that a source close to the Duke program estimated Goestenkors' odds of leaving Duke are "50-50."

"Gail Goestenkors is a great coach and a great human being," President Richard Brodhead wrote in an e-mail. "She has represented this university in a wonderful way, and I hope this will be her home for many years to come. You can be sure we'll be doing our best to keep her at Duke."

While Goestenkors considers the Texas job, many have offered their support for the Blue Devils' coach to remain at the school where she has been the coach for the past 15 years.

"I think she's a great coach," Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. "She's done an unbelievable job at Duke University.... I hope she's the coach here until she decides to retire."

A rally is planned for the lawn outside Cameron Indoor Stadium-officially known as Krzyzewskiville but recently dubbed Goestenkorsopolis for women's games-for Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

When men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski considered leaving Duke to take a job with the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer of 2004, a similar rally held by students and administrators helped convince Krzyzewski to stay.

In addition, a group calling itself "Friends of Duke Women's Basketball" took out a two-page ad that appears in Thursday's print edition of The Chronicle.

"We love Gail Goestenkors-we think she's a class act," said Dr. Henry Friedman, deputy director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and a prominent booster of the women's program. "I think she's looking because when you reach that level of stature in your field, it is never a bad idea to take a look. If nothing else, you learn things that could be beneficial for your program."

Texas is likely to offer Goestenkors a compensation package that is significantly higher than her current one at Duke. Former Longhorns coach Jody Conradt, who retired at the end of this season, earned $540,000 last year. Although Goestenkors' contract is not public information, Duke's most recent Internal Revenue Service filings indicate that Goestenkors' salary is less than that.

Chris Plonsky, Texas' women's athletic director, has not publicly confirmed that Goestenkors was offered the post, but Duke athletics department officials expected Texas to make an offer during her visit.

Goestenkors arrived at Duke in 1992, taking over a program that had reached just one NCAA Tournament in its 17 previous years of existence. Since then, Duke has become one of the nation's elite teams, making it to the Final Four in four out of the past eight seasons. Goestenkors' teams have lost in their two appearances in the National Championship game, including an overtime defeat to Maryland in 2006.

Ben Cohen contributed to this story.


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