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Odom named Wake Forest coach

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest Saturday named Dave Odom, an assistant coach at the University of Virginia, as its head basketball coach.

Odom, a native of Goldsboro, N.C., said he was excited about the position, despite an alleged recruiting violation facing Wake Forest.

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'It's indeed a great pleasure and great honor. It is a moment in my life I will never forget,' Odom said. 'We're very pleased to be back at Wake Forest and excited about our future here.'

The university has completed an investigation into the allegations that a recruit was provided transportation during a visit. Odom said athletic director Gene Hooks has told him there were no significant problems.

'Hooks is on top of the matter. He has assured me it is not of a major consequence,' Odom said. 'I am not concerned about it right now, or I wouldn't be here.'

Odom replaces Bob Staak, who resigned on March 29 after posting a 45-69 record over the past four years. Odom said he would talk with current assistant coaches at Wake Forest about staying with the program.

'I had the opportunity to meet with all of the basketball team that was available. Even Cal Boyd, the lone senior, came,' Odom said of a meeting Saturday. 'The thing I tried to impart to them is that they are the reason I came back. I tried to make them understand that I chose them.'

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'I left (the meeting) with a spirit of rejuvenation. I knew I made the right decision. I believe they are fine individuals and want someone to love and care for them.'

Odom said he asked each team member to arrange an individual meeting with him next week.

'We're delighted to take this occasion to welcome him to Wake Forest,' Hooks said. 'More than a few people recommended Dave Odom to us -- ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan, NCAA executive director Dick Schultz and Virginia head coach Terry Holland.

'The most impressive thing however was that he made so many friends here and made such an impression on them that they wanted him to come back.'

Odom was an assistant coach at Wake Forest under coach Carl Tacy from 1976 through 1978.

Odom left Wake Forest to become the head coach at East Carolina for three years. He joined Holland's staff at Virginia in 1982.

Sources told the Winston-Salem Journal the job was offered to Gene Bartow on Wednesday. Bartow, the coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, originally accepted the offer, and then called Wake Forest President Thomas Hearn and changed his mind.

Hearn and Hooks, Wake Forest's athletic director, met with Odom in Seattle over the weekend.

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Holland missed several games last season because of intestinal surgery. Odom led the Cavaliers in Holland's absence, and helped the team to three season-saving victories, including a 106-83 trouncing of the University of North Carolina.

Odom attended Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., to play football, but was recruited to play basketball. In his senior year, Odom was the captain of the basketball team and named the college's outstanding athlete.

Odom started his coaching career at Goldsboro High School in 1965 and moved to Durham, N.C., High School in 1969, where he coached for seven years and was named the state's high school coach-of-the-year three times.

While a head coach for the East Carolina Pirates, Odom posted a record of 38-42.

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