Fox succeeds Johnson as Wolf Pack coach

Updated: June 2, 2004, 2:18 PM ET
Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- Mark Fox was hired as Nevada's basketball coach after working four years as an assistant under Trent Johnson.

Johnson, who led Nevada to a 25-9 season and its first appearance in the NCAA tournament's round of 16, resigned a week ago to coach Stanford.

Fox, who was Johnson's choice to succeed him, met with athletic director Cary Groth on Sunday after returning from a vacation.

"The program has been a great source of pride for our community and it's my privilege to take the reins," Fox said at a campus news conference Tuesday. "All I ever wanted to do was to coach college basketball."

Fox has been a Division I assistant for 11 years at Nevada, Kansas State and Washington. He also was endorsed by former Wolf Pack coaches Sonny Allen, Len Stevens and Pat Foster.

"I feel like the entire town was rooting for me to get this job," Fox said.

He added that there would be no changes in the coaches who worked with him under Johnson.

"If it's not broken, we're not going to fix it," he said. "Trent and I are best friends for a reason. We're a lot alike. It's my honor to have learned from him and to follow in his footsteps"

Fox said that, like Johnson, he wanted to recruit players who were planning to complete their education.

"We want players who are going to represent this university well, who are going to earn a degree," he said.

Fox added that Johnson had been grooming him from the start for the head coaching job.

"He said, 'I want you to help me develop this program and one day I'm going to hand it to you,"' Fox said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press