UCLA assistant Zeigler to coach Central Michigan

Updated: June 29, 2006, 3:03 PM ET
Associated Press

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Central Michigan hired UCLA assistant Ernie Zeigler as its men's basketball coach Thursday.

The 40-year-old Zeigler spent the last five seasons as an assistant to Ben Howland at Pittsburgh and then UCLA, helping the Bruins reach the NCAA title game in April. Florida beat UCLA 73-57.

Zeigler replaces Jay Smith, who resigned in May after nine years. Smith guided the Chippewas to two Mid-American Conference regular-season championships and the 2003 conference title.

"Ernie brings a wealth of experience to our program and the championship culture we are building at CMU," athletic director Dave Heeke said. "His roots are in Detroit, and he has strong ties to the Midwest and the state of Michigan."

Zeigler was an assistant at Detroit Cody High from 1990-1996. He spent a year each at Kansas State and Bowling Green before joining Howland's staff at Pittsburgh in 2002. He also has three years of head coaching experience overseas, leading teams in China and Saudi Arabia.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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