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April 5, 2011

Webster leaves NU to take job at Tennessee

Just days after sophomore guard Eshaunte Jones left the program, Nebraska suffered another big loss when it was announced assistant coach Tracy Webster had accepted a job at Tennessee under new coach Cuonzo Martin on Tuesday.

Webster leaves the Huskers after just one season in Lincoln, and he will join Jon Harris and Kent Williams as an assistant under Martin.

Webster and Martin have a friendship dating back to their college playing days at Wisconsin and Purdue, respectively.

"First of all, it was definitely a great opportunity at Nebraska and it was not an easy decision," Webster said in a statement. "Having a chance to bond with Coach Sadler and the rest of the coaching staff made it difficult, but this was an opportunity to work with someone who I had played with and against growing up and the two of us have worked together before.

"I wanted to thank the Husker family for opening their arms and welcoming me into their family over the past year."

Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said Martin contacted him for permission to speak with Webster late Monday night, and the hire was announced less than 24 hours later.

"I am happy for Tracy and (his wife) Shenetta," Sadler said in a statement. "Tracy was everything you could ask for, not only as a coach, but as a person in helping our program over the last year.

"Our players and coaches will miss him, but we wish Tracy and Shenetta nothing but the best."

Though he only worked with the Huskers for one season, Webster's loss will be mostly felt on the recruiting trail, as his connections in the Chicago area and surrounding region were expected to come into play in a big way once NU moved to the Big Ten Conference.

On the court, Webster worked primarily with Nebraska's guards, and he was a key part in developing senior point guard Lance Jeter into a third-team All-Big 12 Conference selection last season.

Sadler, who just returned to Lincoln Tuesday afternoon after attending the Final Four in Houston, Texas, said he would begin the search to find Webster's replacement immediately.

Webster's departure shouldn't come as too big of a surprise after looking at his coaching track record. Since joining the college coaching ranks, he has never spent more than four years at any of his seven coaching destinations.

His longest stint came as an assistant at Illinois from 2004-07.

Glover to visit Lincoln on Friday

Nebraska will get a sense right away of how much the loss of Webster will impact its recruiting, as junior college guard Matt Glover of Sheridan (Wyo.) CC is set to visit Lincoln on Friday.

Webster was one of the primary recruiters of Glover, who averaged 12 points, five rebounds and four assists per game for Sheridan last season. The Orange, Calif., native will have three years of eligibility at the Division I level.

Glover said both Sadler and Webster called him Tuesday night to inform him of Webster's move, and while Glover admitted he was disappointed by the move, he said it wasn't going to completely alter his opinion on Nebraska.

"It's too bad Coach Webster left, but I know Doc is a really good coach too," Glover said. "I know Nebraska has a lot to offer, and I'm just excited to get out there."

Sheridan coach Steve Smiley said Nebraska has been in heavy contact with him about Glover over the past few months, saying Sadler, Webster and fellow assistant Chris Croft have all been in contact with him in some form or fashion.

Smiley said Sadler came out to Sheridan on the Tuesday of the final week of the early recruiting contact period two weeks ago.

While Glover's stats might not jump out as all that impressive, Smiley said they were more indicative of the style of offense his team runs than what kind of player the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Glover was. He averaged 19 points per game as a senior at Tustin High School in 2010.

"We had four or five guys average double figures, including him, so we don't have that one guy," Smiley said. "We've had some really good players, and we've never had a guy even come close to averaging 20 points a game. His stats are kind of deceiving that way. If he was on a lot of other teams he'd score about 20 a game."

Glover said he felt comfortable playing both point guard and shooting guard, but Nebraska's coaches had told him they were recruiting him as a point guard. Considering the lack of depth the Huskers have at the position, there's a chance Glover could be counted on to contribute right away next season should he come to NU.

While he said it wouldn't be easy, Smiley said Glover would be capable of making an immediate impact as long as he continued to work as hard as he has been.

"I think he's going to have to earn anything he gets obviously at that level, but I think he has the body and the skills to definitely compete," Smiley said. "He's going to have to go out there and do it, but I think he'll compete every night. He'll have a chance for sure."

Glover has several other official offers in hand at this point, including ones from Utah State, TCU, Idaho and Long Beach State. He's also received interest from the likes of Iowa, Rutgers, South Carolina, Kansas State and Hawaii.

Though he said he plans to take his time during the recruiting process, Glover said he has no more official visits lined up, and didn't rule out the possibility of making a decision after his visit to Nebraska.

"I'm just going to go out there and see what happens," Glover said. "I'm going to play with some of the guys in a little scrimmage and meet the rest of the coaching staff, and then just see the campus and the city. I'm excited to see what Nebraska's all about."



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