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BasketballMAJERUS TO MINNESOTA? The University of Minnesota is in the early stages of looking for a new basketball coach, and the Gophers said they will try to contact Utah coach Rick Majerus this week, according to a published report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Other possible candidates to replace Clem Haskins, according to the paper, include Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker; Delaware coach Mike Brey; former Iowa coach Tom Davis, and former Gophers player Jim Brewer, who is a Los Angeles Clippers assistant.

While the search for his successor begins, Haskins maintains he had no knowledge of any academic cheating in the University of Minnesota's men's basketball program and that he would have stopped it if he knew it was happening.

Haskins gave the Star Tribune his first interview since accepting a $1.5 million buyout of his contract Friday, when he resigned as Gophers coach under pressure stemming from allegations of academic fraud.

Haskins, using a walker after having double knee-replacement surgery June 8, was interviewed at his home in suburban Minnetonka, resting in his master bedroom. He said he would have preferred to coach the final three years of his contract.

"They got me when I was on my back," Haskins told the newspaper. "If I was up, I would have fought a little harder. . . .

Haskins refused to condemn two of his chief accusers: Elayne Donahue, the former director of the academic counseling unit, and Jan Gangelhoff, a former office manager in the unit whose allegations led to his downfall. Gangelhoff said she completed more than 400 pieces of course work for at least 20 players from 1993-98.

"Oh, if I knew it was going on, we would have stopped it," Haskins said. "There's no way in the world we would have upheld that type of thing. Talk to all of the great players that played for me, they'll speak for me."

Baseball

NEW SUU COACH: Dave Powell is returning to Southern Utah University as head baseball coach. Powell, 44, was assistant to former Thunderbird coach Larry Wilson from 1982-84 before spending 15 years coaching high school teams in Idaho, most recently at Pocatello.

Powell replaces DeLynn Corry, who resigned last month after two seasons to pitch for the Zion Pioneerzz, the new minor-league baseball team in St. George.

SANTO HEART SURGERY: Quadruple bypass surgery on former Cubs star and current radio broadcaster Ron Santo was a success, doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago said.

The surgery was performed Monday by Dr. David Fullerton, chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at Northwestern.

Santo, 59, had a mild heart attack while in Denver for a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies. He checked himself into a hospital there after experiencing chest pains.

The former Cubs third baseman, a nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, has a history of diabetes and recently underwent an angiogram that revealed a minor blockage of one artery.

Hockey

IHL MEETINGS: Dan De Vos, principal owner of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Kansas City Blades, has been elected chairman of the board of directors, the International Hockey League said Monday.

Mark Chipman, co-owner and president of the Manitoba Moose, and Barry Kemp, owner of the Long Beach Ice Dogs, were elected vice chairmen, the league said. Ted Parfet, owner of the Michigan K-Wings, was re-elected as treasurer.

The board and general managers also approved the use of video replay to determine only whether a puck has crossed the goal-line and approved a "youth rule" in which each team's roster must have five players 25 years of age or younger, and two at least 22 or younger.