Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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LSU talks to WSU coach Tony Bennett at Final Four

Seattle Times sports reporter

Washington State basketball coach Tony Bennett was one of several coaches who had preliminary talks over the weekend in San Antonio with Louisiana State officials seeking to fill the vacancy created when they fired John Brady in February.

Bennett was among those spoken to by LSU representatives, as was Stanford coach and Seattle product Trent Johnson. Despite making the Sweet 16 this year, Stanford and Johnson haven't yet finalized a contract extension, and he is in the final year of his pact.

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell is believed to be a prime target of LSU's search.

Earlier, Bennett said he wouldn't pursue the Indiana job, although it was believed he was the Hoosiers' first choice and Indiana would have been willing to more than double his $800,000 salary at WSU. When Marquette coach Tom Crean filled that opening, it vacated a lucrative job in Bennett's home state of Wisconsin, but published reports have indicated the Golden Eagles couldn't interest Bennett in the position.

Last week, WSU president Elson Floyd and athletic director Jim Sterk said they believed Bennett is ready to sign a new deal which would improve staff salaries, facilities and travel accommodations.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company


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