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Pennell a hot commodity with the media

Citizen Staff Writer
Wildcat blog

Mike Chesnick

Sports editor

Arizona’s and interim coach Russ Pennell’s unlikely journey to the Sweet 16 caught the nation’s attention.

On Monday, Pennell was the subject of a USA TODAY cover story and was interviewed on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” by Washington Post columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Kornheiser asked how being a “co-coach” with assistant Mike Dunlap, who calls a lot of the Wildcats’ plays, has worked out.

“The best part is that I get paid more than him,” Pennell quipped. “Mike is an unbelievable basketball mind. It would be very foolish for me not to draw upon his wisdom.”

Pennell said he and Dunlap are like Kornheiser and Wilbon: “Just like you guys, we take turns playing good cop and bad cop.”

Kornheiser put Pennell on the spot with his final question: How sweet would it feel to beat Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who has been rumored as a candidate for the Arizona job? “The reason I want to beat Rick is to go to the Elite Eight,” said Pennell, giving the politically correct answer.

Whatever happens, Pennell should be able to use the national exposure to help land a decent head coaching job next season.

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