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NCAA Basketball

Seattle hires Jim Hayford as new head basketball coach

SEATTLE (AP) Jim Hayford was hired Wednesday as the basketball coach at Seattle, leaving Eastern Washington after six successful seasons for a chance to boost the Redhawks program.

He replaces Cameron Dollar, who was fired earlier this month after eight seasons at Seattle during which he led the Redhawks through their transition to full Division I status. Dollar was unable to turn Seattle into a contender in the Western Athletic Conference.

Hayford was 106-91 in his six seasons with the Eagles, including a pair of 20-win seasons. Hayford took Eastern Washington to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 for the second time in school history.

"I humbly move into this position with a desire to lead a championship program that graduates outstanding leaders," Hayford said in a statement. "The history of the basketball program here is rich and unique. We will work tirelessly to build a program that will return Seattle University to the NCAA Tournament."

Prior to going to Eastern Washington in 2011, Hayford spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Division III Whitworth, turning the Pirates into a powerhouse at the lower level.

"Coach Hayford has a history of success in developing programs that compete on the national level," Seattle athletic director Shaney Fink said. "He is a proven winner, a committed educator, and a passionate leader, and we are excited for him to bring that blueprint of success here to Seattle U."

Eastern Washington moved quickly to replace Hayford, promoting assistant Shantay Legans to the head coach position full-time. Legans has been an assistant at Eastern Washington for the past eight seasons.

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Updated March 29, 2017

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