Kentucky Coach Quits Following Probe

Kentucky football coach Hal Mumme resigned today following months of investigation into possible NCAA violations.

Mumme was replaced by Guy Morriss, an assistant coach at Kentucky with more than 15 years of NFL playing and coaching experience. Morriss was given a one-year contract, athletic director Larry Ivy said at a news conference.

"I met with coach Hal Mumme this afternoon and officially accepted his resignation as head football coach," Ivy said.

The move came the day before high school players are allowed to sign letters-of-intent with college programs.

Mumme was 20-26 in four seasons with the Wildcats. He has made no public comment since the school began an internal investigation in November regarding recruiting.

Former Assistant Had Admitted Bribes in January

Former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett in January admitted sending $1,400 in money orders to a Memphis, Tenn., high school football coach and improperly cashing a $500 check donated by a booster to help fund Mumme's summer football camp.

Ivy told the school's board of trustees last month that the investigation had uncovered several violations, some of which would be deemed major by the NCAA. He said at the time there had been no evidence linking Mumme to any of the violations.

Since that announcement, several newspaper reports said that Kentucky assistant coaches had asked boosters for money to help pay for recruits to attend Mumme's football camps, a violation of NCAA rules. The school could not provide proof that nearly 20 recruits, including Kentucky Mr. Football Montrell Jones, paid the fee to attend Mumme's camp last summer.

Morriss has spent the last four seasons at Kentucky after one year at Mississippi State. An All-Southwest Conference guard at Texas Christian, Morriss played 15 seasons in the NFL — 11 in Philadelphia and four with New England.

Morriss coached with New England and Arizona in the NFL and had stints at Valdosta State and with San Antonio of the Canadian Football League.

From Obscurity to Fan Favorite

The 48-year-old Mumme was a virtually unknown head coach at Division II Valdosta State when he was hired by former athletics director C.M. Newton in 1997 to replace Bill Curry, who was fired after a 26-52 record in seven years at Kentucky

An offensive innovator, Mumme brought with him a wide-open passing attack that showcased the talents of quarterback Tim Couch. Under Mumme, Couch rewrote the Southeastern Conference record book and became the top pick in the 1999 NFL draft.

"Mummeball," as his aggressive style of play became known, ignited renewed fan interest in a languishing program. Following a 5-6 record his first season, the Wildcats went 7-5 and 6-6 the next two years and played in back-to-back bowl games — a feat accomplished only twice previously in the 109-year history of the program.

After boasting that his squad was ready to challenge perennial Southeastern Conference powers Florida and Tennessee entering the 2000 season, the Wildcats lost their final eight games to finish 2-9.

Following the team's season-ending blowout loss at Tennessee, Mumme released four assistant coaches, including Bassett. Several recruits have said Mumme told them he definitely would be Kentucky's coach next season and he expected any possible NCAA sanctions to be minimal.