Ex-Tennessee assistant helped pay recruit’s way
Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 7:02 pm
By The Associated Press
Former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza paid for a top recruit and his mother to fly to Knoxville for an unofficial recruiting trip during Lane Kiffin’s tenure at the school, Yahoo! Sports reported Monday night.
Garza followed Kiffin when he took over at Southern California, but the secondary coach resigned Sept. 1, citing “personal issues unrelated to USC.”
Yahoo! Sports reported Garza wired $1,500 to talent scout Will Lyles in July 2009 and the money was used for plane tickets for running back prospect Lache Seastrunk and his mother, Evelyn.
Lyles told NCAA investigators about the transaction in August, according to the website. He said NCAA investigators were examining Tennessee’s recruiting practices.
Garza, USC spokesman Tim Tessalone and the NCAA declined comment when reached by Yahoo! Sports.
“We are aware of the situation as is the conference office,” Tennessee spokesman Jimmy Stanton told the website. “We’ve been verbally contacted by the NCAA enforcement staff regarding a recruiting issue in 2009 related to the former coaching staff and a student-athlete who never attended Tennessee.
“We believe, as does the conference office, that this matter is not subject to the repeat offender provision.”
Published in The Messenger 9.27.11