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Celtics extend coach Doc Rivers’ contract

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Celtics extend coach Doc Rivers’ contract

Doc Rivers received a contract extension last Wednesday, giving him three more years as coach of the Boston Celtics after leading them to an NBA title following the second worst season in team history.

Rivers’ contract, which had one year left, was extended through the 2010-2011 season at an annual salary of about $5.5 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team does not release contract details.

Rivers coached the Celtics to their NBA record 17th championship, their first in 22 years, in his fourth season as coach. Their 66-16 regular record was the best in the NBA and third best in club history.

They were 45-37 in his first season but just 24-58 in his third, in 2006-07. The one-year, 42-win turnaround from that is a league record.

“He can handle the pressure of having to go through losses. He was extremely even-keel[ed] in the worst periods,” Steve Pagliuca, an owner and managing partner of the team, told The Associated Press.

The fortunes of the team turned around when it obtained guard Ray Allen from Seattle and forward Kevin Garnett from Minnesota before last season.

The deals cost them several young players they had stockpiled, including Al Jefferson, who was developing into an outstanding forward.

But Rivers proved as adept at leading veteran stars as he was at teaching inexperienced players. That was one major reason the Celtics decided to extend his contract.

The Celtics lost forward James Posey to free agency but are optimistic about draft choices J.R. Giddens, a guard, and Billy Walker, a forward. The entire starting lineup of Garnett, Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins returns.

In his four seasons as coach of the Celtics, Rivers is 168-160.

“He’s extremely team-oriented in everything that he does so he wants the focus to be on the players,” Pagliuca said. “He’s a great teacher of young guys and because he was an NBA All-Star and very well respected point guard player, he’s had an unbelievably good rapport with the superstars. He knows how to handle them and he knows how to really bring young players along.”

Mass. sets appeals process for MCAS science exam

State education officials have approved an appeals process for high school students who fail the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) science exam.

Passing the science test will become a graduation requirement for the Class of 2010.

The process, approved last Wednesday by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, would allow students who fail the exam once to file an appeal with the state. To be eligible, students would have to have an attendance rate of at least 95 percent and would be required to enroll in a science class during the year in which they file their appeal.

Students who fail the English and math MCAS exams must fail the exams three times before they can file an appeal. Passing the English and math MCAS have been graduation requirements since 2003.

UMass plans 5-year, $2.56B building boom

The University of Massachusetts is embarking on a five-year, $2.56 billion building boom.

The plan, approved last Wednesday by the school’s Committee on Administration and Finance, includes new academic and research facilities on all five campuses and renovations to other facilities.

UMass President Jack Wilson said the construction would help the public university usher in a new era of academic achievement.

The plan, which also must be approved by the university’s Board of Trustees, includes $333 million for a science building in Worcester and $150 million for an integrated sciences complex in Boston.

Other projects include $100 million for a science laboratory building and $53.3 million for a student recreation center at the university’s Amherst campus and $75 million for student housing renovations and $20 million for a marine sciences building at the Dartmouth campus.

The university plans to borrow $1.45 billion, use $798 million from the state and make up the rest from other sources.

Funding for some projects was included in a $2 billion higher education bond bill signed by Gov. Deval Patrick that included more than $1 billion for UMass projects.

Wilson said the plan builds on the $1.7 billion in construction and renovation conducted over the past eight years.

(Associated Press)