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By Andrew Multer

Tom "Satch" Sanders, Harvard's varsity basketball coach for the past four years, ended a week of speculation Wednesday when he signed a multi-year contract as assistant coach of the Boston Celtics, the team he helped build into a dynasty during his playing days.

"This is something I really wanted to do," Sanders said yesterday, "even though I have plenty of regrets about leaving Harvard."

Sanders, who had a 40-60 record at Harvard, was still under contract to the University, but he said yesterday University officials did not stand in his way when he began talks with Celtics' general manager Red Auerbach last week.

"The University people were as helpful and supportive as they've been all through my four years at Harvard," Sanders, Harvard's only black coach, said yesterday.

"Everyone in the Athletic Department is sorry to lose Tom from the staff. He's a tremendous person and was doing a great job with the team. I'm just sorry he won't be able to take the program further on the course for which he laid a solid foundation," Baaron Pittenger, associate director of Athletics, said yesterday.

Sanders said yesterday his job will not differ much from that of John Killilea, the man he is replacing. "I'll be scouting the opponents and scouting for talent in the draft, among other things," he said.

Sanders added that the pro game has changed since he retired from the Celtics in 1971, citing the influx of college coaches and the development of defenses "that appear to be zones" as two examples.

"I didn't find my years at Harvard frustrating at all" --despite the losing record and poor facilities--"mostly because I am an optimistic person," he said.

Sanders said he has no idea who would replace him.

"We're a long way from that decision. We've had some inquiries today, but I think we'll sit back for a few weeks and let the resumes come in," Pittenger said.

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