To all those people who think a 2-9 record as coach of the Starzz dampened his enthusiasm, 66-year-old Frank Layden says this: "I'm going to coach longer than (Penn State football coach) Joe Paterno and not quit until I am 75.

"I am taking this very seriously," Layden said of his position of just over three weeks."I'm replacing a lot of things I like to do with this," he said, naming going to the theater with wife Barbara, golfing and going to Buzz games, among others. "It's worth it," he adds.

Layden said he will spend this off-season visiting with college coaches to make contacts, going to Europe to observe the leagues there and otherwise preparing himself for coaching a women's team. He replaced the fired Denise Taylor as Starzz coach on July 27.

"I enjoyed it better than I thought I would," he said, ranking this team, which won only eight of 30 games, as one of his all-time favorites because they faced adversity, cooperated and didn't complain.

Layden said he expects some personnel changes for 1999, but he said he was telling the players he wants them all back. If he has exactly the same team next year, "I guarantee we will win . . . some games," he said, checking himself a bit and drawing laughter from the media. "More than eight or nine games."

- Linda Hamilton