UConn's Moore close to Quinnipiac job
I've conceded over the last two days that I -- and the rest of the media -- do not know who Doug Woolard is talking with about his basketball job.
Three candidates linked to the job in various degrees -- WInthrop's Gregg Marshall, South Alabama's John Pelphrey and ESPN's Fran Fraschilla -- have said they're not pursuing the job. The more the known list of candidates continues to dwindle, the more I'm thinking it's the tip of the iceberg, and there are others who have done a better job of staying quiet about their (and perhaps USF's) interest. I just don't know who these people are, and not for a lack of trying.
It looks as though you can take Connecticut associate head coach Tom Moore off the list. The Hartford Courant reports today that Moore is close to getting the job at Quinnipiac after getting a second interview Tuesday. Woolard requested and was granted permission to speak with Moore from UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway during league meetings leading up to the Big East men's basketball tournament, but as of early this week, he had not followed up by contacting Moore.
I think the primary obstacle for Moore was a natural hesitance to give anyone their first Division I head coaching job at such a high level as the Big East. There's certainly a precedent for it -- St. John's coach Norm Roberts is a recent, positive example -- but it represents a larger risk than an athletic director might want to take.
Pete Gillen? He has Dick Vitale's vote of confidence, but has been especially silent about the job, not responding to numerous messages seeking comment. When Times writer Brian Landman brought the topic up with Gillen at the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he immediately declined to comment, ending the conversation. That hardly says he's not interested or not being considered, but his name is also being bandied about for the opening at Iona -- that's a school with two wins this past season, at a much lower level than the Big East, and while it's just my speculation, if I felt I was a strong candidate for a Big East job, I don't know if I'd be floating my name for a job like Iona. Having said that, he'll probably be introduced at USF's new coach this afternoon.
So I'm taking a step back and casting a wider net, trying to figure out Woolard's plan. He didn't appear to be at USF Wednesday morning, which could mean he's off courting someone, or off at the dentist, for that matter. The Sun Dome floor is covered with 50 cots and Red Cross emergency volunteers going through a disaster shelter crisis drill. You'd think it unlikely a candidate would accept the job without a full campus visit, and you'd think it unlikely USF would show off the Sun Dome while it's doing its Superdome-during-Katrina impersonation. Maybe that candidate has already been surreptitiously ushered around campus without our knowing. Maybe Woolard will wait until he can meet with new candidates at the Final Four in Atlanta. Again, what I hear and say, throughout this process: I just don't know. Keep those comments and questions coming to email@example.com.