Who gets to coach this guy?

Alec Burks and other members of the Colorado basketball team have thrown their support behind associated head coach Steve McClain as athletic director Mike Bohn looks for a new coach to lead the program. How much does that help McClain and who is most likely to get the job? Get inside for more.

It's a three-horse race between McClain, Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle, who went to school with Bohn at Kansas, and former Denver Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap, who coached Metro State to a pair of Division II national titles in the past 10 years.

All three will be interviewed for the position. Bohn announced a search committee today that includes senior associate athletic director Tom McGrath, senior women's administrator Ceal Barry, faculty athletics representative David Clough and several other officials from the athletic department and CU campus.

Bohn said he received a text message from Denver Nuggets coach George Karl today. He did not reveal what the message said, but it can be assumed Karl was making a pitch for Dunlap to be hired. Dunlap served as Karl's assistant with the Nuggets for two seasons from 2006-08.

Dunlap is the likely frontrunner. He pulled his name out of consideration for the job back in 2007 but had made a strong impression on Bohn and other members of that search committee before doing so.

A decision could be made by early next week, though the process could last longer if other viable candidates emerge or issues come up with the three leading contenders.

Several members of the CU team spoke about the coaching change after Bohn met with the media today.

Senior-to-be Cory Higgins said he "should be" back next year when asked if he would be today. Higgins also is hopeful McClain gets the job and says some of his teammates might leave the program if Bohn hires another candidate. Levi Knutson echoed those comments.

"We've expressed this to many people that we would like Steve, or coach McClain to be here," Higgins said. "For me the most important thing in trying to keep him here was to keep everybody together."

Higgins was asked if McClain isn't hired whether that would lead to a splintering in the team.

"That's something that could very well happen," Higgins said. "I hope it doesn't. I hope we don't have to go down that path."

Players said they would like to be involved in the selection process for the coach, but they don't know yet if they will be.

Higgins and Knutson said they will try to help out in recruiting this week with at least one prospect expected to visit, but the coaching change comes at an awkward time with the late signing period under way. Even Bohn acknowledged the timing is a nightmare for recruiting, but there isn't much that can be done about it except hiring the best coach as soon as possible.

"I think that is one of the most frustrating parts of the timing of this is the effect on recruiting," Bohn said.

Knutson said the players are hoping the school hires a player's coach.

"That's what the players want," he said. "They want somebody they can play hard for and somebody they look up to and respect. There is a lot of good coaches out there that do that. I know coach McClain is one of them."

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