Ex-Gopher Coach Jim Molinari is WIU Finalist

Former Minnesota assistant and interim head coach Jim Molinari is among the three finalists for the Western llinois head coaching job. Molinari interviewed for the position Tuesday. Western Illinois dismissed former Gopher assistant Derek Thomas last month.

Jim Molinari has enjoyed a 27-year career as a collegiate head and assistant coach. He was the Bradley head coach for 11 years and led his team to five NIT appearances and the 1996 NCAA Tournament. Molinari was the Northern Illinois head coach from 1989-91, posting a 42-17 mark.

Molinari served as an assistant this past season at Ball State. He is one of the finalists, along with assistant Jeff Rutter of Iowa State and Oklaohma City head coach Ray Harper.

Rutter was the head coach at Wisconsin-Parkside from 1996-2003 before joining Northern Iowa (2003-06) and Iowa State (2006-08).

Harper led Kentucky Wesleyan to NCAA Division II championships in 1999 and 2001. He was Division II coach of the year four times (1999-02) before taking over at Oklahoma City. Harper was 95-17 at OCU and 2008 NAIA Coach of the Year. However, he is expected to be named an assistant coach at Western Kentucky under Ken Mcdonald. McDonald got the Hilltopper job over Minnesota assistant coach Vince Taylor.

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