Coaching Search Gains Clarity; Down to Four?

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti is in the second week of a coaching search, the field of candidates is narrowed. There are four known possibilities as a replacement to Fred Hill, according to sources, and they come from an array of programs and each have head coaching experience.

On a day former Rutgers star Eddie Jordan announced he was no longer involved in the school's vacant coaching position, the search for Fred Hill's successor gained clarity.

Behind a strong backing from the New Jersey/New York basketball community, Robert Morris coach Mike Rice and former St. John's coach and current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla moved near the top of the list, while former Boston College coach Al Skinner and Temple coach Fran Dunphy also remain possibilities, according to sources.

It is believed Rice already interviewed for the position, while it is not known if Fraschilla or Skinner have already done so, or will do so later this week.

As for Dunphy, there are still questions in his interest level in the position, and he remains a wild card in the search.

Dunphy was the long-time Pennsylvania coach who agonized about moving to Temple. A move outside of Philadelphia would be a gamble, and at age 61, there are questions as to whether he wants to undertake such a large rebuilding role.

Dunphy also has Temple on the precipice of a top 10 preseason ranking come November, and would have to start over at with one of the worst programs in arguably the best conference in the nation, the Big East.

Rice has had a strong three seasons at Robert Morris, which located near Pittsburgh. He is 73-30 in three seasons, and had a pair of NCAA Tournament berths on his resume.

He also coached under Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh and Phil Martelli at St. Joseph's, and played at Fordham. He also has a strong backing from the powerful New Jersey/New York high school and AAU basketball community.

Fraschilla led Manhattan to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and in his second season at St. John's won 22 games. He is a strong strategist and also is a proven recruiter while at St. John's, but his career has been dotted with off-the-court issues.

However, after not being on the bench for eight seasons, Fraschilla may realize this is his final chance at a big-time job within a BCS conference.

Skinner was fired from Boston College after going 15-16 last season, his second losing season in three years. But he was 247-165 in 13 seasons with the Eagles, and went to seven NCAA Tournaments.

In nine seasons at Rhode Island, Skinner was 138-26 and went two a pair of NCAA Tournaments and two NITs.

Jordan, a star on Rutgers' 1976 Final Four squad, told athletic director Tim Pernetti of his decision Tuesday to remove himself from the search, according to a source.

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