Coaching search update (4/3 Mid-Day)

Dawgman.com spoke with Doug McIlhagga, SID for St. Louis University, who got us caught up with the latest regarding the status of Lorenzo Romar, the men's head basketball coach for the Billikens.

"Well, right now there is nothing new regarding Lorenzo," McIlhagga said moments ago. "We thought earlier this morning that there might be news around this time, but now it looks like it's going to take more time."

KTVI, the Fox affiliate for St. Louis, released the following statement on their website this morning. "FOX 2 Sports has confirmed that St. Louis University's Head Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar is leaving the university for the head coach position at his alma mater, the University of Washington. FOX 2's Martin Kilcoyne says that Washington had made the offer and Romar at this point is getting ready to accept the offer and take the position. For him, it's a great move, but for St. Louis it's a bad break, because he's a good coach, a great person and he's been here three years. With some coaches, ego may have come into play, but if anyone knows Romar, ego is not an issue with him. He is one of the most humble guys that we've seen. Neither school is announcing or confirming anything at this point, but FOX 2 was able to lock it down that he is indeed heading to the University of Washington."

It was learned later in the morning that this report was premature and Romar is still deliberating as to his future.

McIlhagga also went on to say that if Romar does decide to stay that they would most likely have him address it publically as opposed to releasing a statement through the school.

If Lorenzo does decide to take the Washington job, there would be no interview done by SLU, for obvious reasons. It would be done by the University of Washington.

The countdown begins...




(4/3 AM) Dawgman.com reached James Jones, the head coach for Yale University, and a candidate that has interviewed for the men's head coaching position at the University of Washington. This was first reported yesterday by ESPN's Andy Katz. But news coming out of St. Louis right now indicates the search may have come to an end.

"Yes, I am interested in the job," Jones said this morning. "I did meet with Barbara Hedges, but out of respect for her and for the search, that's all I'm going to say about it at this time."

James became the head coach for the Bulldogs in 1999 after 3 years as an assistant at Yale and two as an assistant at Ohio University.

All James did in his first year as head coach was double the number of D1 wins for the Bulldogs. In his second year he guided Yale to a 5th place finish in conference and then to a second-place showing during the 2001-2002 season, eventually ending up with a 21-11 record.

The other candidate Hedges interviewed that is still apparently interested is St. Louis' Lorenzo Romar. But Lorenzo still isn't ready to talk. But Dan McIlhagga, SID at St. Louis said this morning that he might have something to say in a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis is claiming that Romar has been offered the job and that he has accepted it, so hopefully we will be able to reach Lorenzo soon for confirmation.




(4/2 Mid-Day) Now that Dan Monson is this morning's news, all the focus on the Washington men's basketball search points to one man - Lorenzo Romar. Will the St. Louis head man be offered the job? Would he accept, knowing who has already spurned the Huskies? Those questions should be answered very soon...but probably not today.

Doug McIlhagga, the SID at St. Louis, confirmed that Romar is not speaking to the press today about the Washington vacancy.

"Lorenzo is declining any offers to speak to the media today," he said today. Asked if he would be available for comment tomorrow, McIlhagga was frank. "To be honest, it's a day to day situation and anything can happen right now."

Barbara Hedges reportedly told a coach close to the search last night that she was going to try and hire Minnesota head man Dan Monson. Monson has decided to stay with the Golden Gophers.

Was Romar the coach that was contacted? We may never know, but he was the only coach before today to publically comment about the UW search, telling Bob Condotta of the Tacoma News Tribune that he had not been offered the position as of Sunday.

In other news, Mike Carey of the St. John's SID confirmed that Mike Jarvis has not been contacted by Washington and doesn't expect Jarvis to be looking to go anywhere.




(4/2 AM) Just when you thought things might settle down and the Washington men's basketball coaching search might come to an end, recent reports have blown a hole in that theory. Is Dan Monson the next men's basketball coach of the Washington Huskies? Apparently not anymore.

Jeff Schemmel, associate athletic director for the University of Minnesota has confirmed that a press conference will be held at noon PST and that Dan Monson will announce his intentions to stay as men's basketball coach.

A source very close to the situation has also confirmed this news. Monson himself has released the following statement on Minnesota's official website, Gophersports.com.

"I have a standing policy of not commenting on job speculation. But, there is too much speculation out there right now and I'm concerned about my team. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. We have unfinished work to do and I'm excited about the future of this program."




Things have taken a decided turn to the East, as sources inside KJR are now saying that Dan Monson, head basketball coach for the University of Minnesota, looks to have accepted the same position at the University of Washington.

WCCO in Minneapolis is reporting that Monson has accepted the position and a source at KJR confirmed that information. The employee at KJR also has talked to another source claiming to be inside the Minnesota athletic department who also corraborated the Monson story. Another source at KJR spoke to someone close to the Washington athletic department this morning who also believes Monson has been hired.

Monson has not been available for comment during the Washington coaching search and Tom Moe, the AD for Minnesota has also been unavailable for comment.

Monson has connections to the Northwest. His father, Don, coached at Idaho and at Oregon. Monson himself was the head coach at Gonzaga previous to Mark Few. Here's the bio we ran on Dan a week ago:

Another coach who has just put in his third season with an up-and-coming program, Dan Monson's name should be familiar to northwest basketball fans. Monson led the Gonzaga Bulldogs within a breath of the Final Four three years ago.

The Spokane native spent 11 years building the Gonzaga program, first as an assistant coach in 1988 and then again 1994-95, when he was elevated to associate head coach under head coach Dan Fitzgerald who was also the athletics director.

Three years later, Monson took over full control of the Gonzaga program. He had an immediate impact leading the Bulldogs to a West Coast Conference title and advancing to the second round of the NIT. Along the way the team set a school record for wins with 24. Monson was the first coach in West Coast Conference history to capture the regular-season title in his rookie season. For his efforts, his WCC peers voted him Coach of the Year and Basketball Times accorded him national Rookie Coach of the Year. His career record in two seasons as head coach of the Zags was 52-17, with an impressive 4-2 mark in postseason play.

He then took over the much-maligned Minnesota program, still reeling from the wake of Clem Haskins' departure and subsequent probation for rule violations. Still, he has compiled a respectable 47-42 record for the Golden Gophers since his arrival and is once again laying the foundation for a successful program. Despite scholarship limitations and injuries to two key starters, Monson brought the maroon and gold to the postseason (NIT) in just his second year.

Is Dan interested in coming back to the Northwest? Sometimes the lure of a job in your home state can be compelling. Monson has done terrific work so far for Minnesota, and it would be hard to imagine him leaving the Gophers at the point when they are poised for a breakthrough. Serious money would have to be thrown Monson's way.




(4/1) The twists and turns continue to make the Washington head basketball coaching search an interesting one to follow, but frustrating due to the lack of any concrete information being supplied by either the University or the suitors lining up to interview for the position.

"Helen and I feel a great affinity for Columbia and the University of Missouri," Tigers' head coach Quin Snyder said in a released statement via Missouri's official athletics website. "We have some very special players on our team and we have made a tremendous investment in each other over the last few years. We are building a very special and unique program at Missouri, and I am certainly excited about the potential that lies ahead."

Does this mean Snyder is out as the leading candidate for the Husky head coaching vacancy? The door is still open but closing shut in a hurry. Expect an announcement Wednesday in which Quin finally declares his full intent, which we believe will be to stay at Missouri with raise in hand.

Washington Athletic Director Barbara Hedges spoke with St. Louis head coach Lorenzo Romar yesterday, but no deal was offered and Romar is now on his way back to St. Louis with his family. We hope to speak with Lorenzo when he gets home.

Attempts to reach Gonzaga head coach Mark Few at his home have also produced little in the way of results. Gonzaga is out for spring break, so it's unsure whether or not Mark is actually back in Spokane or vacationing with his family. He was in Atlanta on Saturday talking to Hedges again after an initial interview in Spokane last week.

Was an offer tendered? Is Few still interested in the head coaching vacancy at Washington? With Bulldog assistant Bill Grier passing up the Boise State job (Oregon assistant Greg Graham eventually took the job), were things being set in motion that would put Few in Seattle? For the time being the answer appears to be no. ESPN is reporting that Few is planning to stay, based on a statement he made this afternoon.

"At this time, I believe Gonzaga University is the best place for my family and staff," Few said today. "We have built something very special and unique at Gonzaga University. I love my players, past and present, and appreciate their support during this process. I look forward to our future together."

Will that recenter the focus of the search back on Romar?

The one name that seems to have been lurking in the shadows from day one is former Gonzaga head coach and current Minnesota head man Dan Monson. Monson isn't talking, and apparently the one person at Minnesota who would be, Athletic Director Tom Moe, hasn't been available and isn't returning calls.

At this point it would be easy to read into things and assume there's more to the story by what's not being said, but until Monson comes out and declares his intentions one way or another it continues to be a guessing game in the Twin Cities.

So who else is in the mix? Your guess is as good as ours. We did some checking with some other schools. St. John's is out for spring break break, but we did reach a representative within their Sports Information Department who will be speaking with their head basketball coach Mike Jarvis tomorrow.

A source in Atlanta chuckled when Jarvis' name came up, citing that Jarvis has already mentioned he has no desire to relocate to Seattle at his age to revitalize the slumping Husky hoops program. Jarvis is in his mid-50's.

Rumors have also been flying around in regards to Hedges possibly looking at college coaches that have also coached at the NBA level. Tim Floyd, Mike Dunleavy and Lon Kruger are all men who fit that description, but it seems very unlikely that any of these three would take the job. Dunleavy would still be making more off of his settlement with the Portland Trailblazers and probably has no interest in a job while he is watching his son play ball for Duke. Kruger is making a truckload in Atlanta. Floyd would appear to be the most likely coach to fit the above criteria, but he would also command a substantial salary, perhaps more than Hedges would consider.




(3/27) Here are the updates from today. There are only two, as the pickings are getting slim. Washington Athletic Director Barbara Hedges is playing her cards like a world champion playing No-limit Texas Hold'em at Binion's World Series of Poker. But there's also plenty of speculation as to who she might cross paths with in the coming days.

The first update comes courtesy of Doug McIlhagga at St. Louis University. Doug was able to confirm that Doug Woolard, the Athletic Director for the Billikens, has given Hedges permission to speak to their basketball coach, Lorenzo Romar. Romar is a former Washington player.

When asked about Romar's contract status, McIlhagga was unsure as to the details of his agreement with St. Louis. "Since we are a Jesuit institution, that information is not available to the public," he said. "We are in same situation as Gonzaga in that regard. Truth be told, when Coach Romar first came to St. Louis, the terms of his contract were never discussed. There is, however, as with most coaches, a rollover situation that can be exercized. I do know that."

McIlhagga believes Romar is satisfied in his current position at St. Louis. "We certainly believe he is content, and he has a very good team coming back," McIlhagga said. "We believe he has an interest in keeping that going here at St. Louis."

The situation is murkier at Minnesota. Repeated attempts to talk to the Golden Gophers' Athletic Director, Tom Moe, have come up fruitless. To add to the mix, nobody in either the AD's office or in the media relations office is able to verify one way or the other in regards to Hedges' possible attempts to contact Moe to seek permission to talk to Minnesota men's basketball coach Dan Monson.

"Well, Tom Moe would be the one granting permission, and he wouldn't necessarily be telling anybody else if that has, in fact, taken place," said Kyle Coughlin, basketball SID at Minnesota. "He's a very busy man."

So it is still unknown if Hedges has contacted Moe, and apparently Moe is going to be the only one that knows unless it gets leaked to the press through other channels.

On to the speculation! Hedges will be in Atlanta for the Final Four. Of course, Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione will also be in attendence. Look for Barbara and Joe at the snack booth, talking about things over a King Dog and a Pepsi. Of course there will be a lot of other dignitaries there as well, so the search could really heat up this weekend.

Meanwhile, Missouri head coach Quin Snyder is taking a holiday in Sun Valley. Not sure how far out of the way Ketchum is to Atlanta, but Hedges just might take a quick jaunt with Quin down Exterminator before talking shop. Could be a very interesting 48-72 hours in the life of Barbara Hedges. We wil try to keep up...




(3/26 PM) Here are the updates from this afternoon. There are updates from Gonzaga, Utah and Kent State in regards to the men's basketball coaching search at the University of Washington.

Laing Kennedy is the Athletic Director for Kent State University. Laing acknowledged that he expects to get phone calls inquiring about KSU men's basketball coach Stan Heath, but Washington has shown no interest so far.

"They have not contacted him so far," Kennedy said. "At this point I can't really say what Coach Heath is going to do. I expect to get some calls, but Washington has not called."

The Associate SID at Utah, Mike Lageschulte, couldn't comment on anything in regards to their head coach, Rick Majerus, but a source within Majerus' office confirmed that no one has inquired about his availability. Majerus is out of town and unavailable for comment.

We were also able to reach Oliver Pierce, the SID at Gonzaga. Oliver was able to confirm everything in regards to the stories coming out about their head coach, Mark Few, and the contact he's made with Washington's Athletic Director Barbara Hedges.

"Mike (Roth) has given permission for Coach Few to talk to Washington," Pierce said. "Of course we are going to try and do everything we can to keep Mark around but if he finds a situation that's better for him and his family we would certainly give him our blessings."

Pierce acknowledged that Gonzaga has been trying to solidify Mark's status as the Bulldogs' head man well before Washington entered the picture. "As it has been the last two years, Mark's contract has been reworked after the season is over," he said. "Right now, he has a ten-year contract. I don't know if Mike Roth is trying to extend that contract or sweeten it or what they might be doing, but they've done this the last two years with Mark."

Calls have also been placed to Minnesota AD Tom Moe and Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione, but neither have been reached for comment on the Washington coaching search. Another call has been placed to Pepperdine Head Coach Paul Westphal, but so far he has also been available for comment.




(3/26 AM) Here's the updates from this morning:

Dominic Sienna, the Sports Information Director from St. John's put to rest any rumors about their hoops coach Mike Jarvis. At least for today. "I talked to our AD today and Washington has not tried to contact Coach Jarvis and he has said himself that he is not interested in the position," said Sienna.

I was also able to reach Doug McIlhagga, the SID from St. Louis. He took my call with a bit of a chuckle, as it seems the Billikens are in a bit of a holding pattern in regards to their basketball coach and former Husky player, Lorenzo Romar.

"We know he's on their list at this point in time," McIlhagga said. "But we have not been contacted yet. We are just waiting for the call, to be honest."

The last person to be contacted this morning was Tim Harkins in the Wyoming Sports Information Department. "We have not heard anything about Washington contacting Coach McClain," Harkins said. "As you know, he was contacted by TCU and turned it down. He has not been contacted by anyone else that we know of."

Expect more updates later in the day.




(3/25) I talked to Sam Fleury from the Media Relations Department from Missouri and he was able to confirm that Washington has asked for, and was granted permission to speak to Missouri basketball coach Quinn Snyder. "Coach Snyder is very happy at Missouri and this is where he is at right now, but Washington did contact our AD (Mike Alden) this weekend, and asked for permission to speak to Quin. Quin's not commenting on any of this so far," Fleury said.

Another interesting twist came today courtesy of Saint Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, who was quoted on their website in a post he made on 'Bernie's Press Box'.

Included were the following quotes about a conversation he had with Snyder last night. "I came away thinking that he has some interest in the Washington job -- at least enough to listen when they call, which they will. It's his home. His parents and family and friends are there. He can put his mark on a program that has not won much. It can be his program rather than a situation where he's taking over a legend's program. At Missouri, he fears that he will always have to deal with extraneous politics and hostility because he replaced Norm Stewart, and some people will never accept him because of that."

On other fronts, I also talked to someone in Doug McIlhagga's office at St. Louis this afternoon. McIlhagga is the Media Relations director for the Billikens. He will be out until tomorrow, but as of right now no one from Washington has asked to speak to Lorenzo Romar according to sources in his office. I'm going to try Doug tomorrow morning to find out if there is any more information.

I also put in a call to Tom Moe, the AD at Minnesota about Dan Monson, but at this point there has been no news about Washington contacting the former Gonzaga coach.

That's all so far, but expect more news tomorrow.

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