MU may not be able to get D'Antoni but they're trying
Did the two Mikes meet face-to-face in late February to discuss Marshall's head basketball coaching job?
Several sources believe so.
The speculation is Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick traveled to Indianapolis to meet with Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers played the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 25 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, losing 118-98.
Hamrick obviously wasn't there just to watch the game.
Instead, he is believed to have met with D'Antoni to gauge the former Marshall star's interest in a job that wasn't yet vacant.
It is open now, however.
So, is D'Antoni interested or not?
That remains a question.
The Lakers, who have been eliminated from the NBA playoffs, end their season on April 16. Although some people think D'Antoni will be fired, others believe he will be retained for the final season of his three-year, $12 million contract.
Either way that isn't encouraging for Marshall.
It's simply bad timing.
Even if D'Antoni were interested in returning to his alma mater, his contractural situation could be too up-in-the-air for him even to consider the job.
Have Marshall officials spoken with D'Antoni about the head basketball coaching position? Apparently so. Is D'Antoni Marshall's first choice? Apparently so.
But whether D'Antoni actually is interested in the job or not, it doesn't appear he's a candidate.
Despite that, Hamrick still deserves a lot of credit for reaching out to D'Antoni and offering him an opportunity to return to Marshall. That was way overdue.
Sources indicate that University of Louisville associate head coach Kevin Keatts, Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals and several former collegiate head coaches are interested in Marshall's vacancy.
Keatts qualifies as a good candidate.
This is the Virginia native's third year on Louisville coach Rick Pitino's staff. Keatts was elevated to the associate head coach position in January.
Most Marshall fans will remember Keatts as a Marshall assistant for two seasons (2001-2003) under former head coach Greg White. After leaving Marshall, Keatts was head coach at Hargrave Military Academy for eight seasons, winning two national championships and finishing as runner-up three times.
According to sources, if Keatts were hired as Marshall's head coach, he would bring former Marshall point guard A.W. Hamilton, a real fan favorite, with him as an assistant. Hamilton is currently Hargrave's head coach.
There would be a need for a veteran bench coach on that potential staff. So, that would create an opportunity to retain current Marshall assistant Mark Cline, who would like to stay in this area.
Then, there's Boals.
The former Ohio University player and Keatts actually were together on White's staff at Marshall. Boals was an assistant during four seasons (1999-2003).
He also coached at Robert Morris and Akron before joining Thad Matta's staff at Ohio State in 2009. Boals recently finished his fifth season with the Buckeyes.
Finally, there's Steve Henson.
The Oklahoma assistant, who once was considered a front-runner, seems to be falling by the wayside despite having a five-year connection with Hamrick at UNLV.
Get used to it.
Due to the clandestine nature of this job search, it is long on speculation and short on confirmation.
Rumor has it.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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