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Search countdown begins

From staff reports
(update 2)
All rights reserved.

East Carolina Director of
Athletics Terry Holland
said Sunday that he has
a preliminary list of
candidates in mind as
possibly successors to
departing ECU head
basketball coach Mack

(ECU Media Relations Photo)


Former East Carolina
head coach Joe Dooley,
a Kansas assistant since
2003, is among those
whose names have
surfaced as potential
candidates to succeed
Mack McCarthy at the
helm of the ECU
basketball program.

(University of Kansas Photo)



BVL: Search countdown begins
BVL: McCarthy steps aside
BVL: Southern Miss scuttles Pirates

East Carolina's hunt for a new hoops coach may bag its target quickly or it might take awhile, according to the man carrying out the task.

Terry Holland, ECU's Director of Athletics, told a gathering of media members on Sunday that he has a list of candidates in mind to succeed Mack McCarthy, who announced after the Pirates' loss to Southern Miss Saturday night that he will step aside after this week's Conference USA Tournament.

McCarthy will move into another position in the athletic department.

Holland had indicated Saturday night that his and McCarthy's deliberations leading to McCarthy's announcement made it possible to set the stage for preliminary work on identifying a new coach.

"... (T)he candid conversations that Coach McCarthy and I have had over the last few weeks have allowed me to begin thinking about the search process for finding a new coach," Holland stated in a release.

On Sunday, Holland explained that the possibility of leaks influenced the timing of the decision to announce that a coaching change would be made.

"... (W)e had to bring more and more people into the circle, which meant that sooner or later, it was going to get out ... ," Holland said. That, he noted, prompted a decision on Thursday to make the announcement Saturday night.

Holland said he already has two short lists of potential candidates in mind, a primary group and a secondary group. The names under consideration are subject to change from day to day, he noted.

But he added that a hiring might not take place until "after the NCAA Tournament,” adding fuel to speculation that highly-regarded Kansas assistant and former ECU coach Joe Dooley might be a focus of Holland's attention.

The Jayhawks, No. 2 in the Associated Press and Coaches Polls, are prohibitive favorites for a top seed in the NCAA postseason scramble and are no strangers to the Final Four.

Holland said that with the season still underway he can not approach head coaches. He added that he cannot contact assistants until their teams are eliminated from postseason play.

Dooley, an elite recruiter, was a key member of Kansas coach Bill Self's staff when the Jayhawks won the national championship two years ago. Dooley played an instrumental role in luring many of the players on that team to pursue their basketball dreams in the storied confines of KU's Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

He served as an assistant at New Mexico (1999-2002) and Wyoming (2002-03) prior to arriving at Kansas in 2003.

Dooley spent eight years at East Carolina, four as an assistant (1991-95) and four as head coach (1995-99.) The Pirates were 57-52 during his tenure as head coach, making him the school's only coach with an overall winning record since the Pirates entered the major college ranks in the 1960s.

His firing by former East Carolina AD Mike Hamrick in 1999 ignited much controversy in the ECU community and drew sharp criticism from some in the media.

Considering Holland's stature in the college hoops world, other respected coaches — both head coaches and assistants — are undoubtedly on Holland's radar. Holland was a star player at Davidson in the 1960s and went on to highly successful tenures as head coach and athletic director at his alma mater and at Virginia. He led the Cavaliers to the Final Four on two occasions.

After East Carolina bowed to USM in Saturday night's regular season finale, McCarthy said it will be difficult to give up the reigns. He added that he will continue to guide the program through the league tourney and then take on a role within the athletic department aimed at helping ECU bring to reality an on-campus basketball practice center.

"Over a period of time, (ECU AD) Terry Holland and I have discussed a change in my role at ECU related to the basketball program and Pirate athletics in general," McCarthy said. "Although it is never easy to give up something you love doing as much as I love coaching, it is the right time for me to take advantage of this exciting and challenging opportunity.

"Initially, my main focus will be on the planning and fundraising for a much-needed practice facility."

After McCarthy's announcement, Holland expressed his confidence that McCarthy will make important contributions to the program in his new capacity.

"My goal as the AD is to help get our personnel into positions that allow them to be the most effective individually so that the athletic department team can collectively be the most successful as possible," Holland stated. "Coach Mack will be terrific in this new role and our overall program will benefit greatly when this practice facility becomes available for use by our student-athletes and coaches."

McCarthy will continue to be paid for the three years remaining on a five-year contract.

03/08/2010 07:59:12 AM


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