Search for men’s basketball coach continues

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Search for men’s basketball coach continues

Story by Taylor Kuether

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Ninety-six candidates submitted applications for the vacant men’s basketball coach position, which Athletics Director Scott Kilgallon said he hopes to fill before the end of the
school year.

Since the cutoff date for submissions on April 22, the search committee has been hurrying to narrow down the large applicant pool.

“I think this university, first off, is a very good university and this conference is a very good conference,” Kilgallon said. “I think that sells the job in and of itself, as you can tell by the almost hundred candidates.

“I really think the reputation of this school academically and how well we compete and the strong conference we’re in, that’s really attractive to these candidates.”

The position opened when former coach Kyle Green stepped down April 16 for personal reasons, according to an athletic department press release. Green became coach less than a year earlier on May 18, 2011, replacing Terry Gibbons, who held the position for 16 years before retiring.

The search committee, a six-member group comprising athletic staff, faculty and two members of the men’s basketball team, is currently reviewing the applications and will give recommendations to Kilgallon, who will conduct a phone interview process before inviting the finalists to campus.

“We would like to get the candidates on campus before finals,” Kilgallon said. “We want the student athletes on the team to at least be able to meet with the candidates and give their opinion.”

Kilgallon said the committee will be looking at more than just each candidate’s success on the court during the hiring process.

“Primarily, you want to get the best basketball coach for our student athletes and that’s also a fit for the athletic staff and the university,” Kilgallon said. “You’re looking at the culture of the school and how that person fits in with
the school.

“You really want someone who’s student-centered, who’s going to take pride in our university, and somebody with integrity and that’s very loyal.”

Freshman men’s basketball player Alex Anderson said he is looking for similar qualities in a new coach. He said, most importantly, that he wants someone who can bring out the team’s best throughout the season.

“We have a great group of guys here, and I think we all have a common goal for next season, and I believe with the right coach we can accomplish that goal,” Anderson said.

Teammate Jordan Petersen, a junior, said he’s looking for a coach with great passion for the game as well as experience. He said he’s also looking for a coach who will stick around longer and really establish themselves at Eau Claire.

However, Kilgallon said the university really can’t control how long a coach stays with the university.

“There will really be nothing binding that will say, ‘Stay here for three years,’” Kilgallon said. “That could hurt you as well if the person doesn’t work out.”

The Blugolds finished their 2011-2012 campaign with a 15-10 record and will return their top three scorers next season. While the team will have had two new coaches in two years, Kilgallon said the basketball program will be fine.

“I met with the guys, they’re in a good frame of mind. We already had a good nucleus of players,” Kilgallon said.“Our biggest obligation right now is to get the men’s basketball team the best possible coach out there. That’s our goal and that’s our job, and we’re going to get it done.”

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