Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kevin Willard to Interview With Seton Hall; Barbee Takes Over at Auburn
SYRACUSE — Iona coach Kevin Willard will interview for the Seton Hall job, possibly as early as Thursday, multiple sources with knowledge said.
Seton Hall has already interviewed Siena coach Fran McCaffery, Robert Morris coach Mike Rice and Vermont coach Mike Lonergan.
A source with knowledge said Rice and Seton Hall had a “great conversation” and that the coach “will see” what happens next.
School officials have also reached out to former Seton Hall standout Adrian Griffin, now an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Cornell coach Steve Donahue could also be a factor but his team plays Kentucky here Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
The new coach will reportedly make between $500,000 and $550,000 per year.
Former Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez was fired last week after four seasons.
Willard, 34, was named the 2010 MAAC Coach of the Year after leading the Gaels to a 21-9 record and a 12-3 mark in the league.
Willard comes from the Rick Pitino coaching tree, having spent six years at Louisville as an assistant and associate head coach. His father, Ralph, is currently Pitino’s No. 2.
The Iona roster is full of players from New York and New Jersey, including traditional powerhouses St. Benedict’s, St. Patrick and Don Bosco, so Willard has proven he can recruit players coached by Dan Hurley and Kevin Boyle.
Former Seton Hall standout Shaheen Holloway is also on Willard’s staff and bringing him back to South Orange as an assistant would be an added benefit.
BARBEE TAKES OVER AT AUBURNFormer UTEP coach Tony Barbee will be introduced Thursday as the new coach at Auburn.
Barbee led UTEP to three consecutive winning records, including a 26-7 mark this season. The Miners won the Conference USA regular season title and made the NCAA Tournament this season. Barbee spent six years at Memphis under John Calipari before that.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tony Barbee into the Auburn Family,” Auburn AD Jay Jacobs said. “Coach Barbee has a vision of competing for championships at Auburn, and the passion to get us there. He is a phenomenal coach, an outstanding recruiter and a fierce competitor.
Barbee, 38, will be formally introduced as Auburn’s 20th head coach on Thursday.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the Auburn Family and proud to be the next head coach at Auburn,” Barbee said. “We have challenges in front of us, but we also have great opportunities with everything Auburn has to offer-a great university, outstanding community, tremendous fan support, and a terrific new arena and practice facility. The time is now to take Auburn basketball to new heights.”
**Elsewhere on the Coaching Carousel, Tom Pecora will wait until at least this weekend to make decisions about his staff at Fordham. Van Macon, Pecora’s top assistant at Hofstra, is in the mix to succeed Pecora at Hofstra. Pecora will be introduced Thursday at a 1 p.m press conference.
**Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News reports that UCLA coach Ben Howland has “zero interest” in the DePaul job, despite rumors.
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(Photos courtesy Iona, Auburn Athletics)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.