UTEP coach expected to take job

Updated: March 24, 2004, 2:24 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

UTEP coach Billy Gillispie could be named the coach of Texas A&M by late Wednesday if he receives an expected offer from A&M athletic director Bill Byrne Wednesday morning when the two meet for the second time in as many days, a source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com.

Once the offer is made, Gillispie will accept the deal, barring any last-minute hiccups in contract negotiations.

Gillispie met with Byrne throughout Tuesday at an undisclosed location. Sources said Gillispie wasn't in College Station, Texas, on Tuesday. No offer was made when the two met Tuesday, but the two had extensive conversations about the job and all indications were that Gillispie would accept an offer.

Meanwhile, Kansas assistant Norm Roberts -- Gillispie's colleague when he worked under Bill Self at Illinois -- and Oklahoma assistant Jimmy Tubbs are finalists for the SMU job. The two are expected to meet with SMU president Gerald Turner on Wednesday in Dallas. SMU also has interviewed Michigan State assistant Doug Wojcik, Indiana assistant John Treloar, Stanford assistant Eric Reveno and American coach Jeff Jones.

Before he left UTEP, Gillispie wanted assurances that he would have the support needed to revamp the A&M program and turn it into a Big 12 basketball power. The team did not win a league game this season under Melvin Watkins.

Gillispie met with UTEP athletic director Bob Stull on Monday, and a new contract was discussed. Gillispie is said to have been pleased with the Miners' offer. Gillispie, who was an assistant to Self at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois, turned UTEP around in two seasons.

The Miners won six games in 2002-03 after he took over for Jason Rabedeaux. This season, they won 24 games and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992. The Miners also tied for the WAC regular-season title with Nevada.

But Gillispie never signed his current contract, which has four seasons remaining. That means he can get out of the deal without a penalty.

Byrne watched Gillispie coach the Miners at SMU, at Boise State and against Maryland in Denver in the NCAA Tournament. Gillispie has strong ties to the state of Texas and recruited well in the state for Self and then for himself at UTEP.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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