- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger met with Rice coach Willis Wilson in Dallas on Tuesday and was expected to also meet with Lakers assistant and Buckeye alumnus Jim Cleamons at the same location, multiple sources told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
Wilson said he had a good meeting with Geiger characterizing Tuesday's meeting as "an
opportunity for everyone to sit down and get to know each other,"
the Houston Chronicle reported in its Wednesday editions.
"It was a really good meeting. But there's a process involved,
and they are going to go through that process," Wilson said.
Geiger is expected to meet with Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings at an undisclosed location Wednesday, possibly in Nashville, Tenn.
Wilson worked for Mike Montgomery at Stanford in 1992 before going to his alma mater, Rice, to become the head coach. Geiger hired Montgomery at Stanford in 1986, making the bold move after Montgomery was at Montana but couldn't get the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament. Montgomery ended up being one of the best college basketball coaches the past two decades, leading the Cardinal to the top of the Pac-10 with Arizona on a regular basis and receiving a legends of coaching honor from the John Wooden Award last April. Montgomery left Stanford last month to be the Golden State Warriors head coach.
Geiger could be trying to pull off a surprise hire at Ohio State, much like he did at Stanford.
Sources said Ohio State hopes to make a decision on whom to bring to Columbus by late Wednesday. The finalist would likely be brought in sometime Thursday or early Friday and wouldn't leave until he was named the next head coach.
Sources said Ohio State is looking for a coach from a strong academic background that recruits a higher caliber student-athlete, which makes sense when one sees coaches from Rice and Vanderbilt on the short list.
Xavier coach Thad Matta was thought to be a candidate as soon as Jim O'Brien was fired on June 8. Xavier officials have been contacted by Ohio State, sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday night, but it's still unclear if Geiger has spoken to Matta. The Musketeers coach had said previously that he plans on staying at Xavier long-term.
Sources said Ohio State asked for permission to speak with Penn's Fran Dunphy, but as of late Tuesday Geiger hadn't followed through to set up a meeting with Dunphy.
Geiger had not contacted Notre Dame's Mike Brey, either, as late as Monday. Brey was another name that was mentioned early in the process.
Sources said Geiger wanted to make the hire before the beginning of next week, especially going into the July 4th holiday weekend. Most head coaches are attending a National Association of Basketball Coaches meeting in Indianapolis on July 7th, the day before the evaluation period begins.
Geiger isn't expected to be the Buckeyes athletic director long-term as he gets closer to retiring, but he wants a coach who will be in Columbus for a long while. Geiger wants the finalist to meet with the Ohio State president before a final decision is made.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.