Cincinnati to talk with Hobbs about coaching job

WASHINGTON -- The University of Cincinnati has received permission from George Washington to talk to basketball coach Karl Hobbs about the Bearcats' opening.

Athletic director Jack Kvancz gave Cincinnati permission to negotiate with Hobbs, said Brad Bower, George Washington's sports information director. Kvancz's decision was first reported by The Washington Post.

"I asked our athletic director, and he said it was true," Bower said.

Hobbs was not immediately available for comment.

Bower was unaware of any formal contact so far between Hobbs and Cincinnati.

Cincinnati spokesman Tom Hathaway said the university is not commenting on any candidates for the basketball job.

Cincinnati is still playing in the NIT under interim coach Andy Kennedy, who replaced Bob Huggins this season.

George Washington was 27-3 this season -- the best record in school history -- and 16-0 in the Atlantic 10 regular season. The Colonials lost to Temple in the conference quarterfinals but received an at-large NCAA berth. They beat North Carolina-Wilmington in overtime in the first round and lost to Duke in the second round.

Hobbs, 91-56 in five seasons at George Washington, has ties to the Big East. He was an assistant under Jim Calhoun at Connecticut for eight seasons and is credited with recruiting and developing three starters on the Huskies' 1999 national championship team -- Richard Hamilton, Khalid El-Amin and Kevin Freeman.

But Hobbs' practices were called into question after investigations by The Washington Post and The New York Times revealed that the basketball program at Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia, where two of his current players attended prep school, is designed to help players struggling academically become quickly eligible to play NCAA Division I basketball.

George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, whose team plays Wichita State in the round of 16 Friday, has also been mentioned in Cincinnati as a possible candidate for the Bearcats' job.