Reports: Johnson reaches verbal agreement to coach LSU

Updated: April 9, 2008, 9:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Trent Johnson is leaving Stanford after four seasons to become the new coach at LSU, according to reports in the Louisiana media and online.

Sean O'Hair

Johnson

Johnson, who led Stanford to three NCAA tournaments and a trip to this year's Sweet 16, has reached a verbal agreement with the Tigers. Former coach John Brady was fired during the 2007-08 season.

An announcement has not been scheduled, although several people at LSU familiar with the selection process said a formal announcement was expected by Thursday. LSU recently hired Joe Alleva to replace Skip Bertman as athletic director. Alleva was Duke's AD since 1998.

Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon that Johnson was given permission to talk to LSU but had not yet resigned.

"LSU notified me that they wanted to talk with him this morning as I was leaving Tampa" following the women's Final Four, Bowlsby said. "The position probably pays twice what ours does so I expect he feels he has to listen. Trent has not informed me that he has accepted another position."

The development comes on the heels of Massachusetts coach Travis Ford saying he didn't want to be considered for LSU's opening and another candidate, Tony Bennett Jr. of Washington State, announcing he would not leave his current job.

Johnson, who had one year left on his contract, was 81-48 with the Cardinal after replacing Mike Montgomery as coach. Montgomery, who spent 18 seasons in Palo Alto, rejoined the Pac-10 last week when he was hired across the Bay at Cal.

At Stanford, Johnson also lost twins Brook and Robin Lopez; the sophomores announced March 31 that they would hire agents and thus forgo their remaining two years of college eligibility.

LSU went to the Final Four only three seasons ago, but failed to make the NCAA tournament in each of the past two years. The Tigers went 13-18 this season, and former coach Brady was fired during the year.

Assistant Butch Pierre took over on Feb. 8 and led LSU to victories in five of its last nine contests, but the Tigers lost in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

This week, LSU also likely lost one of its best players when 6-foot-10 freshman forward Anthony Randolph announced he intended to enter the NBA draft. Randolph did not immediately hire an agent, however, leaving a slim possibility he could return for his sophomore season.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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