Stanford coach Johnson expected to take over at LSU
NEW ORLEANS -- LSU was expected to introduce Stanford's Trent Johnson, who led the Cardinal to the round of 16 in this year's NCAA tournament, as its new coach Thursday -- the day he had been scheduled to meet with Stanford's athletic director to discuss a new contract.
Several people at LSU familiar with the selection process said Wednesday that the choice was Johnson, who is 80-48 in four seasons at Stanford. They asked to remain anonymous because the hiring was not yet official.
Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby was not immediately available for comment.
Bowlsby said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Johnson received permission earlier in the day to talk to LSU, but had not yet resigned.
"The position probably pays twice what ours does so I expect he feels he has to listen," Bowlsby wrote.
Johnson had said recently he hoped to remain at Stanford, which lost to Texas in the NCAA tournament regional semifinals, and had been slated to meet with Bowlsby on Thursday to discuss a new contract.
Stanford hired Johnson in 2004 to replace Mike Montgomery, who left for the NBA's Golden State Warriors for two seasons and last week was hired by Stanford's Bay Area rival California.
Johnson was an assistant at Stanford before going to Nevada and then returning to the Cardinal.
Stanford's twin 7-footers, Brook and Robin Lopez, announced last week they would hire agents and enter the NBA draft, forgoing their final two seasons of 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 coach John Brady was fired during the year.
Assistant Butch Pierre took over Feb. 8 and led LSU to victories in five of its last nine games, 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 open the possibility he could return for his sophomore season.
LSU considered a range of candidates, including Travis Ford at Massachusetts, Anthony Grant at Virginia Commonwealth and Oliver Purnell at Clemson. Ford and Purnell both withdrew from consideration Tuesday.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press