Arizona looking for a coach that has 'a track record'

Updated: December 1, 2008, 6:59 PM ET
Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood said he has at least a dozen candidates to succeed Lute Olson.

That number figures to change by next spring, when the Wildcats will likely name a permanent coach to replace Olson.

"It's a fairly large pool right now," said Livengood, who won't identify candidates. "And when I'm talking about large, it might be 12, 15 people. But that can change as well."

One thing won't change: Livengood is committed to finding a head coach with a jazzy resume -- and he expects his hire to have a strong showing this season.

"The coach who comes in here needs to have had a track record," Livengood said. "Needs to have done some things. Needs to have had some success. It's also critically important that there is success this year, because that is the most recent track record."

That would seem to rule out winning coaches who may be going through rebuilding seasons. But Livengood has a good reason for wanting to hire someone coming off a big season.

"We also need to win the press conference, however you phrase that or however you put that or however you interpret that, so this year is important," Livengood said.

Livengood met Monday with school president Robert Shelton to discuss several athletics-related issues, including the coaching search.

Livengood said he's been trying to maintain a measure of secrecy in the search. That means using intermediaries to gauge the interest of some high-profile coaches instead of making direct contact.

"The best news is, we have some time to do this," Livengood said. "The bad news is, we have some time to do this. Because the longer we have, the more chance for exposure. And the kinds of people that we would be interested in and would be interested in us are at a level where exposure is huge [and] absolutely could knock some people out of it."

At the same time, Livengood is trying to eliminate coaches who aren't interested in succeeding Olson, a Hall of Famer who retired in October after 24 seasons.

"It's just as important right now to know who absolutely doesn't want to be on your dance card," Livengood said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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