- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik told his players Sunday night that he will meet with Wake Forest on Monday but said he has not accepted, or even been offered, the Demon Deacons job, according to a university-issued release sent Sunday night.
However, sources told ESPN.com that Bzdelik told those close to him that he wouldn't fly to Wake Forest if he weren't going to accept a potential offer to replace Dino Gaudio, who was fired last week after three seasons as coach.
Bzdelik did inform his Colorado players about the information contained in the school's press release.
Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman said he had a short list of candidates drawn up as soon as Gaudio was fired. Wake officials have told ESPN.com they expect an announcement on a hire to be made by the middle of this week. Wellman said he wanted to wrap up the search within a week.
Bzdelik, who formerly coached the NBA's Denver Nuggets and at Air Force, is a longtime friend of Wellman. Bzdelik coached the Buffaloes (15-16, 6-10 Big 12) to an eighth-place finish in the Big 12 last season and has overseen steady progress in the program's in-conference performance.
Bzdelik nearly left Colorado last year to be the Minnesota Timberwolves' top assistant.
If Bzdelik leaves Boulder, the Buffaloes may move quickly to replace him with top assistant Steve McClain, who took over early this past season when Bzdelik had to leave the team for a personal matter. Hiring McClain would also give the Buffaloes a good chance to keep stars Cory Higgins (18.9 points per game) and Alec Burks (17.1 ppg).
McClain coached at Wyoming from 1998 to 2007, leading the Cowboys to a 157-115 record, three NIT appearances and a first-round win over Gonzaga in the 2002 NCAA tournament. McClain also won the 1994 national junior college championship at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
Former Oregon Ducks and Denver Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap, Northern Colorado's Tad Boyle and Randy Bennett of Saint Mary's are also expected to be considered for the position, according to multiple sources.
Senior writer Andy Katz covers college basketball for ESPN.com.