Hall of Famer Chancellor in talks with LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Neither Hall of Fame women's basketball coach Van Chancellor nor the senior associate athletic director at LSU, which needs to replace women's coach Pokey Chatman, would call it a job interview.
Van Chancellor was officially appointed Wednesday as the next head women's basketball coach at LSU. He comes to Baton Rouge with an impressive resume:
• Coached Ole Miss to 439-154 record and 14 NCAA Tournament appearances in 19 seasons.
• Led Houston Comets to four WNBA titles; compiled 211-111 record in 10 seasons as coach.
• Won gold medal with U.S. women's team at 2004 Olympics.
• Announced as member of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 2007.
But Chancellor, who has said he is in serious negotiations for the opening, was heading for LSU's campus Wednesday, and was expected to meet with Chancellor Sean O'Keefe, LSU players and members of the athletic department and academic support staff.
Chancellor's "serious negotiations" comment came in an interview with Houston television station KRIV. "We will be talking again and we will see where this goes," Chancellor told the station.
He and LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent both declined to characterize the visit as a job interview, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported.
"We're obviously in conversations with him," said LSU senior women's administrator Judy Southard, who has been spearheading the coaching search. "We'll have something for everyone" Wednesday, she told the newspaper.
Neither she nor Vincent could be reached early Wednesday.
LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman said Friday that Chancellor was coming in this week to interview for the job.
Chatman resigned March 7; Lady Tigers assistant coach Carla Berry had alleged in February that Chatman engaged in inappropriate conduct with a former LSU player when that player was a member of the women's basketball team.
Bob Starkey, LSU's acting head coach during the Lady Tigers' run to a fourth straight Women's Final Four, has said many times he does not want to be head coach full time.
Chancellor is expected to keep most of the current staff, which also includes Christie Sides and Joe Carvalhido. Sides played for Chancellor at Ole Miss from 1995-97 before transferring to Louisiana Tech when Chancellor left.
Chancellor led Ole Miss to a 439-154 record in 19 seasons from 1978-97. His career there included 14 NCAA tournament appearances -- including seven trips to regional semifinals and four appearances in the Elite Eight.
Chancellor's Lady Rebels also won the 1992 Southeastern Conference regular-season championship with an 11-0 record. That team proved to be his best, finishing 29-3 and reaching the Midwest Regional final.
Chancellor then joined the fledgling WNBA, where he coached the Houston Comets for 10 seasons. He led the team to the first four WNBA titles and compiled a 211-111 record in Houston before resigning in January.
In 2004, Chancellor coached the U.S. women's basketball team to a gold medal in the Athens Olympics. His international coaching record is 38-0.
On April 2, Chancellor was named to the 2007 induction class for the Naismith Hall of Fame.
A native of Louisville, Miss., Chancellor will be 64 before next season begins.
"I may be 63, but I have the heart of a 43-year-old and the energy of a 33-year-old," he has said.
Chancellor has served as a TV commentator for women's basketball games for several years. He called LSU games last month in the SEC tournament and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Austin, Texas.
"I thought I could step back from coaching," Chancellor said, "but it's impossible. It's in my blood.
"I've played 27, 36 holes of golf a day. That's not my nature. I need something to do. I like a challenge. I'm not the kind of guy who can do nothing."
If Chancellor becomes LSU's next coach, he will inherit a team that had no seniors on a team that went 30-8 this season. LSU could have nine seniors on the 2007-08 squad, led by All-American center Sylvia Fowles.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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